Cooper was absolutely brilliant, but he did fall victim to how the game is now played and refereed. Apart from the first half of the 13 semi (which does have to be balanced against the second half), it is a long time since he really showed his true abilities. Once we got into the packed defence, his impact lessened greatly. It shouldn’t have, but that coupled with referees being way too loose on what constitutes a fair tackle meant he just didn’t have the physicality to consistently deliver.
If people really want to see a Gooch type again, then the above needs to be looked at. If a tackling player can only truly tackle the ball, as is the rule, you shouldn’t need a rugby players build to beat someone.
Kerry were right to move him out the field, it is one of only two options for light forwards (the other option being to bring them on late when the game has loosened up). They could nearly have bought him further out the field and played him just in front of the defence. He needed freedom to operate in. Ironically, the one team that would still have given him one to one opportunities was Dublin - but he didn’t actually avail of them, Fitzsimons for instance did a great job on him in the '11 final.