This week's Independent News & Media regional newspapers' column
On Easter Tuesday I was getting ready to go out to work. Marty Morrissey was substituting on the RTE Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Show. He tells us that after the break he will be interviewing Colm The Gooch Cooper. According to Marty it is the first broadcast interview The Gooch has done since announcing his retirement from inter-county football.
My initial reaction was: "Oh no, not more sport. Davy Fitzgerald's antics in Nolan Park the previous Sunday had received so much coverage. It was almost on a par with the US North Korean spat.
But within seconds of listening to Colm I found myself totally engaged in what was going on on the radio. I was so taken with what The Gooch was saying that I phoned a friend of mine in West Kerry, telling her to turn on the radio and suggest to her 13-year-old football fanatic son to listen in.
Within 60 seconds I had been converted. One moment I'm saying not more sport and the next I'm glued to the radio, indeed, so glued to it that I end up arriving a few minutes late for work.
It was great radio but what was it that made it great? The Gooch simply spoke about how he loved playing football, something he has been doing since he was a little boy of eight. How his father was involved in the game at all different levels. He told us that he played in 10 All-Irelands and the ones he most remembers are the ones that Kerry lost.
He came across as a lovely, kind, friendly young man, who might well enjoy some good fun.
Marty asked him if Joe Brolly's negative comments upset him. The Gooch admitted that he would not be giving him any hugs or kisses the next time he sees him at a game, but after that, it was Joe's business how he analysed the sporting abilities of players. You could hear it in his voice that he had no problem with Brolly 'attacking' him.
I listened to the interview right to the end. And if I were in the PR business I'd certainly have The Gooch high up on my list of speakers to invite to give after-dinner speeches. I can well imagine his diary is full.
What made him special for me? It's something indefinable but I think it has something to do with being so personal, maybe honest and real too. Not a word of BS. A lovely Kerry man telling the likes of me how he adores playing football. He came across as the genuine article. Nothing fake, no advisers advising him what to say and that fabulous Kerry accent, all pure genius.
Colm, thank you for that interview. The way too you spoke about how you came back from injuries was inspiring.
I'm back thinking of the young 13-year-old boy in West Kerry who lives, eats and drinks soccer and GAA. He simply loves playing football. Come to think about it, it's fantastic that he's out there in the fresh air playing games with other children his own age.
Playing sport, whatever form or shape it takes, is good for body and soul. And then telling stories about it, adds to the fun of it all.
And guess what, I have to admit that I enjoy the antics of the Wexford manager, Davy Fitz. Okay, he says and does some outrageous things but he is certainly entertaining. In that game last Sunday week against Tipperary I found myself supporting Wexford, even if my Mum was from Tipperary.
Yep, sport makes sense