Sunday 4 December 2016

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Published 29/05/2011 | 05:00

Setting Ryan's record straight

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Further to your article about Paddy Ryan, world champion hammer thrower [May 1], and, as stated, Paddy did not compete in the 1912 Olympics because he was not picked to compete. He emigrated to America in 1910 but had to be resident in America for five years to get citizenship.

In the 1908 London Olympic Games, there was disagreement between America and Britain. Britain wanted all Olympic squads to lower their national flags as they went past the king. The Irish-Americans refused to do this. Then an American runner was disqualified and the race was re-run and it was won by a British runner which led to more bad feeling between the two countries. So in 1912 any Irish athlete who was still a 'British subject' was not considered to compete for them. By the way, Paddy beat Matt McGrath in that summer before the Olympics by over a metre.

There were no Olympics in 1916 as it was in the middle of the first world war. Paddy was not based in Britain and was by now, in fact, in the American Expeditionary Forces in France fighting the war at Boulogne in eastern France where he stayed until 1918.

Paddy was not a political animal. He never talked about the politics in sport. He in fact went to England in 1942 and worked there for a a short time and always said the boss he worked for in England was the best boss he worked for.

Peter Weatherhead (son-in-law)

Ferguson article way over the top

I write to take issue with Declan Lynch's article [May 22] regarding Alex Ferguson. To describe Alex Ferguson as a 'disgraceful man' is in my mind disgraceful journalism. He goes on to compare him to Dr Ian Paisley, surely this is over the top.

No doubt Alex Ferguson is prone to complaining about referees at times and sometimes such complaints are justified.

He tries to make little of Ferguson's record. I don't have to defend his record, it stands unequalled in any country. He says to win two Champions League is a failure. Only two English clubs have won this competition. There are many top clubs in Europe would gladly accept just one win in this competition.

Finally, his rant against Alex Ferguson is sickening. I suspect he is not a Man U supporter. However, he should rise above this and as a professional journalist should never describe a man such as Alex Ferguson as disgraceful.

Martin Fitzpatrick

Alex gets under Anfield skins

Your soccer experts Dion Fanning and Declan Lynch appear disparaging and indeed caustic in their comments about Alex Ferguson.

Even they should realise that professional soccer is a results-orientated business. Maybe they are ignoring the cavalcade of managers which the knight of the realm has seen off the hallowed Anfield premises.

Sir Alex similar to Ian Paisley? Who cares? Better than Bob Paisley? Definitely.

Declan O'Dea

Religion and sport not a healthy mix

I read the article on sectarianism in Scottish football with interest [May 15]. However, whatever points Dion Fanning was trying to make regarding sectarianism in Scottish football were completely lost and negated when he provided the readership with his own personal philosophy on and, it would appear, hatred, of the Catholic Church.

I, as a sports reader, could not care less if Mr Fanning is Catholic, Protestant, dissenter or likes running around fairy forts naked painted blue under a full moon. I read the sports pages for, well, sports. In this republic the rights of all to express spirituality via all religions or none must be defended. I do object however to having to read the author's personal views on the Catholic Church, presented as historical fact, in an article in the sports pages of the Sunday Independent.

Is the irony on dragging his own religious beliefs/prejudices into an article on sectarianism in Scottish football lost on the man?

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