HAVE YOUR SAY
Gatland avoids the big answer
The Late Late Show appearance of Warren Gatland only serves to show the vacuity of press and media questioning on any topic. It's amazing what people can get away with using a bit of charm on the press and media who only seem interested in filling paper space or air time. Truth is not necessarily the priority.
Gatland's most controversial decision during the Australian tour was the dropping of Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll for the deciding third Test, not only from the starting 15 but the substitutes as well. O'Driscoll had played in the first two Tests and by general agreement had done well. So most observers, expecting O'Driscoll to play in the final Test, were, to say the least, surprised. Gatland was apparently vindicated in his decision by the victory of the Lions.
Gatland has never explained exactly why O'Driscoll got the chop. Such soft soap as "Brian was disappointed" and "it was the toughest thing I've had to do in my coaching career" are all he's come up with when asked. If this is an adequate explanation we are all living in a parallel universe.
It's now a couple of months since the last Australian Test and in all that time no media person has put Gatland under real pressure to properly answer the question – why did you drop Brian O'Driscoll from the squad for the final Test against Australia? Isn't it about time somebody did?
Village people loud and proud
Two excellent articles in your Sports section today [Oct 20]. Really poignant from The Fielder and Eamonn Sweeney's article truly reflects being part of a village. You can leave your village but your village will never leave you. Keep it up. Compliments to both journalists.
Compromise gone too far
When will the GAA learn? Without a shadow of a doubt we have the greatest amateur organisation in the world and they insist on flogging the proverbial 'dead horse' of the compromise rules series. For what good?
We run the risk of putting some of our brightest young stars, Michael Murphy to name just one, at loggerheads with his club and county for a compromise game that has no future in Ireland or Australia. The Australians have belittled this farcical series for the last number of years. They have seen the light, it's time for the GAA to follow suit.
One well-known pundit on one of our prominent radio stations suggested that maybe a good "dust-up or a shemozzle" at the start might grab the attention of the nation. Does he mean that we revert to the thuggery that went on in the first few series? This is the type of behaviour that the GAA are making a decent effort to stamp out, we cannot advocate that type of conduct. I think he has taken his eye off the ball here.
Then we sent a team of players to Notre Dame to display to Americans how hurling should be played (but no points could be scored). Are we for real? Clare and Cork served up two marvellous encounters and this is what we need to show people, not some compromise game that has less appeal than the football series.
If the GAA wants to market its products, why not pick an emigrants' team in Australia and America and have a proper display of football or hurling. There is not a parish in this country that has not been affected by emigration and wouldn't it be marvellous for them to take part in a series?
RTE panel has become jaded
The panel on RTE's international football shows have served us very well. They have entertained, been controversial and have given good analysis of our teams for over 20 years. I think they are now a little jaded and their performance has become less balanced than it should be.
Taking an Irish team to Germany to compete with one of the best teams in the world is always going to be an onerous task. Very few teams in Europe could hope to escape from that cauldron with points in the bag.
Taking an Irish team to Cologne without the availability of our three best players meant that the Irish manager was faced with the most difficult assignment any international coach could imagine. Noel King was on a hiding to nothing for his first game in charge. His team walked away from that stadium with a very creditable 3-0 defeat, having given the Germans a few uneasy moments.
After the match, the panel chose to attack the temporary manager, rather than comment on the difficulty of the task he had inherited. On Tuesday, the barrage continued, even though the team performed as well if not better than they had done in the entire campaign. Maybe it is time for RTE to ask these lads to hang up their microphones and allow some new blood to enter the arena.