While the tackling on show in Cork’s All-Ireland defeat of Meath in the 1990 All-Ireland football final was entertaining, it certainly wasn’t within the rules.
Tommy Rooney, Eoin Sheahan and Nathan Murphy rewatched the 1990 decider as part of the Off The Ball Classic Game Club series and found the game to be tough but largely unskilled.
Even Rooney, a thoroughly biased Meath native, struggled to defend the performances of his county men.
“Was it a disgrace [that Meath lost?] Look, if you look at the age profile there’s a good split in that Meath team. There was a lot of 20 year olds but a lot of lads were quite old as well.
“Do you know what was a disgrace? The shooting on show that day was probably a disgrace.
“Brian Stafford was probably one of the best footballers in the country and looking back on it last night, I couldn’t believe some of the frees he missed in the second half.
“Some bad decisions were made. Nathan mentioned that Colm O’Rourke wasn’t fit and I think that’s the only reason Cork snuck this one by a couple of points,” Rooney commented.
'It's a classic because of the hardiness on show'
Despite the lack of talent on show, the Royals supporter was adamant that the game deserves to be deemed as a classic.
“A classic can be a classic for a number of reasons. It’s not a classic because there’s loads of goals. It’s not a classic because of the history around it.
“A classic can be a classic for any amount of reasons. This one is a classic, and you mentioned it earlier, because of the hardiness on show.
“This is a time when men were men. Footballers are footballers nowadays and men were men back then.
“Those lads weren’t really playing football a lot of the time. The amount of hoofs up the pitch.
“I have written down here six tackles that would be banned in rugby in 2020.
“There was a shoulder to the head, there were clothes lines, there were just lads getting nailed left, right and centre.
“And they just got on with it. And they just got up and got on with it,” Rooney commented.
Are you tempted to watch the hardiest of men go head-to-head in a classic defined by its brutality rather than it’s skill?
You can watch the match in full on YouTube thanks to CR’s Video Vaults.