"They should have to shove the older lad out of the way" - older players getting overlooked 1 month ago

"They should have to shove the older lad out of the way" - older players getting overlooked

If you're good enough, you're old enough.

But now you're talking about that same player, only this time they're 15 years older...you'd better hold those horses for a second.

Because while you might still be good enough, old man, there's a good chance that you might not be young enough. As the old saying goes, how can you build for the future if you're relying on 30-something year-olds?

Paddy Stapleton makes a good point on Thursday's GAA Hour Hurling Show, when he says making a team isn't like queuing up for the groceries. Just because you've waited your time doesn't mean you've a divine right to get a chance.

In the final years of his Dublin career, Conal Keaney could sense the over-the-hill merchants circling.

"I could nearly feel people waiting to go 'ah well look, he didn't go well today but what can you expect? He's 36. I could hear all that coming into the game.

"Ageism is definitely a factor. On the other side of it, people say 'if he's good enough, he's old enough.' So if a 17-year-old plays well, great, he's there for the future and you can throw him on. If a fella in his late 30s plays well, it's like 'great, he played well. But what's wrong with the rest of the team?' I wouldn't be into that.

"It comes into club GAA as well. If lads are pushing on, there's lads looking to say 'he won't be here. We can't depend on him.' Why not like?"

Advertisement

Paddy Stapleton sees it in his home county of Tipperary, where he says you wouldn't have to go too far to hear someone calling it a day for Padraic and Brendan Maher, even though they could still be the two best half backs in the county.

"It's that traditional thing, isn't it, 'give the young lads a chance. We need a bit of youth.' But it's hard enough come across good players as it is.

"It could take a generation to come across good young players. You'd hear it at club level a lot 'why doesn't this young lad get a chance?' It's because he should have to shove the older lad out of the way. At the end of the day, you want your best 15 on the field. If he's performing as well as the older lad, yes, give the energy and the youth a chance, but if he's not, it's not like going for the groceries and queueing up for your place on the team. You have to earn it."

"I see it in Tipp at the minute. When is Paudie Maher going to finish? When is Brendan Maher going to finish. I'd be holding onto them as long as I could because it's hard to get that calibre of player."

The future is important but there's no time like the present, and that's why we'll leave the final word to Colm Parkinson.

"It's that idea that you always have to be building for the future, so you put him on the bench even though, at the moment, he is probably better. You can also build for the future using the older player.