JURGEN KLOPP, apparently, is a massive hurling fan. The Liverpool manager was in the company of former Cork senior hurling manager John Meyler recently and, according to Meyler, all he wanted to talk about was hurling. Now, it matters not one whit to Hurler whether Klopp knows one end of a hurley from the other, I was more interested in Meyler’s explanation to Klopp of a fundamental difference between Gaelic games and professional soccer.
“He [Klopp] is a massive fan of hurling, the speed of hurling and all of that but I said to him, ‘There’s one difference between you and me as a manager… I’ve to make do with the 35 Cork hurlers I have on the panel. You’ve only one Liverpool player on your panel, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who’s from Liverpool,” recalled Meyler.
“I said, ‘If you want a centre-forward, you can spend €50m and buy somebody, I can’t do that,’” explained Meyler, whose own son David was a professional footballer with Sunderland and Hull, and was capped regularly by the Republic of Ireland.
We can count our lucky stars that Gaelic games is built on a different model to soccer. In Gaelic games, the place of your birth determines who you play for all your days. Only a genuine change of address, or, in the very odd case, a dodgy ESB bill and the lure of the town team, interferes with a system that has served the GAA well for the past 137 years.