Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Kelly and McConville on warpath

Oisin McConville (left) has been involved in some major battles with Tyrone in his team, not least the 2003 All Ireland Final which the Red Hand county won

The frenetic on-field summer action in the provincial and All Ireland championships is currently being complemented by equally heated literary comment in a rash of books released to a voracious public.

And leading the way in stirring the pot of controversy are former GAA president Sean Kelly and Armagh shooting star Oisin McConville.

Kelly takes the Croke Park top brass and a contingent of former presidents to task for their opposition to the proposed amendment to Rule 42 while McConville alludes in detail to the 'verbals' in which he claims at least three Tyrone players over-indulged in recent major games between the Red Hands and the Orchard County.

It was during Kelly's often controversial term in charge that the gates of Croke Park were eventually thrown open to international rugby and soccer - but not before trenchant opposition was overcome.

"Many of the most powerful, most influential and most articulate administrators in the GAA were completely opposed to any change to Rule 42," Kelly reveals.

"Almost all the former presidents - a powerful group - were against change, and almost all of Ulster counties were of a similar frame of mind. I knew I was embarking on a dangerous tactic."

Kelly's war of words with the hierarchy had something in common with Oisin McConville's alleged verbal spats with Tyrone players Ryan McMenamin, Conor Gormley and Brian Dooher in major matches.

McConville pulls no punches in taking the trio to task in his book - and he can now expect a response from the Red Hands.

If Conor Gormley is not painted in a particularly pleasant light in print, then the Carrickmore player has been handed two significant bonuses within the past four days.

Having just led Ulster to the inter-provincial championship title and he has also been included in the Gaelic Players Association team of the year - something that should provide a modicum of compensation for his omission from the Vodafone Allstars line-up.

Also in the side are Derry's Paddy Bradley and Monaghan ace Tommy Freeman both of whom, of course, were in the Allstars line-up.

2007 Opel Team of the Year : Stephen Cluxton (Dublin); Marc Ó Sé (Kerry), Darren Fay (Meath), Conor Gormley (Tyrone); Tomás Ó Sé (Kerry), Aidan O'Mahony (Kerry), Barry Cahill (Dublin); Darragh Ó Sé (Kerry), Nicholas Murphy (Cork); Declan O'Sullivan (Kerry), Alan Brogan (Dublin), Paul Galvin (Kerry); Colm Cooper (Kerry), Paddy Bradley (Derry), Thomas Freeman (Monaghan)

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