Saturday 25 February 2017

Have your say

No excuse for lapse in communication

I note where Pat Doherty, the GAA national match officials manager, stated recently that he had notified both the Clare and Galway officials BEFORE the end of normal time of the game that there would be extra-time in the event of the game ending in a draw.

He also went on to state that there is a provision in the rule book that states extra-time can be played in both hurling and football minor semi-finals if the games end in a draw at the end of 60 minutes.

Maybe there is but surely it could have been printed in the match programme to advise the supporters that extra-time would take place in the event of a draw.

I attended a number of Munster championship matches this year where minor games were the curtain-raiser and it was printed on the cover page of the programme that extra-time would be played.

Mr Doherty admits that the whole effort could have been promoted better or to quote him: Maybe it should have, maybe it shouldn't. But what really shocked me is his comment that he did not believe that he was obliged to notify both counties beforehand.

So can we take it that this also includes Michael Lyster and RTE who were forecasting that a replay would take place in all probability in Thurles the following Saturday. Or, most important of all, the attendance in Croke Park last Sunday who like the TV viewers around the country had not a clue what was happening.

Surely at the very least it was not too much to ask Mr Doherty to get the public address announcer to advise the people with, say, five minutes to go that extra-time might have to be played. That way RTE would have known what was happening.

An apology would not have been amiss, something Croke Park were very insistent from obtaining from the Wexford lad Anthony Masterson for just speaking the truth.

Raymond O'Leary

Aintree changes

don't go far enough

The recent changes announced by Aintree Racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority to the Grand National amount, in Animal Aid's view, to nothing more than ineffectual tinkering.

The four key changes to the course -- which amount to the lowering of the drop on two of the jumps, reducing the height of one obstacle and increasing the height of the orange-coloured take-off board -- fall depressingly short of any genuine attempt to address the carnage of the Grand National race.

Despite much heralded improvements over the years, Animal Aid's new analysis of the history of the race reveals that, in recent years, the risk of a horse dying in the race has increased rather than diminished.

In the last decade, nine horses have been killed in the Grand National, with two of those deaths occurring during this year's race in April.

The Grand National remains an unreformable, anachronistic and immoral spectacle that should never be run again.

Readers who would like a copy of Animal Aid's analysis of the Grand National can obtain one, free of charge, by contacting the office on 0044 1732 364546 or emailing info@animalaid.org.uk and asking for a copy of our Ban the Grand National information pack.

Fiona Pereira

IRFU must change

its anthem policy

With the Rugby World Cup approaching, it is worth examining whether or not the IRFU's experiment of replacing our national anthem with Ireland's Call for away matches has been a success. In my view, it has not.

Last week's half-hearted rendition of this song in Bordeaux was completely overshadowed by the full-blooded rendition of La Marseillaise by the French supporters -- a great anthem that unites the players and supporters for the battle ahead.

An anthem is more than a song, just as a flag is more than a piece of fabric or a collection of colours. We do not need to shy away from Amhrán na bhFiann. We should embrace it as something great -- a unifying anthem of a new republic, an essential element of the mix of team, the green jersey, the flag, the supporters and the game that has brought us together for generations, whatever our tradition.

As all of our World Cup matches are technically 'away' matches, the current plan is to only sing Ireland's Call at each match. I strongly urge the IRFU to reconsider this policy and I urge all Irish supporters to sing Amhrán na bhFiann at all of our matches, whatever the band are playing.

David Murphy

Time for GAA to

adopt technology

The letters by Justin Kelly and Seamus Lynch [Aug 7] are a very persuasive part of the case in favour of the GAA adopting goal-line technology and video refereeing to cut out sickening and scandalous mistakes. Rugby and tennis have benefited hugely from these modern concepts.

Jerry Daly

Sunday Indo Sport

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