DUBLIN GAA CHIEF John Costello has launched a typically robust defence of the achievements of their all-conquering senior footballers and management in his annual report that has been released today.
Costello criticised pundits who have described Dublin’s players as ‘robots’ or ‘automatons’.
The 2018 season saw Dublin once again sweep up a collection of honours as they won the All-Ireland, Leinster and league crowns.
“Some of the commentary on our senior footballers and management was eye-catching and I think it would be remiss of me not to let it pass unchallenged,” wrote Dublin secretary Costello in his report.
“Words such as ‘robots’, ‘automatons’, ‘emotionless’ were used, by a small group of commentators, to describe our management and players on several occasions this summer.
“Concerned by this matter we undertook an examination of the sum of the parts of all involved and am glad to report that no microchips, levers, wires, transistors, relays etc. were discovered!
“However, I can exclusively reveal that we did discover that Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey do have a sixth gear!
Dublin players Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion celebrate their All-Ireland win.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“On a more serious note, I am not sure what purpose this fulfils for some commentators? When we were less successful, we were ridiculed for being too showy etc. – now it’s the opposite.
“Perhaps Jim Gavin should run up and down the sideline during games gesturing to the crowd or throwing water bottles around to show his ‘passion’ or a senior ranking county board official should run to Hill 16 after some victory and throw their tie into the famous terrace?”
Costello also hit back at the debate over the funding Dublin has received through games development grants.
He believes it is a ‘crude device’ used to ‘try and devalue’ the achievements by Dublin over the past decade.
“The subject of Dublin’s games development grants is another crude device used by some to try and devalue the achievements of Dublin’s senior footballers this decade, those who want to engage in some alt-history of this decade.
“The money Dublin has received has been invested in our Games Development programme solely at nursery and juvenile level. Our Go Games programme alone, over the last 10 years, has seen a participation growth of 58% in football and 98% in hurling and 11,500 fixtures scheduled annually for children in the U8 to U12 age groups.
Jim Gavin celebrates with John Costello after Dublin’s 2017 All-Ireland final victory.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“Massive numbers attend nurseries the length and breadth of the county on a weekly basis. The focus is on enjoyment, fun and introducing young boys and girls to Gaelic games and their local clubs, while also trying to strengthen the link between the local primary schools and the clubs.
“Many stay and enjoy great years with their local club, while others, unfortunately are lost to the game, concentrating eventually on other pursuits.
“However, to draw a simple straight line, some linear equation, directly connecting this investment at nursery/juvenile level and the success of Dublin’s senior footballers years later is inaccurate.
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“I have read articles using the figures of adult players in the capital to suggest that the grants have been invested in our adult games and indeed directly towards our senior footballers and hurlers. This is untrue and at best is mischievous.
“We all learned to join the dots in the early years of primary school but we didn’t all make it to the status of artists like Jack B. Yeats!”
Stephen Cluxton lifts Sam Maguire.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Costello also heaped praise on the style of play from the Dublin footballers and their conduct off the pitch.
“Statistics alone do not capture the majesty of this panel. Their style of play, dedication, attitude and humility make them the standard bearers. The team for the ages.
“Fittingly, team captain Stephen Cluxton celebrated his 200th appearance for Dublin’s seniors (in league and championship) by once again leading his side to glory, the fifth occasion he has lifted the Sam Maguire as he and this panel/management continues to set new records and new standards.
“It is this trait which has been one of the most satisfying to watch over recent years – how the team think and work their way around the obstacles that are put in their way, be that packed defences or playing pitches that shrink in the summer heat!
“We are very fortunate in Dublin GAA that we have a group of young men who epitomise the very best of what the city and the GAA is about. They contribute to their communities, to charities, to the GAA and to causes or issues that are important to them.
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“Sometimes this can be very public in nature – and hugely valuable for that. Other times it is things that can go unseen and unstated – and that’s the way the lads want it. I have huge admiration for this work.
“In a world that too often seems to dwell on negativity and pessimism it is wonderful and heartening to see a group of young men who see positivity in everything they do. They are selfless in their efforts and with their time and I know it is hugely appreciated both in the county and even further afield. I know I am not alone in my opinion when I say that it makes every one of them an All-Star.”
Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne preview a big weekend of Heineken Cup action and dissect the week’s main talking points.
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