JJ Delaney on knowing when to speak up in the dressing room 5 months ago

JJ Delaney on knowing when to speak up in the dressing room

"Get out and say it"

Clare may not have qualified but at least they redeemed themselves. Two terrible performances against Tipperary and Limerick had the whole county down and out.

But against Cork they stood up. Men like Tony Kelly, Shane O'Donnell and John Conlon led like we know they can and by the end of it, it was only score difference that kept them out.

After the game, joint manager Donal Moloney said a players' meeting after the Limerick game had a huge role to play. The management took a step back, home truths were said amongst the squad, players cut to the point and there were no frills basically.

What it resulted in was a much more united and confident Clare team on Sunday and on Monday's GAA Hour Hurling Show, the lads weighed up the importance of these players meetings and indeed the value that comes with players speaking their mind in a dressing room.

Nine-time All-Ireland winner and Kilkenny legend JJ Delaney said this honesty and transparency between players played a huge part in his county's success.

"It was very player driven (in my time with Kilkenny.) Cody had an open forum to talk if anybody wanted to stand up and say anything...Players and management are in this for the same reason and if you think serious enough about something and you don't say it, you're not true to yourself and you're not true to the squad either. So if you've something to say, say it, the manager mightn't agree with it but you can argue it out there as well. Get out and say it, don't be afraid to say it..."

Which is an important lesson to every GAA player out there, whether club or county. If you're making a commitment, you obviously care and think about it. If you're thinking about it, you should make a point of delivering your thoughts and expressing them in these dressing room chats. It doesn't mean you have to talk all the time in fact, the less you talk, the more effective your words will be but if you have something on your mind, make sure you say it.

Chances are your teammate will agree.

"Players have to drive the whole thing," adds JJ.

"With players meetings as well, you can say a few home truths. The kind of guy who's not usually talking, and then when he stands up and talks in that players meeting, absolutely everybody will listen, it's brilliant.

"Then the management come in and you can tell them, 'this is what we've spoken about, this is what we're working on.' When it comes from the players, then you have to go out on the field and back that up then."

Offaly's Brian Carroll makes the point that every good team needs an open and honest relationship with each other. Then the hard and important things can be said.

"Isn't that what all good teams are made of though," adds Brian Carroll.

"Those leaders and those people who are willing to stand up and put their neck on the line and call each other out. No-one gets thick over it, you mightn't like it initially but you need characters and leaders like that to grab the bull by the horns and say some tough things to each other. People have to be willing to step up and say those things..."

You can listen and watch this part of Monday's GAA Hour Hurling Show here.