Thursday 27 October 2016

Under-21 All-Ireland final should be held at Croke Park too

Published 12/08/2016 | 02:30

Ballintubber’s Diarmuid O’Connor in the U21 All-Ireland final between Cork and Mayo at Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile
Ballintubber’s Diarmuid O’Connor in the U21 All-Ireland final between Cork and Mayo at Ennis. Photo: Sportsfile

The sentiments expressed by Gerald Morgan on the GAA decision to replay the All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Waterford and Kilkenny at Semple Stadium will be broadly welcomed ('Banishing Kilkenny to Thurles for replay is a disgrace', Irish Independent, Letters, August 10).

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However, the choice of venue for the replay may well have been selected following consultation and agreement with participating counties.

There is, however, an anomaly in the venue chosen for the Under-21 hurling and football All-Ireland finals, as these finals are played in provincial stadiums. I have long advocated for these games to be played at headquarters.

The opening up of Croke Park to soccer and rugby in 2007 was universally hailed as a positive step in helping to bring together the different sporting traditions on this island. It was a magnanimous gesture to the FAI and IRFU. By this gesture, the GAA projected a progressive image of the association, which had been portrayed as narrow, and insular.

What a pity this ecumenism does not extend to the under 21 All-Ireland finalists. It matters not whether it's at senior, minor or Under-21 level, every All-Ireland final, including camogie, should be held at Croker.

To reach an All-Ireland final is the pinnacle of a player's career. It is a sporting achievement few attain and should be acknowledged appropriately by the GAA. How perverse it must be for those players scheduled to play the Under-21 hurling and football finals at a provincial stadium to know that U2, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Neil Diamond played Croke Park, and they didn't.

It is not unreasonable for those counties who have secured a place in an All-Ireland final to expect to play the decider in the spectacular surroundings of Croke Park. These players are the body, soul and lifeblood of the GAA and are deserving of appropriate recognition. It should not be a case of the players having the honour of playing at Croke Park, but Croke Park having the honour of hosting these players.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Dublin 6

Use of Hawkeye in hurling is flawed

After last Sunday's semi-final between Waterford and Kilkenny it is obvious that the Hawkeye system, as currently used for hurling, needs to be looked it.

There's nothing wrong with the technology, I'm sure, but the criterion for deciding whether a ball has gone inside or outside the upright is deeply flawed.

The designers seem to be using the same rule as is in place for tennis, which is that if the image of the ball impinges on the image of the baseline or the side-line then it is out.

That is fair enough, but the lines on a tennis court are two dimensional, while a hurling goalpost upright is a three dimensional object.

According to the laws of basic mechanics, if one solid object (a sloithar) hits another solid object it will bounce. If after hitting the upright the ball continues beyond the end line, as opposed to bouncing back onto the field of play, then it has to bounce to the inside when the point of contact is to the inside of the centre of gravity of the upright.

That this is not taken into account, and that all such outcomes result in no score, is hugely problematic for hurling, at least as it is configured at present.

This fact undoubtedly hurt Waterford last Sunday.

Seamus McKenna

Dublin 14

The Mammy returns

What ever happened to the Irish Mammy? Since when have we become a nation of Mum and Mom?

Are we ashamed of our particular diversity of nouns for addressing that most wonderful and important person in our life: Mother, Mammy, Mam, Ma and even the irreverent 'Aul wan'?

It's only within recent years that the description Mum and Mom has crept into Irish usage and is promoted, in the main, by media presenters.

Mum and Mom are fine and endearing ways of addressing one's Mater for British and American citizens, but can we please have the Irish Mammy back?

Des Hughes

Donaghmede, Dublin 13

Abortion and 'false compassion'

A few things come to mind on reading Roisin O'Donoghue's letter ('Something to say on abortion', Irish Independent, August 10).

I once heard it said there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant, and in my view there is no such thing as having a little bit of abortion in a country.

The minister who introduced abortion in England was surprised at the increase in numbers after his carefully crafted legislation was introduced. The woman on whose behalf the law was changed to bring in abortion in the USA had a complete change of heart and started to campaign for the right to life of unborn babies.

I would say the right to life trumps all other rights, even though the circumstances of the mother may be very difficult. She deserves support from those close to her and from the State to enable her come through her trauma.

"False compassion" is how Pope Francis has described what can result from the faulty thinking of this age which says abortion is good for women and euthanasia is about dignity.

I was very touched by a couple who appeared on one of our chat shows last year. They were devastated after their baby was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Then the mother had a brainwave: she decided to consult the baby!

I cannot remember exactly what she said but my sense is that she got the message in her heart that the baby wanted to live and this changed her and her husband's focus.

Even though it was very difficult, she was more at peace and the short time the three of them had together was very precious. They both looked happy.

Eileen Gaughan

Strandhill, Sligo

Why bad things happen

F Whelan, (Irish Independent, Letters, August 10) wrote that Fr Brendan Purcell said on the 'Marian Finucane Show' that earthquakes and volcanoes were necessary for the Earth to work. He is correct, I believe, to say that Fr Purcell's explanation is not good enough to explain why bad things happen.

An answer to this mystery might be that God gave us reality, which is both a gift and a curse for us.

It is a gift because it gives us the blessing of free will and individuality. But it is also a curse because it means the law of chance operates and bad things can happen. Things like the sudden taking away of that free will through premature death, which may also involve suffering.

We may rejoice to be alive but we must also temper our happiness with the thought that bad things can happen to us at any time. This is one possible explanation as to why God allows bad things in our world.

Sean O'Brien

Kilrush, Co Clare

Irish Independent

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