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Dublin: 5°C Sunday 28 February 2021

'I think with GAA matches taking place, hopefully the winter months will slip along without us noticing'

The Cork great believes if the championship goes ahead, it will be a huge boost to watching fans.

Larry Tompkins at the launch of his autobiography today.
Larry Tompkins at the launch of his autobiography today.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CORK FOOTBALL GREAT Larry Tompkins believes the 2020 inter-county GAA season will be vital for helping people get through the winter if it goes ahead as planned from mid-October.

The delayed campaign is set to commence next month with the resumption of the football league and then the start of the championship schedule.

But with Covid-19 cases rising around the country and a series of high-profile postponements of club games, concerns are growing about the planned programme of fixtures being run off smoothly.

“Hopefully it will shorten the winter whereas if it wasn’t there, there’d be an awful gap,” stated Tompkins in Páirc Uí Chaoimh today at the launch of his autobiography Believe.

“I think people will look forward to the weekends and the live television action, both Saturday and Sunday. People going through Covid at the moment, it’s hard enough. Not to look forward to something at the weekend would be really difficult. I think with GAA matches taking place, hopefully the winter months will slip along without us noticing.

“The novelty of it in the winter time and the novelty of the climax of it then the week before Christmas, the All-Ireland finals, I think will create a good interest.

“I know the one sour thing is just the attendance of people not being able to go to games, it’s very difficult. But I do think when the inter-county season starts, please God there will be a few more that will be able to get to the grounds.”

The recent talk of a GAA split season being introduced is something Tompkins would be in favour of and he believes county boards will now have to reassess the expenditure on their elite teams.

“I’d go with club first because it would give the opportunity to people to see guys playing and also a massive opportunity to county managers and selectors to be able to see players. Of course that has to be a good sign to be able to look at players for inter-county scene to maybe bring them into a panel or not, rather than exhausting them coming in four or five nights training.

“You don’t always see everything at training sessions. I think when you’re playing competitively, it’s a better way to look at players. If the club scene was packaged into a few months and the inter-county scene packaged into a few months, I think you’d have a better setup. I do think that county boards will look at the whole concept of the training a team. The expense is huge nowadays. It’s an important factor and overall I think that it will be a benefit to counties.”

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Tompkins is looking forward to Cork’s planned Munster showdown with Kerry in mid-November, a throwback to the knockout era he featured in as a player and manager.

david-moran-and-ian-maguire Kerry's David Moran and Cork's Ian Maguire in action last summer. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s brilliant that it’s happening. It’s just unfortunate we don’t have the stadium full. They’ve done a massive job on it and it’s a crying shame it’s not buzzing. It’ll be unusual come November when Cork-Kerry are playing in knockout but look isn’t it exciting and something to look forward to for people?

“I don’t think it’s a disadvantage Cork have a longer club season. They’ll say look Kerry are probably the team to beat but I do think Cork will have a lot of confidence or should have from last year’s performance in the Munster championship. I think if Cork can come forward from last year, it’ll be a game that can go down to the wire.”

The 1990 All-Ireland winning captain enjoyed the reminiscing last week to mark the 30th anniversary of Cork’s double achievement even if current restrictions have impacted events linked to the feat, such as the launch of his book.

“Yeah it was organised for the 25th, this Friday. Sure we knew a couple of months ago it wasn’t going to be an inside event. We thought that we could maybe get up to 500 at an outside event but we knew a few weeks go that wasn’t possible. The books were printed at that stage, we just need to get it out there and hopefully people will buy it.

larry-tompkins-with-tracey-kennedy Tracey Kennedy and Larry Tompkins at today's book launch. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“1990, it was a magic year. I really mean our focus was completely on beating Meath that year, it wasn’t to complete the double. Now you realise what you’re after achieving with the double. It was brilliant for myself and Tomas Mulcahy who were captains, Teddy McCarthy who had the unique achievement of being involved in the two teams.

“We would have loved to have more events but look we tried to do the best we could. We tried to have a day last week in relation to making a bit of money for Marymount Hospice. That has gone well and is still going well. It’s great that people look back and really kind of remember you. We’re still not gone away. It was just a massive year for Cork.”

First published today at 18.55


Believe: The Larry Tompkins Autobiography’ is published by Hero Books (priced €20.00) and is available in all good local book shops and also online (print and ebook) on Amazon and Apple and all good online stores.

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Fintan O'Toole

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