Colm Cooper retired from inter-county football earlier this year with his name safely nestled amongst the greatest to ever play the game.
The Kerry legend began his career in green and gold at senior level in 2002 and burst on to the scene with a flash. Straight out of minor, Cooper helped himself to an All-Star in a summer of dazzling displays. No defence could get near the nippy little ten-stone Killarney corner-forward.
Throughout his tenure at the top of the game, Gaelic football changed. It developed and evolved as a sport. What was ripping defences to shreds in the early 2000’s would have been nowhere near good enough to have done so in 2014, the last of the victorious Septembers on Gooch’s CV.
The new levels of physicality brought to the fore through strength and conditioning programs, blanket defences, intricate game plans became the norm. For skilful players such as Cooper who depended so heavily on their raw talent and craft, the game had changed for the worse.
In the below clip, Gooch discusses how he felt about and dealt with such change in the game he loved with Joe Molloy on Newstalk’s Off The Ball.
In the insightful chat, promoting Cooper’s recent autobiography launch, the pair also delve into a hot topic in GAA in recent years – sledging.
The Dr. Crokes clubman confesses his complete and utter lack of respect for any player who stoops so low as to sledge another to attempt to get the better of him on the field. He says that if he were to sledge, meaning to verbally abuse his opponent, pinch, pull or drag them to get an edge, he would be ashamed of himself and afraid to meet that opponent in public.
Cooper believes that any player who goes about their means in an unsportsmanlike manner will suffer karma on the playing field some day. He also goes on to recall an encounter with Philly McMahon after the Dubs overcame Kerry in the 2015 All-Ireland final as Molloy reads the extract from his book.
Check it out for yourself: