| 15.7°C Dublin

Donegal bashing is just balderdash

I'VE never heard so much balderdash spouted as I have about Donegal's alleged crimes against Gaelic football, writes Eamon Carr.

The modern media environment has shown itself to be the equivalent of the old small town Fair Day. There's always going to be some chap happy to stir it. But when you hear grown men talk about legislating against Donegal's defensive style of play then you want to reach for your blackthorn stick.

I expect there were similar complaints when Mayo's Sean Lavin developed the hand-to-toe technique that became the solo run back in the 1920s. "Oh you can't do that," they whinged. "It's against the spirit of the game."

In the 1960s, a stylish Down team caused a rumpus when they introduced the possession game to the championship. Was it unfair to try to keep the ball away from your opponents? Did dimwitted former players insist on rule changes to outlaw this tactic?

Football evolves. It changes. But ultimately talent will out. Cream rises. Many of those who bleated on Sunday were simply embarrassed that a vastly more experienced Dublin side was floundering like sick cod on Howth harbour during the first half. To others, it was a case of Dublin players picking the wrong options, then getting rattled and giving the ball away easily.

But as we've said here before, Pat Gilroy has built a side to withstand many of the stratagems of the modern game. On Sunday, his team eventually showed he's been right. Now the country will have its dream final. Let's hear no complaints.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Still sucking on the bitter pill of an 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford on Sunday, Arsenal's loyal travelling supporters have been shown the love by the club's administrators. The 3,000 fans who endured the ignominy of Man United's eight-goal romp, are being offered a free ticket to an away game of their choice this season. It's a gallant gesture. But the news hardly soothed their distress especially when Cesc Fabregas scored on Monday in his home debut for Barcelona in their 5-0 La Liga win over Villarreal.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

It may seem a bit early to talk about the Ryder Cup, but tomorrow marks the beginning of the qualification process for Jose Maria Olazabal's team that will head for Chicago next year.

Six of last year's winning team, including Rory McIlroy, will be on the Crans-sur-Sierre course in Switzerland tomorrow for the Omega European Masters. With a new generation showing impressive form, it's going to be interesting to see who can lay down an early marker.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

It's good to see that, despite the financial windfall, club secretary Noel Byrne is keeping a weather on expenditure at Shamrock Rovers. The club has learned the value of a euro the hard way. And while Noel may joke about players throwing away Hoops jerseys to excited fans, it's exactly that sort of detailed thinking that will ensure the club can build.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Tupelo will provide the half-time entertainment at Sunday's All-Ireland senior hurling final. These are the guys who released the single Cá Bhfuil ár Scoil? (Where Is Our School?) to protest lack of funding for Gaelscoil Bharra in Cabra.

Expect the lads to give it socks.