Hospital Pass: Revamped Championship, Stevie's punishment and what's Dublin's David Treacy doing?
In today’s Hospital Pass we feature Armagh’s Stevie McDonnell nearly getting killed, Dublin’s David Treacy nearly getting buried alive and Sean Kelly trying to revive the All Ireland Football Championship.
Sean Kelly reviving the All Ireland Championship
Former groundbreaking GAA President Sean Kelly has been speaking in today’s Irish Examiner in relation to how best to revive the All-Ireland Football Championship, make it more competitive and provide for development in the weaker GAA counties.
The current MEP rejects the premise of an open draw being “the great equaliser” as well as admitting that the backdoor system hasn’t helped the weaker sides as intended and has only given the larger counties a second bite of the cherry.
Kelly proposes that the provincial championships be reformed whichever way the provincial GAA councils see fit. Then let the All-Ireland Championship begin with 16 teams comprised of the 4 provincial champions and runners–up, with the champions getting home draws. The winner and runner-up of the previous year’s Tommy Murphy Cup and 6 other teams determined by League position alá the Premier League’s European qualified teams would make up the other 8 sides of the 16.
This would add prestige to the League and to a revamped Tommy Murphy Cup that would see 16 of the weaker counties compete in it each year after failed provincial campaigns.
The bit we like about the new more prominent Tommy Murphy Cup, is that the All-Star game would see the best XV from the Tommy Murphy competition take on the best XV from the Sam Maguire competition.
In theory it doesn’t sound too bad to us and as Kelly writes in his column "If you don’t approve, try...to come up with a better system.”
Stevie McDonnell getting killed
Stevie McDonnell has written his second column for the GAA website and it has some fairly interesting things to say about Joe Kernan’s method of team-building with Armagh, the symbols they wore on their jersey (drops us a line if you know more about that) and how good a defender Enda McNulty was.
The bit that grabbed our attention though was Stevie’s description of the retribution exacted by some of the senior panel members on himself, Marty O’Rourke and Paul Watters for going out on the piss two days day before a training session. It sounds like many peoples’ idea of a nightmare.
Stevie sets the scene, his birthday was the Tuesday after the Ulster final in 2004 which Armagh won by beating Donegal. The players were given licence to go out and have a few beers on the Sunday and on the Monday which the players duly did.
After this they were under orders to get rehydrated and get ready for training on Thursday and another crack at the All-Ireland. The three lads decided that they’d go on the lash on the Tuesday for Stevie’s birthday. In the column Stevie asks “Why wouldn’t we? We were young and wanted to enjoy ourselves.”
Well for some very good reasons they shouldn’t have it turns out, Kieran McGeeney and Paul McGrane found out and read the lads the riot act.
The next bit of the punishment sounds like a horror movie:
“Geezer made the McEntees, McNultys, Diarmuid Marsden and Francie Bellew aware of what we had done and time after time during the session they buried into us with everything they had, at every opportunity. We left the pitch bloodied and bruised. They roughed us up a bit but we deserved it...The fact that nobody found out about this until now proves the trust we had in each other.”
If there was ever a collection of players you didn’t want knocking lumps out of you in training, it was every single player Stevie named in that column. We’re surprised he is still alive.
David Treacy digging graves
If you get a hiding from those Armagh lads it’s likely that you’ll have learnt your lesson. Stevie McDonnell is also retired from intercounty football so it’s unlikely he’ll ever find himself in that position again...
If he did however he might consider calling Dublin hurling star David Treacy who appears to be as handy with a shovel as he is with a hurl.
This weird photo of David Treacy popped up in our Twitter timeline today as Treacy tweeted fellow Dublin hurler Peter Kelly.
We’re not sure David is digging a grave or a trench, but if Geezer and the boys come after you both forms of hole might come in handy....