Dedryck Boyata and Liam McCarthy

Antrim is great Hurling County.

The UK media reported that yesterday Brendan Rodgers, a son of Antrim, was taking in a soccer match involving Manchester City.

The speculation is that he was on a scouting mission for defenders.

That he is doing this after Celtic have been ejected from the Champions League is, well, indefensible.

Of course, as regular readers will know that I don’t blame the Antrim man.

I firmly believe that the responsibility for this clusterfuck lies elsewhere.

Perhaps Brendan would have been better sitting in the Hogan Stand watching the Treaty prevail against the Tribesmen.

The Shannonsiders pushed their bodies through the pain barrier to end a 45-year wait to take the Liam McCarthy home with them.

Moreover, had he been in Croker to watch history being made it would have been useful to have Dedryck Boyata at his side.

Of course the all-Ireland hurling final is a showcase of a culture that is very foreign to the Belgian.

Sadly what is also apparently alien to the error-prone defender is a sense of being part of something that is greater than you.

Making a mistake in the heat of battle is understandable, leaving your comrades in the lurch is unforgivable.

Galway and Limerick are two great hurling counties it was tough on the loser, but I screamed for the Treaty with every wing of a camán yesterday.

The last time I was in Croker I was in the green and red of Mayo and our lads gave everything, they always do, but it wasn’t to be.

We gave Dublin two own goals of a start and battled back to level it with the last swing of Cillian O’Connor’s boot.

We lost the replay by the narrowest of margins.

The last time that my father’s county lifted the Sam Maguire he was there in Croker with the young woman who would become his wife.

That was 1951 and Mayo’s long wait still isn’t over.

However, yesterday Limerick were kings of hurling again after 45 years.

They had bossed the final from the start, although those two late goals from Galway had me fearing the worst.

Yet the men from Limerick held on and won.

It was only teamwork and an affection for everything that jersey stands for that got those exhausted limbs over the line.

As I said it would have been a very alien vista to Mr Boyata.

In the dressing room afterwards and in the train home to Shannonside there was only one song for that was suitable to celebrate a historic victory.

I smiled at the thought of the Section 31 types flinching in Donnybrook and perhaps one Limerick chap currently taking the shilling in Scotland.

Of course, both Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy led lives of unswerving devotion to something that they considered was greater than themselves.

For the avoidance of doubt, such a mindset is beyond the understanding of most professional athletes in 2018.

I fully realise that Dedryck Boyata is an asset in a business.

With that in mind banishing him from the first team squad is likely to diminish his market value.

In fairness to Celtic’s preening CEO, he wanted the Belgian gone in the summer when the defender wouldn’t sign a new contract.

Instead, Brendan wanted to keep the player who he considered to be his best centre back.

A rare error in judgement from the Antrim man.

When the Limerick men had to see out the final crucial seconds of the final yesterday they collectively dug deep.

Guys who get petrol money to go to training showed what it was to be a team player, to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Kieran Tierney conducts himself on the soccer pitch like a GAA player and so does Scott Brown.

As for their unreliable teammate then it really should be a poc fada for him…

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