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County boards face up to the music

NIALL Horan, your county needs you! Westmeath County Board are hoping to earn €25,000-€30,000 from a two-day music gig at Cusack Park on September 13-14.

No line-up has been confirmed yet but the scream-o-meter is already in the red in Mullingar at speculation that One Direction could be the marquee act. Given that Horan (pictured right) and his boy-band have just announced a gig at Croke Park, that looks like a long shot but hey, wasn't their first album called 'Take Me Home'?

If Horan isn't available surely his mate, the ubiquitous Bressie, will step into the breach? The hulking ex-rugby player once played U-21 football for Westmeath.

County chairman Sean Sheridan will certainly not be standing for any messing or fancy back-stage demands. "We won't be doing anything, only leaving the venue at the disposal (of the concert organisers)," he told county board delegates. "There will be a committee organising it and they will have to leave Cusack Park the way they got it, just like they do at Croke Park."

Cash-strapped Kildare might look at going down the music route themselves after a worrying lack of support for their annual fundraising draw. They recently invited all the club chairmen in the county to a promotional meeting for it and were disgusted that only a handful turned up, with 'apologies' received from just three more. That prompted some strong words from former county star and Club Kildare chairman Pat Mangan.

He recently told club delegates: "We (Kildare County Board) have been bailed out twice over the last few years and I have been here when experts explained the county board's financial situation to everybody. We were told that we had to do something about it and I think it's time to face the reality."

ARMAGH THE LEADING LIGHTS

WE'VE often had a moan about counties naming bogus teams but we have to applaud Armagh, who announced their side live on Armagh TV this week.

Assistant manager Brendan Hughes came on the live stream on Monday night to name the side that will face Cavan in what is surely the first broadcast of its kind. They also named the seven players who were unavailable through injury.

The broadcast also included interviews with star players Ciaran McKeever, Jamie Clarke and Aaron Kernan. Well done Armagh – and here's hoping it's the team that actually starts against Cavan on Sunday.

STAKER WALLACE clash TAILORED TO SUIT

The Staker Wallace club host a challenge match between Kilkenny and Limerick on Sunday but this will be a game with a difference, thanks to a €25,000 JP McManus cash injection.

McManus lives in the parish and has been generous in his support of the club, having financed the development of two GAA pitches, a third community pitch, plus a community centre for the club. For Sunday's game, the Kilkenny and Limerick squads will be kitted out head to foot – suits, shirts, ties and shoes – for the occasion by McManus.

Not only that, the Kilkenny and Limerick squads who contested the 1973 All-Ireland hurling final have been invited, and they too will get the 'JP treatment'.

Elsewhere on the challenge game circuit, Tipperary and Waterford clash at Davin Park, Carrick-on-Suir tonight as part of the Maurice Davin commemoration events. The senior game will be preceded by an U-21 challenge between the counties at 6.0. Admission is €10, with students and senior citizens priced at €5.

Challenge games this weekend

Today – Davin Park, Carrick-on-Suir: Tipperary v Waterford, 7.30; Tipperary U-21 v Waterford U-21, 6.0

Sunday – Staker Wallace GAA grounds, Limerick: Limerick v Kilkenny, 7.0

Have an upcoming challenge match you'd like to see featured here? Let us know at isport@independent.ie

Irish Independent