Monday 18 December 2017

Athletics row makes GAA look angelic

the extent to which the inter-county game has been cleaned up was evidenced by just one red card -- John Miskella's (in the 70th minute) -- in four win-or-bust football games last weekend.

Presumably, it's helped by managers coaching their teams to avoid doing silly things, like picking up cards.

Kerry didn't get even one yellow card against Limerick. Tyrone received only one, Donegal two, Limerick and Roscommon three each, while Mayo collected four yellows, the same as Cork. Kildare picked up the most (five), all during extra-time against Donegal.

It seems you have to go to Diamond League athletics meetings these days to see the closest thing to an old-style GAA punch-up.

Type in 'Medhi Baala' with 'Monaco' and 'head-butt' on YouTube to see one of Europe's top middle-distance runners head-butting a French team-mate at the end of the 1500m at the Monaco GP. Watch two skinny track stars trade punches and you will surely agree that the GAA boys are now relatively angelic!

U-16s offer hope for Galway football

Galway senior football may have had its worst season since the early 1990s, but there are encouraging signs of growth at underage level.

The U-21s won the All-Ireland title, the minors play Dublin in the semi-final on August 28, while Galway north U-16s won the Connacht title (Ted Webb Cup) last Monday, beating Mayo North/West in the final.

The U-16s won a highly compe-titive series, sparking high hopes that the minor team of 2013 will be pretty formidable.

Still on underage matters, Cavan must be sick and tired of Galway, who beat them in the U-21 final and the minor semi-final. This, after Cavan won the Ulster U-21 title for the first time since 1996 and the provincial minor title for the first time since 1974.

BBC red-faced at premature exit

There's nothing if not co-operation in GAA press boxes. Well, on the small issues anyway. It's easy to miss the scorer of a point or even the odd yellow card, all of which can be tidied up at the end. So, too, can more important matters. At end of normal time in the Donegal-Kildare quarter-final last Saturday, we noticed BBC radio pundit and former Donegal star Brendan Devenney heading for the door with his coat under his arm, seemingly convinced the game was heading for a replay.

The mistake was pointed out to the BBC's red-faced commentator, who was under the same impression, by another helpful member of the press pack, while Devenney was caught just before he stepped into the lift.

It was an easy mistake to make as quarter-finals were replayed on some occasions in the past.

Irish Independent

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