Joe Brolly

JOE BROLLY: Dr Joseph P Brolly, motivational guru

WHEN Glen, Maghera played Dungiven in the first round of the championship last week, Fergal McCusker and Enda Gormley took up position on either side of the ground with an abacus, to count the opposition players.

They are believed to be the first tally men appointed to a backroom team.

Dublin won again and will continue to win so long as the most over qualified water boy in the history of the GAA stays with them. I predicted a six-point victory, but they paid Kerry far too much respect and as a result won only by two, which irritated me.


Dublin’s psyche in relation to Kerry comes from a romantic view of the past, an irrational fear based on the serial beatings they took from them in the 35 years before Gilroy arrived. They should push on now.

In the week after their victory, the Dublin boys went on the beer and began posting tweets about a piece I wrote about them in March after their abject effort against Derry in the league.

I wrote that they had become bores – backwards, sideways, nothingness footballers. I compared them to “a mid-table Premisership team safe by April, playing for their pay cheques.” and said they were “regressing to the pre Gilroy/Gavin era.”

“Why are they turning up at all?” I wrote. “They are not tackling, running hard, competing, not kicking the ball, playing without adventure or glory.”

I concluded by writing, “Why don’t they do the honest thing, retire from county football and go back to their clubs?”

After the final, I was delighted when John Small tweeted the piece. A number of the Dublin players whatsapped me with pictures of the piece describing how badly it had stung them. One told me he had cellotaped it to his bedroom wall and looked at it every day as he left the room. I waited for the thank yous but thank yous came there none. How rude.

In 2003, I wrote on the eve of the championship that Tyrone’s brand new squad resembled an adventurous u-21 team that would win nothing at senior level. After surviving against Derry in the first round drawn game via a last-gasp point, they destroyed us in the replay at Casement before going on to wallop everyone in their path.

After they won that All-Ireland, Mickey Harte said that they had posted my piece on the inside of the dressing room door and used it throughout the year as motivation. My pleasure.

Wind forward to 2014, when Kieran Donaghy, a player I greatly admired throughout his career, was starting to make a fool of himself. Half-hearted on the field, languishing in the Kerry subs, forgetting what had made him the most interesting, most dramatic, most destructive footballer in the country. I wrote that he no longer had any right to be called ‘Star’, that he was embarrassing himself, going through the motions and letting himself and his county down.

In the semi-final that year, he was introduced against Mayo and electrified the team, driving them on to a draw, then destroying Mayo in the replay, before winning an An-Ireland and MVP against Donegal in the final. “What do you think of that Joe Brolly?” he roared into the camera at Croke Park.

In his subsequent autobiography, he wrote: “Many the time that summer that article got me up in the morning and I’d be there, gritting my teeth, thinking, Joe Brolly, you f**kin’ bo***x, I’ll show you if it’s the last thing I do. Joe made it personal, about how I was a two-year wonder, how soft I’d become and had believed my own hype and no longer had any right to be called ‘Star’.”

Not a single, solitary thank you. Some people…

My conclusion? I am done with being an amateur motivational guru. Expect to see me on the stage at the Pendulum summit and a multi-national’s offices near you soon, using my official title Dr Joseph P Brolly NLP.

My fee will be €15,000 per client, €50,000 per business, plus VAT. And yes, my invoice to Dublin County Board is in the post.

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