Sharing is caring on European journey
WITH League of Ireland clubs enjoying better than usual days in Europe this season, From the Stands suggested to two managers, Michael O'Neill (Shamrock Rovers) and Paul Cook (Sligo Rovers), that it might benefit the clubs and the league, if the managers came together to exchange notes on their experiences. We asked them if they would be agreeable, and if they thought it would happen.
O'Neill said it "would certainly help. There are lots of things to deal with, logistically, that side of things, and tactically it would be interesting to see how other teams prepare. I'd have no problem sharing with other managers if they thought like that.
"But will it happen? That's unlikely considering we hardly talk to one another as it is!"
Cook, speaking before the Hoops' breakthrough last Thursday, responded by saying that "we have to concentrate on getting stability in the league. It keeps producing talent, the crowds are really good, and the clubs have started putting in the infrastructure for continued development."
Cook's remarks were, of course, coloured by Sligo's experience against Poltava, to whom they lost 2-0 on aggregate. After the home game, he said: "Thank God, we don't have to play them every week, but that's what we're trying to be."
* * * * *
HOW quickly they forget. We're pretty sure that the Ireland cricket team were of the opinion that their magnificent victory over England at the Cricket World Cup in Bangalore last March would live long in the memory, but apparently not.
Less than six months after Kevin O'Brien hit the fastest century in World Cup history as Ireland completed the biggest run chase in the competition, the PR department of one of the country's leading bookmakers were quoting Ireland as 'outsiders to repeat their Caribbean heroics against England', with a couple of keystrokes transporting the Indian city to Kingston, Jamaica, scene of Ireland's Caribbean heroics against Pakistan.
The press release also noted that 'England are coming into this (last Thursday's ODI against Ireland) off the back of whitewashing India and are now the No 1 Test side in the world,' failing to take into account the fact that this is a completely different form of the game and England were fielding a considerably weakened one-day team.
On that basis we decided that the 5/2 being offered against Ireland represented a good bet, so we raided the From The Stands piggy bank, waded and, of course, lost. Proving that while the bookies are not always right, they're usually right when it matters. Damn them.
* * * * *
Roscommon may have lost to Tipperary in last Sunday's All-Ireland minor semi-final but in the Smith brothers, Donie and Enda, who gave fine performances in the forward line, they appear to have a couple of potential stars for the future.
The Smiths come from the Boyle club which has produced some excellent players for Roscommon over the years. Unquestionably the most famous of those is John Joe Nerney, an outstanding corner-forward on the Rossies side which won the 1943 and 1944 All-Ireland finals.
These days John Joe is the club president and on Monday, September 12 he'll be seeing off a team of walkers as the club set off on their 'Road To Croker' which will reach Dublin on the weekend of the All-Ireland football final. Club members are making this epic journey to pay for improvements to their grounds at Abbey Park. They'll have buckets with them so keep an eye out. They deserve your support.
* * * * *
IF there are any Gunners' fans still sore about the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, they may be interested to know that during his seven years at Arsenal he won two trophies -- the Community Shield in 2004 and the FA Cup in 2005.
In two weeks at Barcelona he has already matched that, picking up medals for the Supercopa de Espana and the UEFA Super Cup.
Seán Ryan, Eamonn Sweeney and Fergus McDonnell
Sunday Indo Sport