Thursday 25 December 2014

From the stands: Three wise men bring cheer for our boxers

John Greene, Dermot Gilleece, Marie Crowe and Fergus McDonnell

Published 09/12/2012 | 05:00

More good news for Irish boxing is imminent. From the Stands understands that the coaching trio of Billy Walsh, Zaur Antia and Pete Taylor will finally be given some job security with new deals to keep them in place for the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

The news, which will be a great relief to the Irish boxers in the high-performance unit, will be confirmed by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association before Christmas. Walsh, who heads up the unit, has publicly expressed his frustration at the delay in securing the trio's future on several occasions. "It is a bit of a nuisance because the (boxers in the high-performance unit) all stayed because we were staying but hopefully it will be resolved," he said last month. "Everyone is positive and wants it to happen so, please God, it will happen."

There had been reports that other boxing federations were watching developments with interest, ready to swoop if negotiations broke down, but the three highly regarded coaches have always said their preference was to remain here and continue their work in what is a golden age for Irish boxing.

* * * * *

Belly-putters; broomhandles; body anchoring; arms swinging freely – what's all the fuss about? The golfball doesn't know what sort of equipment is being used as it wanders across a green in the general direction of a hole measuring 4.25 inches in diameter. Ah, but your nerves do, and that's where the problem lies.

On once being asked if the barest touch of a putter which sent a ball careering down one of Augusta National's notorious slopes actually constituted a golfing stroke in the strict meaning of the term, Jack Nicklaus famously replied: "Certainly. Putting should be as much a test of nerve as of skill."

Thirty years ago, Johnny Miller became the first tournament professional to anchor a long putter to his body so as to overcome twitching hands. In that instant, golf's Pandora's Box was opened, though the game's authorities didn't know it at the time. Now, they have decided to call a halt, albeit not until the start of 2016.

That, as a Cockney might say, is when putting's mixed herbs will come seriously back in play. And some of us can't wait for the fun.

* * * * *

Amid all the controversy over racist and abusive chants at football grounds, it's good to hear that at least one club is doing something to maintain standards.

A letter from Liverpool Football Club's customer service liaison officer came to our attention here at From the Stands via a friend who was doing a little Christmas shopping. He wanted to buy a present for his partner, Niamh, but was politely informed that LFC would not print "Niamh Hates Mancs" on the Suarez mug he wanted to purchase as all products represent the club.

Looks like Niamh will be getting a pair of socks.

* * * * *

AS Paddy Power prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, the company is planning changes to its familiar logo which, we are told, will better reflect their 'mischief-maker' personality.

The company head of brand DNA (yes, brands have DNA) put it brilliantly: "Our new brand visual identity embodies our commitment to entertaining our audiences, differentiates us from our competitors and gives us a contemporary but authentic identity across all our channels." So there.

They will be retaining the brand's green colouring, "as a nod to (the bookmaker's) Irish heritage," but that, as they expand into new markets, different greens are being brought in to ensure it is "relevant to all the countries we go into".

Paddy Power didn't get to where it is today by using irrelevant greens.

* * * * *

Thanks to all who entered our Miracle At Medinah DVD competition. The answer was Chicago and the winners, who will receive their prize in the post shortly, were: O Studdert, Co Clare; D Lavin, Co Mayo; G Robinson, Co Tipperary, W Carroll, Co Laois and V Callanan, Co Kildare



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