Saturday 22 July 2017

Web of intrigue in lunchtime bulletin

The News at One is one of Radio 1's flagship shows. According to the JNLR survey for last year, it has 335,000 listeners but we here at From The Stands wonder if many of those find themselves throwing something at the radio during the sports news as often as we do.

Here's a gem from last Tuesday's 'sports news': "And of course it's a big night of Champions League action -- a full list of the fixtures are available on the RTE website."

What is that about? Why not just give us some information, like the fact that Manchester United and Manchester City were both playing? What was wrong with saying this: 'And of course it's a big night of Champions League action with both Manchester clubs facing vital games in their bid to reach the last 16'.

We do hope it had nothing to do with the fact that TV3 were broadcasting a live game that night, and not RTE.

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IT was interesting to note the comments last week of outgoing Kilmacud Crokes manager Paddy Carr after his side lost a Dublin Senior League relegation play-off and will play next year in the second tier in the capital. Interesting because Crokes are the reigning Leinster champions and won the All-Ireland just last year.

Carr believes the club's ability to develop players good enough for the county side has contributed to their fall from grace. "We fully support what Dublin are doing, but because of the way it is set up, we had to play most of our league games without our county players," he said.

'The way it is set up' means that members of Pat Gilroy's squad spend almost no time training or playing for their clubs while the county team are still in the championship.

This resulted in two rounds of the Dublin championship being played in May this year and then nothing until October. This situation, allied to the number of non-Dublin players playing in the capital, means that young footballers find it hard to get the sort of games they need to develop.

The Dublin County Board recently launched 'The Blue Wave' strategic plan, but it strikes us that there are a few issues close to home that they could resolve very cheaply and which could have a major impact on football and hurling in the county.

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FOOTBALL players are notoriously superstitious, so, in most clubs, the number 13 goes unused. In that respect, Portsmouth goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is an exception.

"Last season at Bristol City I was given 13 and I wasn't too happy with it," he explained, "but I had no choice. Then after a good pre-season, I kept it when I went to Yeovil and after having such a good time there I decided to stick with it when I joined Portsmouth."

After starting the season as reserve goalkeeper, Henderson claimed the first team jersey some weeks ago and says: "Maybe that shows it's just a number."

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For two weeks in a row the opening games of the Heineken Cup thrilled and entertained viewers, not just because of the standard of rugby on display but also because the sheer excitement that was on offer.

With precious bonus points at stake, more often than not the games just didn't die; instead they simmered all through and in some cases, most notably Munster's, they boiled over right at the end.

With this in mind, and the GAA's National League just around the corner, we think a bonus-point system for the National Leagues may liven up some of the next year's games.

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THERE'S a serious proclamation on the cover of John Doyle's official biography. 'The Greatest Hurling Story Ever Told' screams the strap on the front. But Doyle's story delivers on its promise.

John Doyle hurled 19 championship campaigns in the blue and gold of Tipperary, finished every match he started, and never missed one because of injury. In that time he won eight All-Ireland titles and 10 Munster Championships. His haul of 11 National League medals has never been equalled.

Doyle -- The Greatest Hurling Story Ever Told, written by John Harrington, is available now.

John Greene, Fergus McDonnell, Marie Crowe, Seán Ryan

and Damian Lawlor

ssport@independent.ie

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