Thursday, January 22, 2009

Captains - important or a side issue?

Well, it seems everyone's got a different thing to say about captaincy in sport and there's a bit of a kerfuffle going on right now with some teams. We've had William Gallas removed as captain from Arsenal. Waterford hurlers seem to be going with two captains for next season. Dublin footballers are going to rotate theirs. Kerry footballers look set to be laden with another problematic situation of a captain who's just not automatic first choice. Is it all a tad forced, this captaincy lark? Does it really make a difference who leads the side out, who collects a trophy if successful?

Declan Kidney's going to have to make a choice sooner rather than later on the captain of the Irish rubgy team with the Six Nations looming. Brian O'Driscoll's been there for a good while now and done grand, been reasonably successful but there's got to be a train of thought that goes it's time for a change. O'Driscoll would benefit from the lack of media spotlight that goes with the role and it might open up that extra 10-15% he's perhaps been lacking in an Irish jersey. Paul O'Connell is the obvious choice - a leader of men, an inspirational sort who'll throw himself into tackles and carry ball with the sort of ferocity that lifts a team. Jumpthefence is of the opinion we may have overrated O'Connell in this country - the Paul O'Connell cult is just embarrassing;on the biggest occasions of Lions Tours / World Cups he's been in poor form and he's been outplayed too many times by French, Argentinian, New Zealand second rows - but he's in huge form for Munster right now. A rugby captain makes choices on the field, so it's genuinely an important call for Kidney. Politics of the upcoming Lions tour may, though we hope not, come into it.

GAA's a different matter. Captaincy here is only an issue really when it's handled badly, as it can be in counties. Kerry are one of the counties that have this crazy rule of giving the role to the county championship winners, a rule that can lead to problems. Darren O'Sullivan's been mooted as the 09 captain and while the lad from Glenbeigh is a flyer on his day, he's never nailed a permanent starting spot on the first fifteen. Never mind that the thought of O'Sullivan standing up in front of guys like the O'Ses, Donaghy and the big personalities in the Kerry dressing-room is madness. I'm sure O'Sullivan could do without the hassle, without all the questions and the speculation and jibes as the summer goes on and if things turn sour.

I've never really understood the hype that goes with the captaincy in GAA or the seriousness placed on it by clubs or communities. Jumpthefence was gobsmacked at the trouble caused between John Egan/ Jack O'Shea when reading Michael Foley's Kings of September, all due to the captaincy issue in 1982. Isn't an All-Ireland medal to the club enough?

No comments:

Post a Comment