Trap faces nervy wait to keep his troops fit
IT'S the elephant in the room for Irish soccer: the fact that no one likes to mention. And, with just over four months to go, Giovanni Trapattoni might think of wrapping some of his favourite players in cotton wool to see them safely to the Euro finals.
On each occasion that the Republic of Ireland qualified for a major finals, injuries have denied key players. In 1988, Jim Beglin, Dave Langan, Mark Lawrenson and David O'Leary all missed out; in 1990, it was the turn of Ronnie Whelan; in 1994, it was Niall Quinn and Kevin Moran, while in 2002 Stephen Carr didn't make it.
In '88, Jack Charlton redesigned his back four, with Paul McGrath and Ronnie Whelan filling in at full-back, while the finals offered Chris Morris the chance to break through.
In '90, McGrath again came to the rescue, filling in for Whelan in midfield, while Tommy Coyne and Phil Babb benefited from the absence of Quinn and Moran in '94.
In '02, Steven Reid was the beneficiary of Carr's absence, even though he was used mainly as a substitute, with Gary Kelly and Steve Finnan filling the right-back slot that Carr had manned in qualifying.
All of which shows that opportunities are likely to arise for some young tyro this summer, but sadly they will be at the expense of a colleague's misfortune.
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WE are indebted to the website 'Lists Of Note' for the following. As the Battle of Britain began to take hold in 1940, a bomb fell on an outbuilding belonging to Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, England. As a result, the club -- rather than close the course -- issued an incredible list of temporary rules that took into account the potentially life-threatening conditions on the course.
The list read as follows . . .
'Players are asked to collect Bomb and Shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
'In competitions, during gunfire, or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
'The positions of known delayed-action bombs are marked by red flags placed at reasonably, but not guaranteed safe distance therefrom.
'Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the Fairways, or in Bunkers within a club's length of a ball may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
'A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
'A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole without penalty.
'A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty, one stroke.'
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Goody Petronelli, who died two weeks ago aged 88, left his mark on boxing. The man once described as "the best trainer in the world" by Marvin Hagler ran a gym for 42 years with his brother Pat, out of which some great boxing talent emerged, including Ireland's own Kevin McBride.
Among the stories told in the wake of his death, one told by trainer Roger 'Pit' Perron, a protégé of Petronelli's, caught our eye. He was in the corner with the great man for a fight between his man Johnny Bizzarro and Roger Mayweather. Bizzarro had been pounded for six rounds and Petronelli wanted to throw in the towel but his fighter insisted he was holding his own.
"I'll let it go," said Petronelli, "but in this next round I'm going to keep an eye on the referee, because somebody in there is messing up your face pretty good."
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At a time when clubs are struggling to raise money, one company has devised a presentation entitled 'Why sporting organisations need to to be considering the internet to raise funds' which is touring the country.
Presented by myclubfinances.com, the talk outlines easier ways to raise funds and reduce costs and to eliminate a lot of administration work. It can be heard this week in Breaffy House Hotel in Castlebar tomorrow night and the CityWest Hotel in Dublin next Friday and Saturday night. Go to the website for more details.
Seán Ryan, John Greene
and Fergus McDonnell
Sunday Indo Sport