Thursday 23 November 2017

Billy proved he's the best coach in this country

COLD TURKEY will be the diet of many as we attempt over the next few weeks to settle back to normality having witnessed the greatest sporting show on earth.

What has been clearly established over not just the last number of weeks but years is that Billy Walsh is the number one manager/coach in this country with a record of success unrivalled by any of his peers.

When we look at the rewards gained by coaches in other sports (such as Mr. Trappatoni), it is sickening to think that up to now this legend of Irish sport hasn't been given his just recognition.

Surely this situation will be rectified over the coming months and we can look forward to the continuing success of Irish boxing with the Wexford man in his familiar green corner. I must compliment Mick Dowling, who incidentally is a great Kilkenny man, for summing up the value of Billy Walsh to Irish sport on RTE television on Saturday evening last, and how vital it is that his services be secured going forward.

As for Usain Bolt's outrageous attack on my knowledge of hurling (according to Billy Dodd), I will simply say that I will deal with him in true Buffers Alley fashion when I catch him.

Good luck to the aforementioned Mr. Dodd and Liam Spratt in their ongoing campaign to have a height restriction of five feet four inches introduced to beach volleyball for the next Olympics.

If successful the excitement of the London games will pale into insignificance as Dodd, Spratt, Brazilian beaches and Speedos will surely be the stand-out spectacle in four years' time (but you need to start training lads).

The final round of our Senior hurling championship takes place this weekend with only three teams sure of qualification at this stage. For the other nine teams there is no margin for error and this should ensure some exciting games.

The Alley and Rathnure are really battling at this stage for survival and who would have predicted that these heavyweights would be in such a precarious position a couple of months ago. Glynn Barntown and the Shelmaliers will be an interesting tie also with their under-age rivalry going up a number of decibels over the last few weeks.

I just wonder at this stage are Adamstown capable of causing a few shocks with the Rapparees certainly not at full throttle and rocked by the loss of Mossy Mahon. If we were to see a shock here there could be a few red faces in the relegation pot come Monday morning.

Oulart looked unstoppable against the Anne's last week with a ten-minute salvo from Dessie Mythen closing out the game and, given this, Cloughbawn look destined to enter the drop zone dogfight. All will be revealed over a very interesting upcoming weekend.

I must put on record that the overall reaction to the recent defeat to Galway was a bit over the top. Yes, we took a heavy beating but in analysing the defeat we must acknowledge that the present crop of Galway Minors are of exceptional quality (rated by some within their own county as one of the best teams they have had) and contain a number of players that cruised through last year's championship.

They are hot favourites to win the title and barring a slip up against a dangerous Tipp. team probably will. So the bottom line for me is that they are not the best yardstick to judge our progress against as we have a lot to do before we can challenge at this level.

I would prefer to look at the fact that Dublin, whom we both beat and lost narrowly to this year, are now in a final and there are a lot of positives to be taken from this. Yes, we have a lot of work to do but constantly putting ourselves down won't cure our problems.

While I'm on the subject I will admit to being fed up of hearing about the dual player issue and how wonderful Tipperary are at handling the issue. Again, I will admit that we need to come up with solutions here going forward but I don't believe that as suggested in some quarters that our Minor hurling management put forward this issue as a reason for defeat.

I think if you listened to Martin Storey's interview after the Galway game, he stated that a number of problems needed to be sorted if progress was to be made and I think all fair-minded hurling people will acknowledge that football is not the cause of all hurling ailments in this county.

Finally, as for Tipp., I ask the question how much of a dual county are they? Yes, they won last year's All-Ireland Minor football title and are making ground in handling the dual player issue. I would venture to bet however, that much more resources are directed towards hurling each year than football.

It must be remembered that having luckily beaten Wexford in football this year that little over two thousand people turned up for their next game in Thurles. If you look at titles won it weighs very heavily in support of a county that has traditionally prioritised the small ball game. So for me the Premier overall is not the best example of how to run a dual county.

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