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Those morons will feel emboldened to take Eam again.

Byline: PAT NOLAN

"I COULDN'T care less about myself, but I was worried about the younger players who were getting abuse. They needed to be brought on, not abused by supporters."

Sound familiar? You'd be forgiven for assuming it was a quote from Eamonn Fitzmaurice in the aftermath of his resignation as Kerry senior football manager last Saturday night.

But it is actually from Nickey Brennan following his departure as Kilkenny senior hurling manager back in August 1997.

The previous December, Brennan had labelled a section of the Kilkenny supporters "scum" after a South-East League game and the above comment was a reflection on that particular episode following his resignation.

A traditional power in a period of transition with patience a scarce commodity - Kilkenny's predicament then mirrors that of Kerry now.

The most unseemly aspect to Brennan's resignation surrounded the abuse that had been directed at him and his brother, Canice, who was a Kilkenny player at the time.

As hard as it may be to credit now, their League semi-final against Limerick was played two weeks after Kilkenny had lost the All-Ireland semi-final to Clare.

Limerick won handily and Canice's performance was pilloried by the Nowlan Park crowd.

"My mother was sitting in the same stand as these people on Sunday and I was furious about that," Brennan continued.

"She's supported us all throughout our careers and the contribution of my family to Kilkenny hurling has been unreal.

These buffoons deliver all invective not be eureka "It was just after half-time and we took the field before Limerick. I was asked what were the changes and I said, 'Brian McEvoy for Canice Brennan'.

"When this was announced, a cheer went up and it was like a knife through the heart.

"It was symptomatic of what has been happening and at least in the new scenario - and I'm not saying that a new management team would definitely pick him - Canice won't have to worry about that relationship with the county manager."

As it happened, Kevin Fennelly succeeded Brennan and placed Canice at centreback in 1998 as Kilkenny reached the All-Ireland final for the first time in five years.

The following year he was Brian Cody's favoured full-back.

While restraint in Kilkenny at the team's shortcomings in more recent seasons has been more prevalent than it was back then, it would be naive to assume that will always be the case.

Would Cody have survived another defeat to Cork back in 2006? Possibly not.

If they go another, say, two years without an All-Ireland, will the 11 he's already delivered provide the same insulation as he's (quite rightly) enjoying at the moment? Probably not.

That's just the way it is.

There are ill-informed cranks in every county and then within that you have those who feel justified in communicating their vitriolic ramblings to players and managers.

Back in 1997, the internet was a luxury but now social media adds a thick layer to the abuse levels.

As one of the few inter-county managers with a Twitter account, there was a direct line to Fitzmaurice that presumably supplemented his "box full of anonymous letters".

But, while it's well-intentioned and Fitzmaurice has started a debate which plenty of other managers have waded into since, ultimately you'd have to wonder what they are actually achieving.

These nameless buffoons that deliver the invective won't be having a eureka moment.

Indeed, they have been given a certain level of validation by the fact that a leading inter-county manager has said that their actions, at least in part, influenced him to resign.

It's an unfortunate reality, but morons nationwide have been emboldened this week by the Fitzmaurice episode.

These nameless buffoons that deliver all the invective will not be having a eureka moment

CAPTION(S):

FELT HE COULDN'T KERRY ON Eamonn Fitzmaurice after last Saturday's game
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 9, 2018
Words:639
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