Sunday 25 June 2017

Judges call a miss with snub of Higgins

Given that the annual longlist for the Irish Sports Book of the Year award is, to all intents and purposes, a compendium of every Irish sports-themed book published over the past 12 months, it represents something of a puzzle that Who Was Hurricane Higgins? by former ITV snooker presenter Tony Francis should not have made the 30-strong list.

Maybe it didn't qualify for some reason, or maybe somebody's powers of judgement are seriously amiss. Or perhaps the book, a thoroughly admirable effort to get to the heart of a complex and troubled mind, simply fell into a black hole and completely escaped the attention of those who run the prize.

You wonder, as he pots balls and blows smoke-rings in the great big Jampot in the sky, what Higgins would make of it all? Early on, Francis tells the story of the Belfast bus-driver who, upon spotting the snooker star wallowing in a gutter outside a well-known Belfast watering hole, excitedly exclaims: "Yourself and George Best are our two greatest sporting legends."

"Yeah," Higgins mumbles. "Me first, George Best second."

How galling then that his own biography should miss out while Teddy Jamieson's Whose Side Are You On? Sport, the Troubles and Me, part-based on the life of Best, should be included. Our guess is there would be hell to pay.

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Australia, unable to coax their stars to play international rules against Ireland, were well and truly thumped over the two games, and Geelong's James Kelly knows exactly what the problem is.

Asked if Australia could convince the big AFL names to represent their country, Kelly revealed: "It would probably make it a bit easier if it's in Ireland -- the boys get a bit of a trip over there and get to go to Copper Face Jacks," he said.

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Advertising is great. As we discovered here during the boom years, you can sell almost anything if you hype it enough. There were even recorded cases of people buying apartments that weren't built with money that they hadn't got in countries they'd never visited and in some cases had never even heard of.

The household sector (washing powder, air freshener and bathroom cleaning products) is a particular favourite of ours. The invention of the toilet duck, for example, was a stroke of genius as it promised to clean a part of your house (under the rim of your loo) that you didn't know was dirty in the first place and were unwilling to confirm if it was clean afterwards. Sticking your head halfway down the toilet is no way to gain customer satisfaction.

So we were quite amused last week to read the claim that landed in our inbox for a new football boot that ran thus: "The unique asymmetrical stud geometry (patent pending) harnesses the natural mid foot motion, ensuring the earliest possible force generation and accelerating your rapid response rate."

Brilliant that. If anybody knows what it means, please let us know.

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NOW that the 'will he, will he' Dublin football management cliffhanger has been resolved with the shock revelation that Pat Gilroy is staying on for another two years, just two counties, Roscommon and Fermanagh, have yet to appoint a football manager.

And one name, Mick O'Dwyer, stands out among those who may be available to take up either position. So we wait to see if Micko will be tempted to take charge of his fifth county or will he spend next summer watching from the stands?

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YOU always have to be wary of things that go bump in the night, as London football captain Paul Geraghty discovered. Geraghty has been suspended for 96 weeks following an incident in the closing stages of the London Division 1 final in conditions described as "very dark."

Geraghty's Neasden Gaels were defeated by Kerry Kingdom Gaels thanks to a late goal, after which Geraghty and two others were sent off. "We didn't try to talk to the referee afterwards," said Neasden chairman Kevin Moore. ". . . it was so dark it would have been hard to find him." Neasden are appealing Geraghty's ban and hopefully the hearing will be able to shed some light on what happened.

John O'Brien , Fergus McDonnell

ssport@independent.ie

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