Wednesday 16 August 2017

O'Gara's intentions are tied up in nots

WHEN will the media ever learn? There's Ronan O'Gara getting all emotional after Ireland's victory over Australia, sharing his thoughts on the match and his future and what do the nasty journalists do? Misinterpret him.

"I'm done with Ireland in a few weeks. I've had a great time in this jersey but I want this to be the biggest time." Now any normal person can see there is no suggestion in that quote that O'Gara was considering retirement. When he said "I'm done with Ireland in a few weeks" what he actually meant was "I'm not done with Ireland in a few weeks."

It's obvious, and thankfully team manager Paul McNaughton was able to show us the error of our ways when he declared the matter closed. "As far as we're concerned, he's confirmed that retirement wasn't on the agenda. We're happy with that."

O'Gara's clarification of his statement included the line: "In my own head I'll reassess at the end of the World Cup". Which any fool can see means that retirement isn't on the agenda. So that's cleared that up. Hasn't it?

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AFTER four years of hard work, the Irish Olympic movement is tantalisingly close to confirming that the Olympic torch will come south of the border next June.

And a visit to Croke Park is on the agenda where the torch will be abseiled off the roof.

"I had read that Croke Park were starting roof-top tours next year," said OCI President Pat Hickey, "and suggested it as a possibility and they (the London 2012 organisers) were particularly taken with the idea, especially because of the Queen's visit."

Croke Park is planning to start roof-top tours on St Patrick's Day next year, when the activities will include abseiling off the roof and zip-lining from it to Hill 16.

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UNDER a deal hammered out by the Leinster Council, it looks as if All-Ireland football champions Dublin will, after all, have a representative in the provincial club championship.

The Dublin County Board suspended their championship while the seniors were still active, but this is hardly a situation that can be allowed to continue. Surely there should be some obligation on counties to run their championships during the summer, if only for the sake of all the club players who are not involved in the inter-county set-up?

Dublin may even discover that there is a benefit to be had in keeping players sharp between matches and allowing fringe players a chance to develop during the campaign.

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As the many thousands who flocked to Killeen Castle in the last few days entered the gates of the sprawling estate and gazed up at the castle, we're pretty sure their curiosity in its history will have been pricked.

And so it was timely that we heard of the launch of The Killeen Castle Story by John Donohoe, which recounts the history of this 12th century Norman landmark.

The book recounts how golf course designer Jack Nicklaus had to build a hole around a fairy tree, and features interior photographs of the castle taken by Fr Francis Browne in 1950, and the story of the filming of the original Casino Royale in 1966 with David Niven. Famous figures associated with the castle are recalled, such as St Oliver Plunkett and Lord Fingall, owner of 1959 Gold Cup winner Roddy Owen.

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DAVE BARRY had many famous battles with Bray Wanderers including one famous three-game FAI Cup semi-final session in 1990. In the course of those games, he shipped the odd tackle or two from Bray defender Tony 'Bo' McKeever.

Now a panellist on RTE's MNS programme, last Monday Barry failed to see the connection between 'Bo' and the winner of the Goal of the Month forecast competition, one Tony McKeever from Co Wicklow.

Yes, it was one and the same. Tony was more noted for stopping than scoring goals, but he did manage five in his 350 games for the Seasiders, including one famous goal against Bohs, which saved Bray from relegation. As a right-back, he readily appreciated Shamrock Rovers' Pat Sullivan's cracker against Partizan and won the HD television on offer.

Fergus McDonnell, Seán Ryan, and John Greene

ssport@independent.ie

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