Local heroes deserve better
It is probably safe to say that many of the 'we' guys who support cross-channel soccer teams were not aware the FAI Cup final was being played on Sunday last.
While thousands of so-called followers of the game, who were conspicuous by their absence from the Aviva Stadium, deserve loud boos, Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United are worthy of applause for serving up an epic encounter. What a pity that so many of those who pay homage to the national team and go overboard in cheering for foreign sides cannot show a little more enthusiasm for the local leagues.
The players who served up such end-to-end football, which was entertainment of the highest order, deserve a bigger audience.
Roy answers Ireland's call
The selection of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane as managers of the Irish team is an inspired choice. We've come full circle, and those who were for years willing to charge our Roy with treason have got their answer. The best always come to the fore eventually, and if this keeps up, we might in time suggest Keano for a Dáil seat.
How wonderful that would be – to see Roy sitting alongside Finian McGrath TD, who once upon a time filled every newspaper in the land with letters all but calling for plagues and things to befall the great footballer. How'd you like them apples, Finian?
O'Neill ready to tame beast
Sometimes people say hurtful things to another person that they care about a lot. Sometimes lives are lost because of things that are said that aren't meant or are misunderstood. Sometimes if someone feels so strongly about something they might go out and break somebody's leg on purpose.
Maybe that same person will stand up to a bigger man than him in the tunnel before heading into action. Maybe he won't take any s**t from some p***k sipping on a Lucozade bottle. Maybe he will destroy that same man in the 90 minutes that followed. Maybe. Maybe this man cared so much about this little country that he insisted they could win the World Cup and shouted down anyone who thought otherwise; knowing that his team-mates were not anywhere near the standards that he was accustomed to from being employed at the biggest club in the world.
A man who never settled for second best. A man who is an idol. A man that, if a child opened a pack of Premiership stickers and saw his face on them, would fill that same child with enough sheer joy that he'd run a lap around the car park (guilty). A man who can't be boss yet and needs to be tamed. No better man than Martin O'Neill to tame this beast. Enter Martin O'Neill. Dream team. The future starts here.
U-turn sets bad example
What a national shame! A football player's ego is larger than his loyalty to his team and nation and what does the FAI do in response to such appalling behaviour? They reward him with the high honour of being part of coaching the national team. How can the citizens of this nation explain this disgrace to our youth? Do we tell them it is permissible in sports and in society to put your own ego before the good of the nation and that unethical behaviour will be rewarded? A sad day for football and the teaching of values.
Vincent J Lavery
Tax change has to be reversed
I was disturbed to read of the inclusion, in the Government's recently-published Finance Bill, of a proposal which will hugely damage our ability to keep our best rugby players in Ireland ('Tax change lands IRFU in fight to retain players', Brendan Fanning, Oct 27). If enacted (as Mr Fanning explains): "Players will be able to take up lucrative contracts abroad and still claim 40pc on their tax paid in Ireland – their best 10 years from the 15 years pre-retirement – without having to come back, so long as they are in an EEA or EFTA country when they make the claim". The existing arrangement in Ireland, brought in by Charlie McCreevy, militates against an exodus of our best players because professional sports people, across any code, can reclaim 40pc of the tax paid on earnings from the best 10 years of their careers so long as they are tax resident in Ireland when making the claim.
The proposed tax change would be good news for agents, who get a cut when players make transfers abroad, but it would be bad news for Irish rugby. The Government must stand up for Irish sport by taking this proposal out of the Finance Bill. It is not its job to support French and English sporting interests.
J B Reid