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Ivan the great shows he's a little ring rusty

ACCORDING to sports pundit Ivan Yates, the head coach of Irish boxing's High Performance team Billy Walsh, the man controversially not chosen by the IABA to replace director Gary Keegan, has been responsible for coaching "many boxers to titles in all grades at his St Michael's club in Athy".

Interesting. Because the president of the IABA, Dominic O'Rourke, the man whose surprise appointment to the job has resulted in a row between the IABA and the Irish Sports Council, coaches for St Michael's.

The Boxing Council have since voted in support of the IABA Board of Directors' decision.

While the standoff continues, people in boxing are asking, "Is Ivan Yates the man who sensationally quit politics when hotly tipped to take over as boss of the minority Fianna Fáil party?" Er...

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IT'S said that that Rory McIlroy's spectacular USPGA success in the Quail Hollow Championship was due in part to a timely phone call from Alex Ferguson.

Before Quail Hollow, McIlroy's form had dipped dramatically but the Manchester United manager rang and told him, "Like me, you will bounce back. There's always another day."

Fergie's morale booster seemed to do the trick. McIlroy stormed to a history victory.

So who rang McIlroy before the Players Championship at Sawgrass at the weekend? Someone from the Man United's "noisey neighbours" perhaps?

Seeing as how McIlroy failed to make the cut, my bet's on Stephen Ireland. The man who refuses to play for his country has struggled to hold down a place on City's first team and has said, "There's a question mark over me for next year."

Perhaps Stephen would have been better off phoning Alex Ferguson.

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IS there any truth in the rumour that a draper from the Kingdom of Kerry made a killing in Manchester when he offloaded a lorryload of old stock? Moth-eaten green and yellow scarves were scavenged from everywhere as the anti-Glazer movement gathered pace among Man United supporters during the year. Even David Beckham donned one at the end of AC Milan's loss to the Reds last March at Old Trafford in the Champions League.

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ON Sunday June 13 there'll be live TV coverage of the Leinster SFC quarter-final between Meath/Offaly v Laois at 2 o'clock and then at 4 o'clock there's Wexford v Dublin from Croke Park.

But at 3 o'clock there's the Group D World Cup tie between Serbia and Ghana.

Leinster Championship v World Cup? No contest.

Even before it was announced that Ghana's Limassol striker Junior Agogo will miss the tournament due to a knee injury, I was more likely to be monitoring returned Stradbally emigrant Colm Begley spearhead a Laois attempt to avoid the qualifiers before witnessing Stephen Cluxton orchestrating Dublin's march towards an All-Ireland final.

But if the International Rules Committee were to arrange for Serbia to take on the Royals then that would definitely be my match of the day.

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CHEERY Wexford developer Mick Wallace told a chat show host recently that he owes "about €40 million".

The tousled-headed pre-Raphaelite, whose company motto is "Work Hard. Play hard. Love football", must be pleased that his team is Wexford Youths and not Portsmouth FC, who've revealed that their debts, recorded as £70m in February, are now £135m.