Sport Hurling

Sunday 23 July 2017

GAA seat plan looks a recipe for chaos

ONE aspect of the GAA's latest 'keep the fans off the pitch' policy has us a little baffled.

You may have noticed that since the ill-fated Leinster final, the first three rows of the Hogan, Cusack and Davin stands have been out of commission, covered by orange plastic netting serving as an impediment to the prospective pitch-invaders.

As we get towards the closing stages of the summer, however, the GAA can't afford to have so many seats unavailable, so they've come up with a cunning plan. They hope to distribute the tickets for these seats to non-competing counties. But that raises another, and potentially more serious, concern.

The thinking seems to be that people from non-competing counties will have no interest in rushing onto the field at the final whistle and will prevent the celebrating masses behind them from spilling onto the playing surface. However, this 'human shield' has trouble written all over it. The last thing you want at any large gathering is to have people occupying the same space trying to move in two different directions.

Hopefully, there will be a rethink.

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WHATEVER became of the home-town ref? There was poor Robbie Keane in the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night, running his little heart out as the seconds ticked away. All he wanted was to grab a goal to crown a wonderful night.

It shouldn't be too much to ask. Captain of his country, winning his 100th cap, trailing 1-0 in a meaningless friendly and needing a goal, if for no other reason than to christen the new home of Irish football, Robbie latches onto the ball in the box and before he can pull the trigger he's blatantly tackled by an Argentinian defender.

It's a simple call for any normal referee. Blow the whistle, point to the spot and watch in admiration as Robbie slots the equaliser and cartwheels his way to his adoring cameras, sorry, fans. Wait a few minutes, blow the final whistle and everyone goes home happy.

But no, Peter Rasmussen, in an extraordinary example of applying the rules, recognises the tackle as perfectly fair and awards a corner. A corner? An injustice of Henry proportions.

This sort of refereeing gives football a bad name and makes it even more difficult to attract recession-hit supporters to friendly internationals. The sooner we eradicate it from the game the better.

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FOINSE, the Irish language newspaper published with the Irish Independent every Wednesday, includes a handy aid to its readers at the end of each article in the form of a translation of words included in the piece which may be difficult to understand.

But it is often the case that merely glancing at this section can give you a good idea what the piece is about. Dáithí ó Sé's column last week, accompanied by a photograph of Alex Higgins, offered translations for the following words: Heroes. Drunk. Behind. Wild. Pathetic. Says it all really.

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TALK IS CHEAP No. 1: On August 8, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was quoted as follows: "Ricardo [Carvalho] is a very good player but he is at an age where if somebody wants to build a team for the future, he doesn't belong to that. He belongs to the present."

That seems clear enough, so you won't be buying him then, Jose?

Two days later and we get the following: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm it has agreed terms with Real Madrid for the transfer of Ricardo Carvalho." Maybe it isn't the same Ricardo Carvalho.

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THE Meath County Board were forced to issue the following warning last week: "Coiste na Mí CLG wishes to advise companies and businesses throughout the county that the company currently attempting to sell advertisements for a 2011 calendar featuring the Meath senior football team has absolutely no authority or permission to do so. The venture is not connected with any unit of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and no monies accrue to the players or to the Association as a result." Whoever said company are, we're pretty sure they're not based in Louth.

Fergus McDonnell

Sunday Independent

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