There has been much coverage over the past week on the testimonial dinner set to be held by Kerry legend Colm Cooper, who retired from inter-county football earlier this year.
Joe Brolly publicly stated his outrage at the principle that Cooper will benefit financially from the showpiece dinner, declaring it the anthesis of GAA culture and everything that is good about our national games.
Brolly shared his beliefs that no player should be lining their pockets based off of the fortunate position they have been able to put themselves in through skill on the pitch. That, according to the outspoken RTÉ Sunday Game pundit, goes against all the GAA stands for in sense of community and helping your local neighbours out.
He wrote in his Sunday Independent column:
“It is a great pity Colm has done this. The point of the GAA is supposed to be volunteerism and community activism. The question is supposed to be, ‘What can I do?’, not ‘What can I get out of it?”
While the corporate-sponsored dinner is also set to benefit two charities – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin and Kerry Cancer Support Group, Brolly has no interest in such a spectacle.
When Gooch appeared on last Friday night’s Late Late Show on RTÉ, he claimed that Joe had indeed apologised for kicking up such a fuss over the whole situation and regretted stating his controversial opinion on the matter publicly. The 1993 All-Ireland winner promptly responded:
I didn't apologise to Colm for anything I said. I stand by every word. I said I didn't intend him to be demonised as a result.
— Joe Brolly (@JoeBrolly1993) October 6, 2017
Now, to add fuel to the ever-burning fire, fellow Kerryman and Sunday Game analyst Pat Spillane, who many believed would jump to the defence of Cooper in such a dispute, has sided with Brolly.
He wrote in his Sunday World column:
“Hats off to the Gooch for coming up with this gig before anyone else.
“But here’s one who doesn’t think it is a good idea. It sets a dangerous precedent and at a time when clubs and county boards are struggling to raise money, from any source they can, the idea that a player should benefit like this is nuts.”
This is a debate that is sure to rumble on until the night of Cooper’s testimonial dinner on October 27 in Ballsbridge and even further beyond.