Tomás Ó Sé has said that Colm Cooper will go down as a GAA ‘icon’ and that he was the greatest footballer to ever come out of Kerry.
After Colm Cooper confirmed his intention to retire from inter county football on Tuesday morning, tributes to the Kerry legend have been flowing in from all across the nation. However, no one has summed up just how important ‘The Gooch’ was to the sport of gaelic football, quite like Tomás Ó Sé.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, former Kerry footballer turned analyst, Tomás Ó Sé stated that for him, Colm Cooper was the greatest footballer to ever represent the Kingdom.
Not only that, Ó Sé went on to explain that any young player taking up the sport should simply look at footage of Cooper to learn how the game should be played.
“He, in my mind, was the greatest Kerry footballer and I wouldn’t say that too lightly in terms of the great players who have come out of Kerry, and the great forwards, [Pat] Spillane, [John] Egan, Mikey [Sheedy].”
“This guy was on a different level.
“I remember the first time I ever saw him. We came home from an All-Ireland in 2000 and he was serving in the famous Tattler Jack’s bar in Killarney; he could barely see over the counter at the time and a guy told me ‘that guy will win you All-Irelands yet’ and he was dead right.
“He was a special talent. We had a great team, but amongst that team he was a level above everybody else.
“He was a guy with a great personality, he was a great guy to mix with players but the best talent he had was vision.
“He was like a great snooker player – he was five or six moves ahead of everybody else. He will become a complete icon of the GAA.”
“I saw a picture of him in his debut season in 2002 and the jersey looked like a blanket thrown over him.
“He was a small, small man when he came in. I’d say he was barely 10 stone.
“He had all the skills, he was way quicker, way better than anyone else, he had great balance, he had great vision. Even for his size he was a great ball-winner, he was brave.
“He was so good that he was one of these players that would create space for himself, all the time, no matter what.
“He was quicker than everyone else, in speed of thought, speed of action, skills of the game; his left was as good as his right.
“If you ever try to coach a young fella, you’d say just look at that man, look at videos of him.
“I remember famously he said in a dressing room once that every time he got the ball the first thing that came into his head was how can we make a goal out of this?
“His head was up every time he got the ball. And it wasn’t about the Gooch, it was about the team, about getting a score.
“He had a long career, he was a corner-forward with the big name and he was the guy going in marking the toughest defenders, yet he was still clocking up the scores and getting man of the matches, getting eight All Stars in the modern game is phenomenal.
“I don’t think it will be repeated.
“I hope and I know that he’ll have a great future, no matter what he does.”
Hat Tip: RTÉ Sport