| 6.9°C Dublin

Whining will do Brogan no favours

Sometimes, it's best to quit while you're ahead, even if it's only by a point.

Just as the chattering classes were about to close down on whether Dublin's late free against Kildare last Sunday should have been awarded, Bernard Brogan pipes up to declare that he was definitely entitled to a free. Fair enough -- he would say that, wouldn't he? But he also went on to add that he felt he was "due a free" after not getting one earlier on. Since when did retrospective justice apply in Gaelic football?

Also: "The defender got too close to me" (what's a respectable distance, Bernard?). And more: "As Footballer of the Year, I'm getting more attention off defenders."

Due a free, opponents getting too close to him, defenders giving him more attention. Perhaps he should call Colm Cooper and ask how he has been dealing with such challenges for nine years. Kildare's Johnny Doyle might have some ideas on the subject too, especially on the issue of "attention", with last Sunday's game a prime example.

Stats reveal extent of handpass disease

THERE'S a T-shirt doing the rounds, warning that 'handpassing makes you go blind'.

A bit extreme, perhaps, but it is the disease which threatens to take the 'foot' out of football. And if you don't believe us, examine the statistical analysis from the 2010 Ulster SFC. It showed that handpasses made up 63pc of the total passes in the province's eight games, compared to 37pc kicked deliveries.

And here's why hand is preferred to foot: it had a 94pc success rate, compared to 73pc for the boot. Only one in every 17 handpasses resulted in lost possession, while one in every four kicks went to an opponent.

Of all turnovers caused by unsuccessful passing, 73pc came from kick-passes, with only 27pc due to unsuccessful handpasses. The figures explain the obsession with handpassing but do not answer the question: why are players unable to kick the ball accurately to each other? A lack of practice perhaps?

Model planning boots Carlow into touch

Nothing is left to chance in the detail-obsessed world of championship preparation. Sometimes the basics are overlooked (ever notice the complicated pre-match routines, yet they often don't include shots at goal?) but then we're old-fashioned.

Wexford were so concerned about the state of the new Croke Park pitch last Sunday that various boots were tested out just before the game, after which mentors were photographed carrying a large box of discarded footwear to the sideline.

Manager Jason Ryan explained: "We didn't know what the surface was like with the new pitch at Croke Park.

"It was very wet when we played there last year and, Dublin apart, few teams have played in Croke Park on consistent basis this year. It's up to the players to make the call regarding what boots or studs they will wear."

Wexford obviously made the right choice of boot as they easily out-scored Carlow.

Irish Independent