Last week in his column for the Indo, Joe Brolly lamented the loss of "good, honest violence" in GAA, claiming that the lack of players self-policing games and giving out the odd slap when it was necessary is detrimental to the game, but this week something else is bothering Joe.
Brolly is arguing that over-training and professionalism is resulting in robotic football, and outlined the reasons why he believes that Seán McCague's suggestion to abolish county football in 2001 is becoming an increasingly attractive idea despite the reaction to it initially:
At club level, boys have lives. They can work. They can court. They can speak. They can socialise. And they have the freedom to play football. After the Donegal game this year, I chastised one of Derry's better players for not taking the shot when he came from the defence and received a pass putting him in a great position 30 metres from goal. "Joe, I'm under strict orders not to shoot."
Imagine a Ballinderry manager saying that to one of his players?
The cruel irony is that the result of all of this overtraining, professionalisation and elitism is that Gaelic football has turned to dross. As Tadhg Kennelly wrote in The Irish Times last week, the obsession with strength and conditioning coupled with defensive systems of play, has eroded skills. The young Down superstar Caolan Mooney, who won a Hogan Cup and then played in the AFL with Collingwood for two seasons before returning home, made the point recently that Down training was tougher than the pro game, and that's before club and university commitments are factored in.
It is a depressing situation.
Brolly continued to explain that club football, and in particular the Ulster club championship is truly the game that he knows and loves, and as a result he is writing a book entitled 'The Joy of Football: The Gourmet Guide to Real Football', in an attempt to move county football away from what it has become, and to encourage the players to play the 'real' football that the fans love to see.
You can read Brolly's highly enjoyable reasoning as to how 'The Joy of Sex: The Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking' inspired him to create a version for football over on Independent.ie, and we look forward to reading it when it does eventually come out.