Saturday 24 March 2018

From the Stands: Grealish pondering tale of two fishes

Jack Grealish has yet to decide whether he will play for the Ireland or England national team
Jack Grealish has yet to decide whether he will play for the Ireland or England national team

Seán Ryan, Damian Lawlor and Dermot Crowe

There's nothing new under the sun, the Bible tells us, so it's no wonder that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Take the case of Jack Grealish, for instance. The Solihull-born Aston Villa forward is pondering whether to declare for England or the Republic of Ireland.

Jump back 40 years and there was another Solihull-born forward facing the same decision. John Deehan's father was from Roscommon, but John chose to play for England, played seven times as an under 21, scoring six goals, but never won a full cap.

As John was a young striker hitting a rich vein of form, he would have been ideal as a partner for Frank Stapleton, and would, more than likely, have had a long career as an international with Ireland.

Deehan's case is one that young Grealish might consider while he is weighing up his options in the months ahead. With England, he is always likely to be a small fish in a big pond. With Ireland, he could be the next Liam Brady.

New to the market of Gaelic games literature is The Cross of Cashel - All-Ireland Hurling U21 Finals 1964 to 2014, published by Jim Fogarty. Coming from the author who previously published The Dan Breen Cup, this latest tome is a magnificent reference book which evokes many rich memories of a great competition.

The book is a 200-page history of the under 21 series from 1964 to 2014 and tells many great anecdotes along the way. For every year of action there's an All-Ireland final history, a summary of the main provincial results and a photograph of the winning team.

The Cross of Cashel is a fine read and will bring hurling fans right up to speed on a competition that continues to thrive. Anyone who wants to contact Jim directly for a copy, can email him at

Henry Shefflin will be centre of attention when he officially opens Kilbeacanty's newly-redeveloped GAA pitch in Galway to coincide with the club's annual seven-a-side tournament on Monday, June 1.

Shefflin will have the added duty of lining out in the tournament with Ballyhale Shamrocks, the All-Ireland champions, who are competing with leading teams from around Galway and Clare.

Situated in Connemara, Carna Cashel is one of the most rural gaa clubs in Ireland. Over 30 years ago, Kieran Keaney and his brother Sylvester were founding members of Cashel GAA club. Kieran emigrated to San Francisco and Sylvester moved to Dublin and became involved in Ballyboden St Enda's - his son is current Dublin hurler Conal Keaney.

Carna Cashel were the first club to sign up to which is part of and both Kieran and Sylvester never forgot their roots. Steeped in the GAA, they still supported their home club from afar, buying their club lotto tickets on-line. Well, Kieran's loyalty was rewarded last week when his numbers came up and he scooped the club's jackpot - the princely sum of €20,000 is now winging its way to San Fran.

While many boxing fans may have felt short-changed by the 'clash' of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, the two fighters are laughing all the way to the bank.

It seems remarkable to us that Mayweather pocketed over $6m per minute for his 12-round victory over Pacquiao, which thrust the American boxer to the top of the 2015 sports earnings list.

Mayweather took home $342m (so far), Pacquiao was next on $204.9m, Lionel Messi has earned $76.91m, while Cristiano Ronaldo completes the top four on $68.57m.

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