Sunday 22 April 2018

GAA confidential: Rogers' Aviva woe a reminder of Meath furore

Words for the wise from Liam and Sam

The Airtricity League team hammered by Manchester United in the first soccer match in the new Aviva Stadium on Wednesday featured one Gary Rogers in goal -- the St Pat's netminder who was 'player of the month' in March on the back of a string of clean sheets.

This is the same Gary Rogers who, inadvertently, was at the centre of a huge controversy in Meath GAA some years ago.

Rogers, then on the books of Drogheda United, was brought into a Meath junior squad during the 2003 campaign, despite the fact that he wasn't permitted by Drogheda to play with his GAA club. He did, however, have dispensation to play for his county.

The county board objected to his selection on the basis of the rule which stipulates that to play inter-county, you must be an active player with a club.

It turned nasty; suspensions for incidents that followed were handed out to members of the junior management, the matter went to court and even had repercussions when Eamonn Barry took over as manager in 2006.

Nice to see that Gary's soccer career has continued to thrive so progressively.

No to neighbour refs

Referees' boss Michael Curley is missing the point when he says it makes no difference if the man in the middle is from the same province as one of the competing counties.

He argued this week that all referees go out to do the best they can and that it's irrelevant where they're from.

In that case, would it be okay to have a referee officiating at a game involving his own county?

Nobody is alleging bias by referees but it seems logical not to appoint them in games involving counties close to them. Do the appointments committee even check where a referee is working? Or if he is related to anybody in a particular county?

We're led to believe that all the referees in the elite group are of the same standard. If that's the case, why not appoint them on the basis of distance from the competing counties? If nothing else, it looks fairer.

Political connections in Roscommon panel

Whatever about making their own little piece of history by winning the first Connacht football title of the new decade, the Roscommon squad certainly boasts some names with a deep connection to Irish political life.

Right full-back is Sean McDermott from Western Gaels who, as far as we know, has no connection with the 1916 Proclamation signatory of the same name. Then there's Enda Kenny from Castlerea, who's not to be confused with the Fine Gael leader!

Another sub, Kevin Higgins is no relation of the Kevin O'Higgins who served as Minister for Justice before being assassinated in 1927.

Backs and forwards on the sand dunes?

Every GAA club thinks it's giving the best service to its local community but now they have a chance to prove it. The 'Best Club Under the Sun' initiative, backed by hurling championship sponsors Etihad Airways, invites clubs to nominate themselves for the award, which will be decided by public vote.

Last year's winners were Lucan Sarsfields, who enjoyed a four-day training camp with Nicky English in Abu Dhabi as a prize. Details on www.etihadgaa.ie -- and you can follow the progress of the competition on TG4's Seo Spoirt.

Irish Independent

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