COLM Cooper has told of the shock he felt when the only time he was dropped from the Kerry team for a breach of discipline – eight years ago – was considered front page news by one newspaper.
Reflecting on time then manager Jack O’Connor left the Dr Crokes man and Tomás Ó Sé out of the side for an incident after a game against Sligo in 2009, Colm said he wasn’t happy when the story was splashed across the front page.
“It annoyed me at the time for sure. You’re a young fella and seeing your name on the front page of the paper for being dropped for disciplinary reasons, it’s not nice,” he said.
”It’s not nice for your family to see. I got a big shock that time when it made front page news,” he added.
“At the end of the day GAA players are amateur players. Ok, there are disciplines and codes that they have to follow but you must remember the amateur status,” Colm said.
Explaining the background to the story, he said after the Sligo game, Tomás was having a few pints in Dingle and he was enjoying a few pints in Killarney but he added: “We didn’t exactly kill anyone”.
Colm said: “At the time Kerry weren’t going so well in the championship and people latched on to that fairly quickly. Having said that, we turned things around and we went on to win the All-Ireland so it couldn’t have been all bad”.
Speaking to guest presenter Marty Morrissey on the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio this morning, Colm played down comments made by controversial pundit Joe Brolly who claimed the five-time All-Ireland medal winner and multiple All-Star didn’t have that warrior spirit needed to turn games around.
“I take Joe for what he is. He’s a very outspoken pundit and he likes to go against the grain sometimes just to create debate,” Colm said.
“He gets a kick out of winding Kerry people up and they always bite back a little bit which he loves.
“I certainly don’t lie awake at night thinking what Joe is going to say about me. In the earlier part of my career he thought I was a fantastic player and in the latter years his view has changed a little bit.
“I played for Kerry and Dr Crokes to win medals and challenge for titles, not to satisfy Joe’s needs or what he thinks about by character. If I let Joe get to me I don’t think I’d ever tog out,” he said.
Asked by Morrissey if he met Brolly going into Croke Park would he shake his hand and greet him, Gooch replied: “I’m not too sure about that. It wouldn’t be all hugs and kisses. I respect his opinion but I don’t think it’s a universal opinion, if I’m being honest.”
In his first broadcast interview following his retirement, Gooch said the two weeks since he announced his decision to end his inter-county involvement, just short of his 34th birthday, have been like a rollercoaster.
“I’d love to play for Kerry for the rest of my life but, unfortunately, time catches up with everyone. My time has come. I’ve had a fantastic journey. I’ve had an amazing time and I’ve taken a lot of medals with me,” he said.
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