Tailteann Cup gets the coverage it deserves as Joe Brolly hails his new protegé 11 months ago

Tailteann Cup gets the coverage it deserves as Joe Brolly hails his new protegé

Keith Beirne, Mickey Quinn and Ross Munnelly have all played in this year's Tailteann Cup while, as Antrim manager, Enda McGinley also has first hand experience of Gaelic football's second tier competition.

In that sense, and in every sense really, they were the perfect people to talk about it. As a Leitrim player, Keith Beirne lost to Sligo in the quarter finals of this tournament just two weeks ago so, as far as their semi-final against Cavan went and, as a neighbour of theirs,' he had an inside track that was always going to shine through in his analysis.


He talked about their pace, their experience with penalties and - no offence to Colm O'Rourke or Cora Staunton - he talked about Sligo like neither of them could. That's because he's played against them and, when he talked about 'Towie's' great pace, it was clear as day too, that he knows them.

Mickey Quinn was on co-commentary duty for the same game alongside Marty Morrissey and, from start to finish, the Longford man dropped these little nuggets about Sligo's kick-out strategy and Cavan's running from deep that complimented your experience of the game.


Alongside Beirne, you had Ross Munnelly in studio and, as a Laois player who was beaten by Westmeath this year and plays against them every other year, he told us more about Jack Cooney and the Lake County than many others could.

It was all brought together in a slick manner by Damien Lawlor who, at the very start, got the boys chatting about the Tailteann Cup and all its good things and bad things.

"Profile is the main thing for me," said McGinley.

"We all know about the beatings that were handed out in the old qualifiers, when there were those mis-matches that led to beatings.


"But we've had brilliant games in this competition, Leitrim and Sligo for example - because it was two teams at the one level. We seen the welcome that Sligo got when they ran out onto the pitch there. Players get profile, teams get profile and within those counties, that's what we need. And that's why I think the Tailteann Cup is so important for the game, for counties at that level. So that they can grow if they get decent profile from a good competition."

"The landscape in GAA is very different to what it was ten years ago," McGinley added.


"The amount of podcasts and social media coverage now - and all of them avenues are hungry for stories, and the Tailteann Cup will give us stories if we give it a profile."

Beirne backed up that point by describing Leitrim's interest in the competition, and the impact it will have on youngsters in the county.

"Originally, you'd get knocked out and you could get a tough qualifier draw, you could get a tough draw - you just don't know, so you could take the foot off the gas But with this Tailteann Cup, we all got a team at our level, so we went straight back into training and we were like, 'right this is a big chance for us.' It's worked really well for us because, in Leitrim, all year, our aim was we want to get up there to Croke Park. Everyone is devastated back home over the fact that we didn't make it so it has worked well.

"I've grown up watching Kerry and Dublin and Tyrone playing in Croke Park but just take a Leitrim kid - if they're watching us playing out there in Croke Park, it's a huge driving force for them. That's what the Sligo kids will be doing today, watching their own players, crucially, from their own counties."

Watching from afar, Joe Brolly was certainly impressed with the young Mohill man and Beirne should take that as a compliment, because we all know that Brolly doesn't dole out praise for the sake of it.