Wednesday 28 June 2017

A&E saga puts extra pressure on racecourse

Part of the collateral damage following the shenanigans over Roscommon Hospital's A&E is what happens now when a jockey gets injured at the local racecourse.

Few sports besides horse racing have a minimum of two ambulances and a doctor travelling behind the athletes at all times. But as Turf Club senior medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick points out: "Our riders travel at 35-40 miles per hour on a half ton of horsepower with the risk of falling at any time from a height of three metres."

One of the duties of the clerk of the course is to ensure two ambulances and two doctors are in attendance at all times.

When jockeys came a cropper at Roscommon they were taken to the local hospital four furlongs away in jig time and the ambulance was back at the course in time for the next race. Now they will have to go to Galway 40 miles away, meaning new arrangements may have to be put in place to ensure there is a third ambulance on stand-by to meet the minimum requirement of at least two being present at all times.

The Irish Injured Jockeys' Fund, meanwhile, is organising a Jog for Jockeys 5km run which will take place simultaneously at five racecourses -- Leopardstown, Cork, Down Royal, Galway and Naas -- at noon on Sunday, August 21.

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When the winner of this year's Open receives a cheque for £900,000 at the Royal St George's in Sandwich this evening, there isn't the slightest chance he will consider presenting it to his caddie. But Walter Hagen did precisely that in 1922, when capturing the title for the first time at the Kent venue

Granted, the reward was a lot more modest: a mere £50 in fact. Still, wrapped in a camel-haired coat, Hagen made the typically grand gesture of handing the cheque to his caddie, named Daniels, after he was presented with the Claret Jug by the Prince of Wales. As one writer observed: "Hagen knew, even then, that to win the Open was a dollar investment for life."

Today's winning caddie can expect to receive £90,000, the customary 10 per cent of his master's haul. Which is more or less the same as the $140,000 JP Fitzgerald would have been entitled to as Rory McIlroy's bagman at Congressional last month.

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CONSIDERING they work a year in advance, the organisers of the Dublin Super Cup showed remarkable prescience in choosing Celtic, Manchester City and Inter Milan for the first running of what is a 10-year commitment to this tournament in the Aviva Stadium (July 30 and 31).

It means that there will be an impressive six cups on display during the tournament -- the FA Cup, the Scottish FA Cup, the Italian FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the World Club Champions Cup, and the new trophy, the Dublin Super Cup.

Equally impressive is the fact that, as part of the contract, all the clubs have committed to play their full-strength teams. In Inter's case, the tournament is their last game before the serious business of playing arch rivals, AC Milan, for the Italian Super Cup. They fly out on the Monday to Beijing for that game.

With such an impressive record of selecting cup winners, perhaps a little flutter on Liverpool for the FA Cup might be in order, as the organisers have them lined up for next year's edition.

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ONLY recently, Aaron McGregor set his older brother Conor up for a match-winning goal as Limavady Wolfhounds surged to another league win, but this week the promising young Gaelic footballer has agreed professional terms with Glasgow Rangers.

With such strong traditions and tensions existent between the Old Firm rivals, it's unusual for a Gaelic player to sign for Rangers but the youngster has done just that after being scouted by the Scottish club since he was 12 years old.

The 17-year-old has signed a two-year professional contract and his father Michael says he won't be the only GAA player to join the Rangers camp. He reckons there are five players with a GAA background in the under 19 squad that Aaron's joining. While there are still highly-strung clashes between the Glasgow sides, this shows things are improving behind the scenes.

Jerome Reilly, Dermot Gilleece, Seán Ryan & Damian Lawlor

ssport@independent.ie

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