They talk about shithousery in sport but what about shithousery in punditry?
Dick Clerkin, must be the king of pundit shithousery these days. He made Twitter headlines around the country a few months back with his views that children under eight shouldn’t be given All-Ireland final tickets.
The former Monaghan captain was at it again following Armagh’s exciting extra-time win over Down in Páirc Esler claiming that a good football game trumps a good hurling game. Every time.
Obviously I'm biased… but for me a good football game trumps a good hurling game everytime…. That game in Newry looked an absolute belter, with a cracking atmosphere…
— Dick Clerkin (@dickclerkin8) May 19, 2019
A shout-out to Kilkenny great and current Laois boss, Eddie Brennan, whose response was classy, well-timed, and downright hilarious.
What’s seldom really is wonderful https://t.co/HAUASI9Lf8
— Eddie Brennan (@NedzerB13) May 20, 2019
Clerkin obviously faced a huge backlash over his tweet but he also received plenty of support as hordes of Gaels went to town on each other over which is better, the big ball or the small.
Why does it have to be this way though? Why are we constantly being dragged into this argument over which game is best?
The comparisons are futile and pointless. At the end of the day, we are talking about two different sports. Albeit, they are under the same organisation and have a similar ruleset but that doesn’t take away from the fact that its apples and oranges.
Between the hurling snobs and the football disciples, I’m not sure who is more annoying, to be honest.
It’s funny how quickly the argument began following an afternoon of underwhelming hurling coupled with two evenings of intense and exciting football. It’s almost as though football pundits around the country had been waiting for this moment to happen. In the same way that many enthusiasts used last year’s glorious summer of hurling as a crux to stick it to the big ball.
At the end of the day, it would seem to come down to a case of hurling’s snobbery over the competitive nature of the sport while football has turned into a one-way street where the winner can be handpicked before a ball is kicked.
There’s no point denying that the standard of the football championship has decreased in the last decade. It has become predictable, imbalanced and boring while the hurling championship seems to go from strength to strength as seven, eight… maybe even nine or ten legitimate contenders battle it out for All-Ireland honours.
However, this wasn’t always the case and won’t always be.
The 1990s was a golden period for Gaelic football. Between 1990 and 2000 eight teams managed to lift the Sam Maguire Cup. The same period wasn’t exactly a bad time for hurling with six teams collecting the Liam MacCarthy Cup including Wexford, Offaly and a Clare side who broke ‘the curse’ in 1995.
The 2000s, on the other hand, must surely go down as a terrible period for the hurling snobs. From 2000-2012 the All-Ireland was shared solely between the big three counties; Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary. Don’t dare try and tell me that that was good for the sport.
If you think Dublin’s dominance is bad for football? This is equally as bad.
But it didn’t last forever. Nothing does. Eventually, someone will break the mould. Eventually, a decade will come where multiple All-Ireland football contenders stand up in the same way that another decade down the line will see hurling’s big three once again rule the roost.
It is the nature of sport.
In the meantime why can’t we all, as Gaels, enjoy the games that deserve to be enjoyed. Instead of using every good game as a crux to stick the knife into the other.
After all, it’s just sport and we’re all just fans. It’s not a competition.