Have your say
Throw-ins a blight on game of hurling
I would like to compliment Seamus Denton for his excellent letter to Have Your Say on December 30 regarding the 'throw ball' in hurling.
The proposal made by Seamus for the referee to quickly throw the sliotar high in the air to restart the play, would, firstly, be safe for the players to perform; secondly, it would add a new skilful dimension of winning the sliotar cleanly with equal opportunity to both sides.
Seamus made another proposal, that is, the winners of the coin toss would have the option of the puck-out to start the game or restart the game after half-time. This would eliminate throw-ins. Both proposals would clearly eliminate the savagery created by the rules of hurling and implemented by the referee with throw-ins. The dastardly throw-in leads to (1) what seems to be equal fouling by two or more players and (2) the sliotar becoming unplayable for many reasons.
The outcome is the following scene – the referee, frantic to stop the play, sharply blows the whistle 10-15 times (as if there is an an imminent air raid). The referee then demands custody of the sliotar. Now, there are 10-12 players still jostling and handing out threats with their 'gander' uncontrollable. The referee should isolate two of the least angry players for the throw-in but that's impossible (by rule.)
The referee is now pushing hurley-swinging mad dogs in the chest and shoulder area with his free hand, he hisses the mad dogs into action by pretending to release the sliotar and then makes a hasty retreat out of danger. The aftermath of the scene is normally four injured players and perhaps four shattered hurls on the ground.
Hurling, the greatest field game on planet Earth, deserves better than this type of behaviour. Wake up Croke Park and take heed of Seamus Denton's logic.
at its very Best
The incident occurred midway through the second half of that pulsating rugby international game between Ireland and Wales in Cardiff last Saturday. After a scintillating first half and early into the second period, Ireland were leading 30-3 and seemed set for victory.
Then came the great Welsh fightback, and by the time Irish hooker Rory Best went to the ground under a pile of bodies short of the Irish line and in front of the posts, the tide had swung in Wales's favour and the men in green were battling. The referee's whistle sounded and he pointed to a penalty to Wales.
Worse still, he reached into his pocket and took out the dreaded yellow card, indicating 10 minutes in the sin bin for Rory – but not before I at home and the thousands of Irish fans in the Millennium Stadium marvelled at the official's eyesight at being able to discern which player had committed the foul under that pile of bodies.
As an avid soccer fan all my life who has over the years watched the beautiful game being destroyed, debased and on many occasions disrupted on the field by cheating and snarling, arm-waving players and officials, I was at first stunned and then moved to admiration by what happened next.
Rory Best took off his scrumcap but instead of storming over to the referee and waving it in his face, a la your average overpaid soccer player, he showed the height of sportsmanship by staring straight ahead and marching to the sideline without a murmur. He had probably committed the foul and was now taking his punishment like a man.
Not only that – but there wasn't one word of dissent or show of protest from any of Best's team-mates. I confess I was so proud of being Irish just then that I jumped up out of my comfortable armchair and applauded. My wife entered and no doubt wondered why I was clapping the tv. I didn't try to enlighten her – moments like that cannot be explained.
Can't wait for Ireland versus England today at the Aviva . . . as the late Con Houlihan would no doubt say – Magic.
Sick and tired of smug United fans
I've had enough of Man Utd and their aggressive, arrogant and smug fans. Abuse of and disrespect towards other football clubs and their fans runs through this club and their fans with their grossly inflated smug egos. If United lose 3-0, even if they're played off the pitch, United fans say they were robbed of the game and they should have had five penalties and sure Wayne Rooney (who by the way is ashamed to admit he has Irish ancestry) would have hammered all five penalties into the net!
I don't know how many times I've heard that crap over the years. And Rooney portrays himself as the typical English hard man. Most of the dodgy characters follow United. I wonder why? I'm not saying all United fans are shady characters but they get most of the shady people following them.
Pól Ó Cionsalígh