Tuesday 30 May 2017

From the stands: Marathon success story loses its stripes

In the sports sponsorship business, ten years is a long time and after a decade-long association with the Dublin City Marathon, adidas have finally pulled out. It comes as the Irish division of the brand reported a fall in its profits here last year from €10.4 million to €1.5 million.

The adidas association with the Dublin City Marathon was highly successful. As well as the event itself, the company also supported three preliminary events which attracted tens of thousands of athletes of all abilities to take part in the five-mile race, the Frank Duffy ten-miler and half marathon preliminary races in the Phoenix Park.

For many, taking part in one of the well-organised adidas races was their first foray into organised competitive sport. The adidas technical T-shirts, given to all finishers, take pride of place in the running wardrobe of thousands of Irish runners. It was good while it lasted.

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MEN and women involved in coaching kids in their local GAA clubs must have been tearing their hair out in frustration and disbelief last Saturday as they watched Ireland's dismal effort against Australia.

When teaching young people -- and sometimes not-so-young people -- the various skills of Gaelic football, the one nearly always at the top of the list is the 'pick-up'. Now we know that players in the hybrid game are not required to use their toe in the pick-up but whereas the Australians had no problem getting down for what Bernard Flynn brilliantly described in his radio commentary as "the dirty ball" -- ie, the one that requires a bit of courage -- it seemed the Irish lads just didn't fancy it.

The decision by many of the players to opt for fancy flicks and backheels must have seemed to kids watching like the handy way out -- and a way for them to in future avoid having to, as their coaches might teach them, "bend their backs". Coaches have their work cut out with this particular skill, especially as it often requires courage to execute under pressure, so it was disheartening to see so many Irish players take the soft option.

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Darragh ó Sé's recently published autobiography reveals a barely disguised dislike for the media.

Several times he mentions his reluctance to talk to the press and stated his displeasure at the way they treated certain instances involving the Kerry team over the years.

It appears, however, that Darragh has overcome this aversion. Apart from releasing his life story in print, he writes a weekly column for the Irish Times. He has also appeared as a pundit on Newstalk over the past few months and there he was co-commentating for TG4 on the international rules last weekend.

Darragh will also be the subject of an hour-long documentary to be broadcast on TG4 on Christmas Day. From The Stands would be delighted to propose Darragh for NUJ membership whenever he feels like it.

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THE past week saw widely contrasting fortunes for two Dublin hurling clubs.

Templeogue outfit Faughs were busy putting the finishing touches to their 125th anniversary celebrations which will be held at the Red Cow Inn on November 13; an event that's expected to attract 500 past and present members.

But there was little to be joyous about for South Circular Road club Kevin's who landed the Dublin IHC title last weekend only to see it snatched away in the boardroom.

A row centred on brothers Ben and Alex Quinn who scored late goals in Kevin's 4-8 to 2-9 win over Thomas Davis. The teenagers were later found to be ineligible on the basis that they were registered as Good Counsel players, who combine with Kevin's at underage level.

As both players had come up through the juvenile ranks and had not played adult championship hurling for either club, it was felt they were legitimate Kevin's players.

But the Dublin County Board didn't agree and 12-week suspensions were dished out to the players, while Kevin's were stripped of their title. It means that Thomas Davis will today represent Dublin in the Leinster club JHC against Offaly's Drumcullen. Not the way either club would have wanted it, we imagine.

Jerome Reilly, John Greene

and Damian Lawlor

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Independent

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