The traumatic experience endured by Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy at the weekend has not been lost on all those who participate in sport every week.
A freak training ground injury saw the Everton 18-year-old rushed to the intensive care unit of the Mater Hospital in Dublin and it was only after substantial blood transfusions and some expert medical attention not least given by the Republic’s team doctor Alan Byrne that he began to recover.
Happily, he is now making good progress and that is a cause for considerable relief. But it surely helps to bring into even more sharp focus the disgusting practice of players feigning injury in gaelic games.
This has become more prevalent recently and is something to be abhorred.
Only just recently the tragic death of Leitrim footballer Philip McGuinness after his head struck the knee of a playing colleague plunged the GAA into mourning. There is certainly enough real trauma in the sporting world without players producing histrionics and play-acting that demean our games.
Gaelic football is supposed to be a manly sport — or so we are told — but there is certainly nothing manly in feigning injury with a view to having an opponent red-carded. Indeed, it’s the essence of cowardice.
On a much more pleasant note I was delighted to bring my Galway team to picturesque Clonmore club near the shores of Lough Neagh last Sunday. The local club there was unveiling its new facilities and Galway played Armagh in a challenge match to mark the occasion. The fact that Galway won is irrelevant — what is relevant is that excellent facilities have now been provided for future generations by a go-ahead club that is contributing greatly to the progress being made by the GAA in the county of Armagh.
There are three main groups of people primarily involved in the staging of all matches — managers, players and referees. And the sad thing is, particularly in terms of the major Championship games which highlight the annual fixtures calendar, that the only place in which they come together is within the perimeter fencing of a playing area.