Language barrier too crude for kids
My six-year-old son has been asking for months if he can go to a Chelsea game like all his mates and to be honest I kept saying no because I could not afford it and besides he can always watch Match of the Day.
However, I did bring him to the cup final yesterday and now he's hooked. Yesterday he supported St Pat's but he wants to support Rovers as he sees the stadium from the Square when we go shopping.
My problem is I had to move in the stadium twice due to the bad language coming from Pat's supporters. Is it standard practice for an adult to shout out at the top of his voice that the the ref is a c**t and a w****r and a b****x? They didn't seem to care that a lot of kids were around and could hear everything. I moved after my son asked me, 'What's a w****r dad?"
Maybe I am being naive in thinking that football grounds are suitable for six-year-olds or maybe that type of language is standard and if that's the case I won't be going back. Maybe that's the type of crowd that goes to all League of Ireland matches.
My son now wants to go to the Greece match but I actually don't think it's suitable for him and the FAI will have lost two customers
Football pilgrims fans of League too
In From the Stands [Nov 4] comments are made about the amount of money spent by Irish people travelling to Britain for Premier League games. The article then goes on to suggest that such people might be more patriotic in supporting home soccer.
Did it ever occur to the writers of this article that many of the pilloried travellers might also be League of Ireland fans? I personally go over to see Manchester City two or three times per year and perhaps Bayern Munich once per year because I have supported both clubs since I was child.
This has not prevented me from going to see Shelbourne since the 1960s and indeed countless Irish soccer and rugby internationals and, best of all, the Dubs. I therefore resent the implication that I am not a contributor.
Crying foul over refs' blind spots
Your excerpt from Lar Corbett's book highlights an issue which is ignored studiously by Croke Park and GAA authorities generally. That is the fouling, a lot of which equates to assault, carried on mainly by backs on their immediate opponents when play is at the other end of the pitch.
Ridicule of Lar Corbett and the Tipp management started on the day by some of the hurling 'know all' commentators and picked up by many hurling followers, including Tipp supporters, was the big discussion point after the Tipp-Kilkenny game. The ire directed at Lar's tactics on the day would be much better directed at a system which allows physical assault on forwards who only want to play the ball. Umpires have a full view of what goes on and generally choose to ignore it.
Referees too seem to have blind spots for certain fouls. Like when you wrap both your arms around your man tightly as the ball arrives. Inside the square these fouls would be penalties, which could be game-changers.
Davy Fitzgerald can be controversial but he is right when he states that the recognised strong teams always get the advantage. This is also obvious in the football arena. Putting it down to the internal politics of the GAA is not good enough. Croke Park needs to open its eyes.
Gillespie deserves his Longford kudos
It's a long way from the heady days of Man United and Newcastle United and the man who had 13 clubs, if one counts the game or two he played for Shamrock Rovers, did his bit for Longford and deserves his selection on the First Division Team of the Season. He is in good company with Limerick FC's nominees. Good year for League all round with titles going to teams from the provinces, both hotbeds of soccer.
Odds against GAA winning this battle
Relative to Colm O'Rourke's article on gambling within the GAA [Nov 4], perhaps the following extract from the Kilkenny People report of the 1907 All-Ireland final between Cork and Kilkenny would indicate that the problem is almost as well established as the Association itself.
"Confidence in the issue was equally shared, opinions having been backed in substantial cash transactions. In this connection it might be mentioned that betting has been strongly discountenanced by the Association, but there it ends. Such are the fortunes of war, or rather betting."
The adage of swimming against the tide springs to mind.