Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Joe Kernan: Rangers success is perfect answer to begrudger Spillane

It seems that begrudgery is still alive and well within certain quarters in the GAA.

Prior to their All Ireland Club semi-final against Kilmacud Crokes last Sunday, Crossmaglen Rangers became the target for some barbed comments from Pat Spillane, the well-known RTE analyst and Sunday newspaper columnist.

Every commentator, of course, is entitled to his or her views, but when such observations amount to nothing more than snide remarks and cheap shots then they surely lack depth and credence.

The Rangers found themselves confronted by a six-point half-time deficit last Sunday but a fusion of intelligent defending, clinical finishing and cool discipline saw them emerge triumphant to book their place against St Brigid’s (Roscommon) in the All Ireland Club final on St Patrick’s Day in Croke Park.

Of course, the best way to respond is by retaining winning ways and Rangers have certainly done that.

By their own admission, they have not been particularly convincing in recent months yet opposing sides have been unable to get the better of them.

I have long been convinced that consistently successful sides — and here I am thinking in particular of the Munster rugby side of recent vintage and the Meath teams that won All Ireland titles in 1987, ’88, ’96 and ’99 – invariably possess inner qualities of belief and passion that can see them through the most difficult of assignments.

In my opinion the current Crossmaglen side has similar assets — they simply will not hear of the word defeat.

They may or may not win the All Ireland Club title, but they are certainly deserving of rather more credit than someone like Pat Spillane might be prepared to bestow upon them.