Thursday 22 February 2018

Cork should start counting their chickens

BAD news Down fans: Rocky the Chicken has 'pecked' the Rebels to win on Sunday!

Kildare's GAA equivalent of soccer's Paul the Octopus, has become famous this summer by showing a similarly uncanny knack for picking out the winners of championship matches.

Three bowls of feed are placed in front of him (one for a draw) and after Rocky correctly plumped for the Down bowl against his native Lilywhites, he was lucky to escape a grilling.

So impressively has Rocky ruled the roost in the prediction stakes all summer, that his owner, Elaine and Paul McDonald from Newbridge, got him back out to predict the destination of 'Sam' on Sunday and his beak came down firmly on the Rebels side.

"He did not even look at the Down bowl," Elaine revealed. "He went straight for Cork and did not even look around."

In chicken language that means the Mournes could be plucked!

Canon Hughes a great loss to game

Colleges football and hurling have always been a fertile breeding ground for outstanding county players.

None more so than St Jarlath's College, Tuam, a footballing nursery with a marvellous tradition.

Dozens of All-Ireland winners, mainly from Galway but from other counties too, went through the hallowed halls over the years, so it's ironic that one of the college's legendary figures should die in the week before the big final.

Canon Oliver Hughes (66), who'll be buried in Corofin today, coached St Jarlath's to four Hogan Cup successes in 1978, 1982, 1984 and 2002, having won an All-Ireland with the college as a player in 1961.

A native of Killererin, home parish of Galway star Padraic Joyce who captained St Jarlath's to All-Ireland glory in 1994, Canon Hughes was attached to the college from 1972 to 2003, much of which he spent as president.

He took over as parish priest in Corofin in 2003.

His last Hogan Cup success was in 2002 with a team captained by Michael Meehan and which also included Galway colleagues Gary Sice, Alan Burke, Darren Mullahy, Niall Coleman and Kildare's James Kavanagh.

Down refs chip in to training fund

If anything proves how far-reaching an All-Ireland final can unite a county in a very special way, it's the gesture by Down referees to donate their expenses to the team's training fund.

They have been roundly and soundly congratulated for their generosity, but we wonder if it will do anything to improve relationships when the All-Ireland adventure is over and it's back to club action.

If a referee is getting some verbals, will a county player dash in and reprimand the mouthy one: "Hey, shut up, that guy gave up his exes for the training fund." And if a county player is giving trouble, will the referee rebuke him: "And to think I gave up money for you, you ungrateful prat." We await developments on the club fields of Mourneland.

Irish Independent

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