'I certainly don't lie awake at night thinking about what Joe Brolly is going to say about me'

Colm Cooper laughed off Brolly’s suggestions that he “didn’t have that warrior spirit needed to turn games around.”

COLM COOPER HAS shrugged off Joe Brolly’s criticism that he lacked the “warrior mentality” to be considered among the game’s greats.

Colm Cooper Colm Cooper Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

The Kerry legend announced his retirement on 4 April and, while the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Shane Lowry paid tribute to his career, Brolly took a different stance.

The RTÉ pundit accepted that ‘Gooch’ was a great player, but he felt the public were ”over eulogising” his career. The claim that didn’t go down too well in the Kingdom.

Speaking with Marty Morrissey on RTE Radio 1 this morning, Cooper dismissed the criticism and suggested Brolly was only looking for a reaction.

“I take Joe for what he is, he’s a very outspoken pundit,” Cooper said.

“He likes to go against the grain, sometimes just to create debate. I certainly don’t lie awake at night thinking about what Joe is going to say about me, because in my earlier part of my career he thought I was a fantastic player. In the latter years his view has changed a little bit.

“Look, I played for Kerry and Dr Crokes to win medals and challenge for titles, not to satisfy Joe’s needs or what he thinks about my character. If I let Joe get to me I don’t think I’d ever tog out.

“He has his views and I think he gets a kick out of winding Kerry people up and they always bit back a little bit which he loves as well. I don’t take it too seriously.

“He has his opinions, the same as everybody else, and I think he gets a little bit more of a kick out of it if he goes against the grain and he gets the reaction that he seems to be getting over this.”

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Brolly’s words drew the wrath of the Kerry public. Cooper believes they took it personally because they’ve seen how he’s operated throughout his career.

“I think that’s because people have seen me play club matches down here, they’ve seen me playing for Kerry, they’ve seen how much time and effort I’m after putting into football.

“They see me up close and personal and see what I’m like and maybe they feel I have all those attributes and characteristics that Joe speaks about. Then they get a little bit annoyed and bite back which he enjoys.”

The 33-year-old admitted it was a strange feeling to watch his former team-mates soldier on without him in their recent league final win over Dublin.

“It was quite strange watching the boys in the league final against Dublin and not being part of it for the first time in 15 years.

“Look my time has come, I’ve had a fantastic journey, I’ve had an amazing time, I’ve taken a lot of medals with me so I certainly can’t complain.

“When I took sentiment out of it I didn’t think my body could put up with the rigours of inter-county football for the next five or six months.”

Source: RTÉ Radio 1/SoundCloud

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Kevin O'Brien

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