Friday, September 12, 2008

Only a Kerryman

Is this the first All-Ireland since the introduction of the backdoor system where none of the provincial winners will be represented? After a tough days work am too lazy to look it up so maybe some Jimmy Magee out there will inform me...

What's the point in winning the provincial championship, if you're not Sligo? Padraig Joyce's suggestion that the winners of the provincial championship get a home quarter-final draw should be looked at. But then how do the provincial winners get a home draw when they kick up a stink when they're not scheduled to play in Croke Park for the quarter-final? Only in the GAA.

Whatever the merits of the current system, there's nothing like a Kerryman to put things in perspective. Or maybe not. The Kerryman, the newspaper that is, reckons, that unlike in 2005, when they were defeated by Tyrone in the final, this year the team is well prepared. Why?Because...wait for 2005 poor auld Kerry only had five games to "hone" their preparation in comparison to Tyrone's nine. Whereas this year they've had six while Tyrone have played seven. So, that's much fairer altogether that is. 

Would Kerry have won 35 All-Ireland's getting out of Ulster every year? 

Whatever you do, don't ask a Kerryman!

Dublin's "Blue Book"

Kevin McStay reckons that the "Blue Book" was an embarassment and it's difficult to argue with him on that: "as a handbook it had the potential to be of benefit but once it strayed into pyscho-babble and bouts of paranoia, it was on to a loser". 

Some parts have been published apparently. The only bit I could get my eyes on was the instructions to players  about the jobs they have to do whether they are defenders, midfielders or forwards (over on Laoistalk forum). Laying down expectations and the demands that are expected from each player. Fair enough. 

But, where the "Blue Book" goes too far, and where the GAA in general is gets of itself is in copying from professional sports. Copying the best of professionalism. Nothing wrong with that. Not doing it right. That is the problem. 

The Blue Book is a perfect example. It's based on the idea of the Black Book, which Clive, sorry Sir Clive (nearly forgot he's a subject, not a citizen) Woodward introduced to the England rugby team to prepare them to win the rugby world cup. Which you'll remember they did. So in this case the Black Book was universally acclaimed as a great idea. He dedicates a chapter to it in his book Winning! Except in the Black Book there was no creed, no nonsense and bullshit. Instead it was about setting standards, goals, objectives and a philosophy of play. It contained a Code of Conduct e.g. switching off mobile phones for team meetings and punctuality, information for players on policies and procedures, fitness testing, media and medical support etc etc. 

Yes, there was some inspirational sayings and photographs. Afterall who reads books with no pictures? But none of the pyscho-babble that McStay describes is in the Blue Book.  It was to prepare the players about practical matters.

Dublin's Blue Book in contrast, at a whopping 52 pages, sounds like a terrible ramble. I don't personally know any of the Dublin players, but if they are anything like any of the GAA teams I've played on a sheet of A4 would probably have done the job just as well.

What was in England's black book?
  • Objectives for players, head coach and management.
  • A code of conduct for everyone.
  • Team policies and procedures.
  • Notes about getting ready for an international match.
  • A "Who's Who" of players, staff and officials.
  • Information about the support teams: medical, technical, media, sponsorship.
  • A schedule up to the World Cup.