John Greene: GPA should set example and play by same rules as everyone else
The comedian Catherine Tate has a rich cast of characters. My favourite is Nan, the obnoxious grandmother who gives out about everybody.
The comedian Catherine Tate has a rich cast of characters. My favourite is Nan, the obnoxious grandmother who gives out about everybody.
In March of last year, Patrick O'Donovan went to New Zealand. Ostensibly, he was one of many government ministers on the move as Ireland spread its wings around the world for the annual St...
Ireland has won 31 Olympic medals. There was a time, not so long ago, when these victories by supremely talented men and women were almost entirely as a result of their own endeavours.
A few years ago, on a family holiday in France, we came upon a Renaissance chateau near Cognac which in the 1990s had been converted into an activity park for children.
The story has been told many times before but it will never grow old. It's the one about the teacher in Scotland who thought her pupils didn't look...
The scale of the challenge facing football in Ireland on both sides of the border has been laid out in stark terms in the latest UEFA report on club finances across the continent.
It's hard to put an exact price on the difference between being also-rans or champions in inter-county football or hurling. But you can be pretty sure it's a lot more than €8,500.
What is it about castles that so attracts us? Or, more to the point, what is it about Scottish castles that we find so enticing?
The new GAA inter-county season is eight days old - or so the narrative would have us believe. The truth is that for many inter-county players, it began last November.
There was good news about Ireland a few weeks back, and sure don't we love a bit of good news about ourselves: Our 10-year-olds are the most literate in Europe.
In March 2011, Lyn Savage from the Ladies Gaelic Football Association visited Slane to talk to schoolgirls aged between 10 and 12 about taking up football. A small number of girls had dabbled in...
For someone not used to counting her chickens until well after they have hatched, Lisa O'Neill wasn't sure how she was supposed to feel coming up the hill at Cheltenham last March in her first ever...
Another time. Another place. A stellar field of international superstar athletes gathered in the Mardyke in July 1982 to chase a world record. It was a big deal, but it was not uncommon.
Colm Cooper has a new book coming out soon, in time for the Christmas market, and it will undoubtedly sell very well. Gooch: The Autobiography is written by Vincent Hogan,...
You will never forget the first time you head north out of Rathmullan. Lough Swilly is on your right; Knockalla mountain on your left. As you wind along, gently twisting and climbing, there comes that moment, after you round one particular bend, when the beach appears below, and you can...
And so it came to pass. The folly of the GAA's new fixtures masterplan has been laid bare by the hardly-surprising news that the majority of county boards have opted to turn their backs on it.
Today is officially Tom Ryan's first day as the GAA's new Ard Stiúrthoir. Presumably he will take his seat in the front row of the Ard Comhairle for the Allianz League Division 1 and 2 finals and survey the scene before him, perhaps differently than he might previously have done as the Association's director of finance.
It's time to press pause on the sports capital programme. Not because the grants are a bad idea, but because now seems like the right time to take stock of what exactly has been achieved.
It is an impressive achievement - as well as a mark of its commitment to Physical Education as a subject - that Coláiste Muire, Cobh won the PE Xpo for two years running.
A doctor friend tells a story about a woman who came to her surgery with her eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.
After some years in the doldrums, these are good days for the Irish sports book. The class of 2017 is the most compelling in some time, with the penchant for lightweight autobiographies giving way to a more eclectic mix.
At a time when the financial power of the GAA in Dublin is intimidating the rest, Thursday's massive windfall for the county, courtesy of the sports capital programme, won't help the perception abroad that there is special treatment being meted out.
A week after controversially awarding France the Rugby World Cup in 2023, the latest World Rugby decision could also have a profound effect on the game in Ireland in the next few years.
October 31 last was the tenth anniversary of the death of Ray Gravell, the former Welsh rugby player and broadcaster, and a commemorative lunch was held that day in the main function room at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.
When the dust settles on Ireland's bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 there will be plenty of time for sober reflection. There doesn't appear to be huge grounds for optimism that this week's vote by World Rugby's 39 council members will go Ireland's way.
Thirty cyclists will embark on a novel 270km trip from the Wild Atlantic Way to the capital's coastline in aid of cancer support for the midlands next weekend.
The All-Ireland camogie and ladies' football finals are of greater national interest than Irish rugby internationals, according to a decision announced last week.
Almost two-thirds of club players have considered walking away from the GAA because of a lack of a definitive fixtures schedule at grassroots level, according to a new survey.
EIGHT years ago, Pat Hickey sat before an Oireachtas committee and let rip. And in those days — as in, all the days before Rio 2016 — when Pat Hickey let rip he took no prisoners. He didn’t hold back; he never held back.
You have to be mad, right? Why else would you want to swim 1.2 miles, cycle 56 miles and run 13.1 miles - and do it all against the clock? Yesterday, over 2,000 people did just that, when they took on Dublin's half Ironman.
Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey may be compelled to appear before an Oireachtas Committee to face questions about ticketing.
It was in ways the perfect marriage. An Irish wedding; a gathering of the tribes. A pristine band in a pristine venue. A celebration of Modern Ireland, with all the rough edges dutifully hidden away; a night of nostalgia to momentarily reflect on where it all went wrong before dusting down a 30-year-old album and proudly proclaiming in one voice, 'We're back, Baby'. This was a different sort of...
Silly season in the GAA swung into overdrive last week. If the new junior minister for sport had us scratching our heads in bewilderment, the Dublin County Board chairman had us positively rolling in the aisles.
'If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up space."
There was a small step taken in the right direction for gender equality in the GAA last week, although it slipped by largely unnoticed. The GAA, the Camogie Association and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association issued a set of guidelines to assist clubs who field male and female teams to become more integrated.
The Kerry County Board has defended its role in keeping Brendan O'Sullivan's ban for a failed drugs test secret. The player was tested after the league final in April 2016 and tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.
The Irish rugby players' representative body, IRUPA, believes that imposing severe bans for anti-doping rule violations is essential to combating the problem and says players have to take responsibility for their own use of supplements.
Two sides of the same face, just a few days apart. Two sides of the same face of the GAA; twin halves of the same sphere. And a reminder of its true strength.
Kerry footballer Brendan O'Sullivan has failed a routine drugs test, the Sunday Independent has learned.
Everybody has a favourite second team they quietly support. Growing up, mine were Tottenham in soccer and Kerry in Gaelic football. Yes, a strange mix, but there's no accounting for what appeals to a young boy.
If there is one thing we are not good at in this country, it is piecing clues together as they present themselves to us. All the scandals of recent years, the economic crash, all the misery . . . there were clues littered everywhere to all of it, and yet we didn’t see. There were people telling us about clerical abuse, about the guards, about the HSE, about the housing bubble . . . and we...
David Conway will leave his position in Sport Ireland next month. The name won't ring a bell with many, but he has played a very important role in Irish sport over the last 13 years, as a key figure in turning the National Sports Campus in west Dublin from idea into reality.
When the Irish women's football team faced the media in Liberty Hall last Tuesday morning, it felt like another of those line-in-the-sand moments in Irish sport. It was soon being talked about in some quarters in the same breath as Saipan, and stories of players having to change out of their tracksuits in public toilets at Dublin Airport and hand them back led to widespread condemnation. It became international news.
In late August 2010, Lar Corbett sat into a car with photographer Gerry Mooney and headed up the Dublin road out of Thurles to some local landmarks. He spent an hour striking various poses, chatting amiably while Mooney did his thing, showing all the patience you might expect of an arch-poacher.
Here's a statistic that should shock you: nine out of every 10 Irish teenagers lack the basic movement skills needed for sport and exercise. We are not talking here about advanced skills like soloing a football or dribbling or balancing a sliotar. We are talking about skills such as running, hopping, weaving, kicking a ball, or catching it. We are talking about skills which most children should have mastered by the age of six.
There are 20 fewer GAA clubs in Leinster, outside of Dublin, than there were 40 years ago, despite a massive population increase in the province over the same period.
The race to be the next president of the GAA was thought to be a highly competitive one. In the end it was anything but as Dubliner John Horan obliterated the field at Congress on Friday night, securing just over half of the 278 votes. Fancied by many to succeed, there was still considerable surprise at the facile manner of Horan's victory. The school principal was elected on the first count, certainly an unusual outcome in a five-man contest.
The likelihood is that the proposals to revamp the All-Ireland football championship will be passed at Congress next weekend. Paraic Duffy has been touring the country presenting the proposals to county boards, putting in the hard yards, and the sense is that unlike in previous years, there is a willingness to try the new system.
There was no blood spilt on the fine carpets of the luxurious Conrad Hotel last Thursday night. In the end, the Olympic Council of Ireland's egm was a bloodless coup. A new president, two new vice-presidents, a new general secretary and a new executive committee in a night of change for Irish sport.
The three candidates to succeed Pat Hickey as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland were each interviewed in turn by Joanne Cantwell on RTE Radio 1 last Saturday. It made for interesting listening.
It is time for everyone to take a step back and survey the GAA's fixtures landscape properly, and that includes the newly-formed Club Players' Association. It is time to dispel the myths that have taken a firm hold of the debate around improving the lot of club players.
“When we speak of heritage today, we are talking about our interaction with the world around us, both real and abstract, our identity and our need to tell our own story in our own way.” Michael D Higgins, June 2015
As hard as it might be to fathom right now, we are technically at the start of the four-year Olympic cycle leading to Tokyo in 2020. And getting off to the best possible start right from the beginning of the cycle is . . . oh, who are we kidding?
Some years ago, a man was left with an extra ticket on All-Ireland football final day after the person he had promised it to didn't show up to collect it. Standing outside Croke Park, and as one of those GAA men who likes to go to the minor match too, he was anxious to get inside.
A high-profile college football game will go ahead as scheduled at the Aviva Stadium despite a bitter dispute between the organisers and an Irish-based sporting organisation.
The high-profile college football game between Boston College and Georgia Tech will go ahead as scheduled at the Aviva Stadium on September 3 despite a bitter dispute between the organisers and an Irish-based sporting organisation.
"I firmly believe that by 2016 Ireland can become the best small country in the world in which to do business, the best country to raise a family and the best country in which to grow old with dignity and respect." - Enda Kenny, February 2011
The proposed restructuring of the football championship brought to mind the old joke about the tourist who gets hopelessly lost in rural Ireland and asks a local for directions to Dublin. "Well, I wouldn't start from here," comes the reply.
Billy Walsh could be in line for a sensational return to Irish sport less than 12 months after his controversial departure to take over the US women's boxing programme.
First impressions can be dangerous. And when you first encounter Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern it is easy to fall for their double act of charm and good humour. Unless of course that first encounter is on the water, in the white heat of competition.
The reappointment last week of Brian Kavanagh as chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland for another five years has raised a few eyebrows.
Doubts still exist over the eligibility of show jumper Greg Broderick's horse for the Rio Olympics, despite assurances from Horse Sport Ireland that all paperwork for MHS Going Global is in order.
As impressive as it was, and as bold as the statement was, there was nothing brash about Cricket Ireland's publication last week of its plan to take the sport 'mainstream', to try to rival the popularity of Gaelic games, football and rugby in this country.
A group of us huddled around a small television in a golf course clubhouse in Co Wicklow. It was an evening in late May, 2002, and there was a nervous anticipation in the air as we waited for a major event in Irish sport to begin.
There's a scene in the film, Gladiator, in which the crowd in the Colosseum is baying for blood, urging Russell Crowe's character to "kill, kill, kill, kill" the stricken warrior on the ground. Having been treated to a blood fest, anticipation of the kill reaches fever pitch.
Michael Gannon has lived and farmed on the outskirts of Longford town all his life. Now in his 80s, he is sometimes sad, sometimes angry, at what Longford has become. Today he is angry. He has lived through times of enormous change, yet he is not sentimental about the past. He believes in progress; he believes in each generation leaving things better for the one to follow.
Like a large oil tanker, when the GAA sets its course in a particular direction, it takes a long time to turn around. And in the case of the inter-county scene, a fair head of steam has been built up so changing course will take time. But it will happen. It must happen.
He stood before the judge. He had been told to prepare himself for the prospect of prison. The judge was speaking: "It is a tragedy to see a successful young man from any profession standing in the dock of a crown court having pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft and, more seriously, indecently assaulting a member of the crew."
On those rare occasions when hurling produces a shock result there is a tendency to welcome it as a glimpse of what is possible. Viewed through this prism, Kerry's win over Laois last weekend is an endorsement of not just the county's work over the last few years, but of a wider mission to develop hurling and strengthen its footing.
The Irish sporting community will watch events next weekend with interest, waiting to see who will form the next government and what that will mean for sport. There has been more money available for sport in the last few years as the country's economy recovers, but that is not the be all and end all - the personalities involved and the direction taken are important too.
Newgrange - the jewel in the crown of Ireland's ancient past and a UNESCO World Heritage site - is in danger of becoming a dead zone, with the people who grew up around it being forced out of the area, according to local TD Helen McEntee.
It would be nice to think that some of those who make up the executive committees of the Dublin and Armagh County Boards hung their heads a little last week after the criticism levelled at them by the GAA's most senior official.
Last summer, a leading researcher in the UK issued a stark warning: "Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight," said Dr Alison Fildes.
If those who spend their lives running after our politicians are to be believed - and we have no reason not to believe them as they have been told so by those very same politicians - then we will have a general election by the end of next month. The first momentous event in a year of momentous events.
Let's start with a confession: I have known Frank Greally for many years, or, rather, I thought I knew him. Turns out, however, I never really knew Frank Greally at all. Until now, that is.
John Greene takes his young family on holiday to France... a journey that starts with a luxury ferry from Cork.
Leaving Dublin, Mike Farnan wasn't sure what lay ahead. But he knew what he was leaving behind - an uncertain future and a lot of unanswered questions.
A fortnight ago when NFL champions the New England Patriots were sweeping all opposition aside, there was considerable talk about the possibility of their emulating the only two teams in history to go unbeaten through a regular season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 2007 Patriots. Cue two defeats on the trot by the Denver Broncos and the Philadelphia Eagles.
This time last year, the Irish Examiner produced a list of the best 40 Irish sports books of all time. Paul Kimmage's seminal work on life as a professional cyclist, A Rough Ride, topped the list. It was written 25 years ago.
This thing is growing legs. This whole change is possible thing that is. On the face of it, we are six people attempting to do six very different things; it's not as if there's much of a link between learning to swim and learning to smile.
In the week that Notre Dame and Navy played an American football game at the Aviva Stadium, the Irish government brought together a group of influential business people for a round-table event. It was a small gathering, but three million employees were represented by the people sitting around that table.
The phone buzzes a few times in my pocket on Friday night in the City of Light. I ignore it. My six-year-old daughter and I are watching young Jedi knights take on Darth Vader, and next on the agenda is a plan to help Buzz Lightyear fight the evil Emperor Zurg.
'The relationship between the state and sport in a new millennium remains an amalgam of achievement and failure, and good intentions and rampant hypocrisy.' - Paul Rouse, Sport & Ireland: A History
On the drive to Drogheda, I ran it through my head again. Are you sure? Yes. Are you ready? Yes. Do you know what to expect? No. Are you nervous? No.
Richard Johnson's only visit to Ireland was in 1977. One day, with his Irish-American girlfriend Mary Hamilton, he was hitching a lift outside Galway, hoping to make it to Cork. Thinking about that now it seems a tall order, but eventually they were picked up by a man who was heading some, but not all, of their way. He was a doctor who trained in Massachusetts, and so he was immediately drawn to his two passengers' accents.
Crossing the harbour on a water taxi from Logan Airport as the late afternoon sun silhouetted the city skyline, it was hard not to be immediately taken by what was stretched out before me.
The next round in the bitter dispute over the departure of highly rated boxing coach Billy Walsh to the United States will be played out on Wednesday.
The GAA's ambitious plans to completely revamp Páirc Uí Chaoimh are in disarray, the Sunday Independent has learned. The famous old ground is in the early stages of a massive €70m redevelopment but an unexpected intervention from officials in Europe has alarmed the GAA and put the proposed new stadium under threat.
We have been down this road before - and it never ends well, at least not for Irish sport. Billy Walsh has left the services of Irish boxing and after a week of near hysterical reaction to his departure, we are not altogether sure why it has come to this.
There was an irony in the fact that, on the day the latest round of sports capital grants were announced, the umbrella group for Irish sporting organisations published its wishlist ahead of the Budget.
The opening lines of an old rock song were dancing around in my head last week. They weren't entirely appropriate, but they stayed with me nonetheless:
One of the great fears in the wider GAA community is the idea of elitism becoming firmly established as a principle. Yes, it's there - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and all that - but it is not welcome.
Boston College and Georgia Tech will play for a stunning new trophy when they meet next September in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic at the Aviva Stadium.
"I'm sure this goes against everything you've been taught, but right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is - maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is - doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong." - Dr Gregory House (from an episode of House)
Keeping young people involved in sport as they grow older is one of the great challenges facing all sporting organisations - perhaps the greatest. It's a global issue, with over half of children who play sport at some point in their young lives having drifted away by their early 20s.
Nobody ever really thought it was a good idea to move sport into the Department of Transport. Nobody, that is, who knows anything about sport. Sadly, when it comes to those who make most of the decisions in this country, those people are few and far between.
'The county board's handling of concerns in a transparent, considered fashion has often been anathema to what should be perceived as best practice. Indeed, their treatment of Cork Sciath na Scol early this summer left much to be desired. That's a story for another day though.' - - John Allen, The Irish Times, July 31
At a time when the League of Ireland is starved of fresh ideas and blood, it was disconcerting to hear Niall Quinn reveal that it was the national league clubs who objected to his involvement with the Irish Sports Council.
When thinking about sport in Ireland, we could perhaps reflect on these words from last week: “It is time to recognise the importance of sport and be clear how we are going to make it an integral part of our everyday lives.
When two ministers and a minister of state show up at a gig, you know it's no ordinary gig. Throw in a Tánaiste and you know it must be something special.
A committee in the Dáil is currently looking into Ireland's horse industry, inviting various stakeholders and interested parties to try and build a full picture of how it is performing at the moment, what challenges it faces, and what opportunities exist. It appears to be a worthwhile exercise.
It's hard to know which is more alarming - that an act of extreme violence before the ball was even thrown in in a challenge game led to the hospitalisation of a player with gruesome injuries; or that it doesn't seem to matter.
Newstalk presenter Colm Parkinson interviewed Dublin manager Jim Gavin (pictured) last week and asked a series of questions about the incident which put Davey Byrne in hospital. The interview lasted just over five minutes and the following is a transcription of it:
Basketball Ireland have been through tough times following the discovery six years ago that a significant sum of grant money allocated to it had not been spent for the purposes intended.
The plight of Galway's under 14 girls' football team, who qualified for the All-Ireland final but were thrown out of the competition because there had been an issue with one player's registration, was featured in the Sunday Independent last week.
Wexford hurling was dealt another crushing blow last night with a second heavy defeat in a fortnight.
Reigning Ulster champions Donegal remain on course to win their fourth provincial title in five years.
On Monday, June 8 I received an email from an official of the Meath ladies county board. A number of girls on the county's under 14 panel were not registered and they were due to face Cork that Saturday in the All-Ireland semi-final. One of the girls was from my own club. And I was in charge of registration. Panic set in.
Sport succeeds on the back of volunteers. In Ireland, over half a million people are involved in voluntary activity of some kind, and after social and charitable work, sport has the next highest number of volunteers, an estimated 180,000.
It took seven weeks, but then two came along at once as Antrim and Sligo caused the first shocks of this year's football championship.
Ten days ago, as the controversy over FIFA's €5m payment to the FAI raged, Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis was not a happy man.
When sport is being dragged through the mud - as it has been in recent weeks - some events slip by almost unnoticed. The true purpose of endeavour becomes sidelined as all the grubbiness is put front and centre.
As he crossed the finish line on Strand Street in Skerries at the end of a gruelling eight days, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He wasn't really conscious of it at the time, but when he looks back now he can see it had been building all week. His journey to this street in this town in north county Dublin was a lot more than the 1,180 kilometres of the Rás. And so the tears came, in floods he recalls, but they were tears of joy.
Some weeks back, I was in the audience for a brilliant presentation by Kingsley Aikins, former chief executive of the Worldwide Ireland Funds, to sporting organisations. It was a provocative and inspiring talk on the power of networking and raising money to fund your sport.
Legendary Meath footballer Gerry McEntee has hit back at comments made by former Tyrone manager Art McRory in The Sunday Independent last week.