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Wednesday 30 July 2014

From the stands: McIlroy leaves it late unlike the Doc

Fergus McDonnell, Dermot Gilleece, Seán Ryan and Marie Crowe

Published 07/10/2012|05:00

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WHILE Rory McIlroy got to the church on time -- just about -- his near-miss missed tee-time reminds us once again that sportsmen are at their best on the field of battle, and just because they're good at one thing, you should never assume that they're good at everything.

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One elderly scribbler of this parish, whose pre- Google memory banks require no recapitalisation thanks very much, recalled an incident in 1979 when disaster was averted because of Tommy Docherty's adherence to this principle.

The Doc, manager of Manchester United at the time where Irish International Gerry Daly was among his charges, worked on the basis that the only thing a player needed to remember on an away trip was his passport; everything else could be sorted. So with this in mind he insisted that all his players memorise their passport numbers. Just in case.

There was a bit of a flap on the flight to Sofia that year where Ireland were due to take on Bulgaria in a European Championship qualifier when it was discovered that Daly's passport had gone missing. It could have caused endless problems for the Irish party, but because Daly was able to quote the number a duplicate could be issued without undue delay.

Things didn't go to well on the pitch, though, as Ireland lost 1-0 to an 80th-minute goal.

* * * * *

Spare a thought for the unfortunate American WAGs in the wake of events at Medinah last Sunday. Had certain husbands done their patriotic duty on the golf course, the party atmosphere could have been so different.

Like: "Your guy spoiled everything. I'm really disgusted with the way he finished and everyone depending on him. It's unforgivable. Now all we're going to have for the evening is long faces and the usual guff about missed three-foot putts.

"As for that fella Woods. He needs a right talking to. Giving that putt on the 18th when any child could see the Italian was going to miss it. Far too big for his boots if you ask me. And Elin was such a lovely girl."

Nothing for it but some comfort shopping on Rodeo Drive.

* * * * *

ALAN BENNETT, the former Cork City and Republic of Ireland centre-back, got an early birthday present last Wednesday when he led Cheltenham Town to victory in the West Country derby at Bristol Rovers. It was only his fourth game after a belated start to the season -- and Cheltenham have been unbeaten since his return and only conceded one goal in those games.

However, Bennett, who was 31 on Thursday, offered some sober reflections on his future after the game. "I'm preparing as best as I can for it because it's pretty terrifying," he admitted. "This will stop literally one day and I'm petrified at the thought of it to be honest."

In the second year of a two-year contract, Bennett has started a journalism and broadcasting course at the University of Staffordshire in Stoke, which is run by the PFA, and he has also done a course on strength and conditioning.

He knows the day is coming when he won't get another contract in England and said: "It's inevitable and, when that day comes, I want to finish my career in Cork. Whether that happens we'll see."

Neck and calf injuries delayed his season, and he also missed a game when his grandfather, John Hogan, died. "He was president of Ballincollig FC, and always encouraged me. He was a real people person, and 3,400 people signed the book of condolence over three days. They were very emotional days for me," said Bennett.

* * * * *

LOUTH'S, Dreadnots GFC, sometimes referred to as the only club ever to be barred for life twice, have made history by reaching their first senior county final. The club from Clogherhead face reigning champions St Patrick's today in Drogheda and although they had a reputation for being a bit rowdy in the past, it's not entirely deserved.

They were in fact banned for life, but only on one occasion and have long sorted out any discipline issues they once had. This turn-around was largely due to Sligo man, Peter Conry, who married into the village many years ago and brought much-needed discipline to the team.

ssport@independent.ie

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