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11th Jun 2021

Tomás Ó Sé, Brendan Devenney and Colm Parkinson made some cheeky decisions in their careers

Lee Costello

“That was a cheeky one, I enjoyed that.”

Imagine being so good at your sport, that even at the highest level, you would just dictate where you play and who you want to mark. Well, Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé did just that.

In his column for the Irish Independent, Ó Sé confessed that “I blossomed as a defender under Jack O’Connor because the one thing he identified, was that I wasn’t a good man-marker.

“Actually, I hated space, if I ever felt like I was being exposed to it, I would have no qualms about lying to O’Sullivan, McCarthy or my brother Marc, that Jack had sent out instructions for us to switch men.”

This sort of boldness and character got those on the GAA Hour panel reminiscing about the times they would have have had taking a decision into their own hands – as you can imagine, some decisions worked out better than others.

Donegal legend, Brendan Devenney recalled one occasion where he made an executive decision on the pitch: “I remember it was my first club final. We played two inside. I had 15 on my back, but I remember the full-back was an old guy and I was only 19 then.

“Even in my mind then though, I thought I could burn this boy very easy and I said to the other guy who was back from America and was an experienced player, I said: ‘Go you in the corner and I’ll go into full-forward.

“I remember actually doing that and it was my first county final. I did burn him as well, but that was a cheeky one, I enjoyed that.”

It takes a whole new level of confidence to make bold choices like that, especially at such a young age. Colm Parkinson also regaled a tale about when he made an independent choice, but it maybe wasn’t quite as successful.

Picture credit; Damien Eagers / SPORTSFILE

“I remember I was in America one year and it was my first game. It was about 30 degrees hot, I was playing at wing back.

“The other wing back asks me ‘what side do you want to go?’, so I scanned the two wing forwards and one was Lee O’Brien who played senior for Wexford at the time, and the other was this old lad.

“I said: ‘Go over there’, because he didn’t know who Lee was and I went over to the old lad. Jesus, he had three points kicked off me in the first five minutes, it was fricking Gary Mason, who won an All-Ireland with Down.

“I was absolutely livid, what a stupid decision.”

You can listen to the full GAA Hour now

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