Thursday 19 September 2019

Ross gaffes: Could Shane get his names right? That's a Long shot

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Shane Ross blundered on the names of key Irish soccer figures as he said he does not hear criticism of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) from fans.

The Sports Minister - whose interventions in relation to key sporting moments have in the past been gaffe-prone - referred to Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny as Shane Kenny.

Mr Kenny has been unveiled as senior manager in waiting and will take over from newly appointed manager Mick McCarthy in 2020 in an unusual move by the FAI.

Discussing the state of the game in Ireland on Newstalk Radio with host Jonathan Healy, Mr Ross also misspoke and wrongly attributed the winning goal in the Euro qualifiers in 2016 against Germany to goalkeeper Shay Given before correcting himself - Shane Long scored on that famous night.

Football will take centre stage this weekend as eyes across the continent will turn to Dublin for the Euro 2020 draw, which will take place in the Convention Centre tomorrow.

The Euro 2020 championship will see four matches take place in Dublin. Substantial planning is underway to develop fanzones and provide free transport for fans during the events.

Mr Ross described the securing of the games here as a "fantastic achievement".

The four games due to take place in Dublin in June 2020 are expected to attract up to 160,000 overseas visitors to the capital.

If Ireland qualifies, two of our games are expected to be held on home soil in the Aviva Stadium.

The Government expects that the economic impact of the event could be between €20m-€50m.

Rallying

Mr Ross's department is also in discussions to launch a joint bid to host the Fifa World Cup in 2030 along with England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A spate of poor results has put a question mark over whether Ireland can qualify for Euro 2020.

However, the minister issued a rallying cry for football fans, urging people to focus on the potential for the future of the Ireland team.

"Let's not give up. We're entering a new era. Mick McCarthy's just been appointed, I think that the future is bright. I think that we've every chance of qualifying for the Euros," he said.

The Independent Alliance minister said he attends a "huge number" of games locally and wants to encourage participation at lower levels as that's where the future talent will come from.

He said he sees criticism in the media of the FAI but that does not reflect his experience with fans when he attends games in his constituency of Dublin Rathdown.

"My own experience on the ground - a weekly, weekend experience - is that the fans are very enthusiastic about what the FAI is doing," he said.

"They think the FAI is doing a very good job."

Football is not the only major event that Ireland has set it sights on, however.

This week the minister also briefed Cabinet on plans to host the Ryder Cup in 2026.

He said both he and the Taoiseach have met with chiefs from the prestigious golf tournament about the plans to host the event.

Irish Independent

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