Saturday 14 December 2019

Melia the top man in golden oldie club

WORD has reached us of a thread running on the website discussing GAA players of, shall we say, more mature years.

Last Sunday, for example, one of Donegal's 1992 All-Ireland heroes, Manus Boyle (44), was in the Killybegs squad beaten 1-15 to 0-8 by Naomh Conaill in the county final. Boyle was attempting to win his sixth Donegal senior medal.

And today, his old comrade Martin Shovlin will line out at midfield for Naomh Ultan in the Junior B final at the tender age of 50.

But our favourite comes from a user in Louth, 'sam57', who tells us 'Stephen Melia was 44 in 2006 (when St Josephs of Dromiskin won the Louth Senior Championship) and played with three clubs in his career. Incredible fella, played with Louth till he was 39 in 2001.

'Interestingly, the year he won his SFC medal with Joes, his home club John Mitchells had a 25-year reunion for winning a league title in 1981. He was on both teams, gives you an idea of the longevity of the guy. I've heard he played Junior B this year aged 49, fitness fanatic, a great bit of stuff.'

And so say all of us.

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TG4 scored a big ratings hit with their rugby "as gaeilge" last weekend.

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The Magners League clash between Leinster and Munster attracted peak audience of 313,000 -- an astonishing achievement on prime time Saturday night TV when it was pitched against The Premiership on RTE as well as the more esoteric delights of X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on the foreign channels.

The rugby captured 10.3 per cent of all those watching the box on Saturday night and had an average of 166,000 viewers over the 80 odd minutes.

Last year's National League Division 1 football final (Cork 1-17, Mayo 0-12) had a higher average of 220,000 viewers, while the hurling final (Galway beat Cork 2-22 to 1-17) averaged 173,000 viewers.

TG4's close association with Ladies Football has also proved well judged.

The ladies final, won by Dublin, also attracted a healthy TV audience with an average of 169,000 viewers -- significantly higher than the All-Ireland Club football final held on St Patrick's Day which had an average of 151,000.

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THE announcement that Malahide Cricket Club is to receive a grant of €450,000 to bring their ground up to international standard is to be welcomed on a number of fronts.

It is, of course, a worthwhile project as with a capacity of 12,000 we will at last have a ground capable of hosting visiting international teams.

It may also be a sign of things to come in that the government will be prepared to invest in sporting facilities once more, and to invest in projects that are not designed specifically to get anyone elected.

However, Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North, Darragh O'Brien, needs to brush up on his knowledge of the sport.

In a statement to announce that he had secured the cash, the deputy stated . . . "The impact of teams like Australia, England and Pakistan travelling here to play Ireland will be enormous for the tourism, transport and hospitality sectors."

Presumably, in the case of Pakistan at least, the betting industry will be happy to do without that sort of impact.

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WHEN Cork lifted the Sam Maguire on Sunday September 19, it brought to an end Vodafone's sponsorship of the All-Ireland football championship. But wait, what's this?

The GAA press release with details of the championship draws for 2011 included the logos of the sponsors -- Ulster Bank, SuperValu and . . . Vodafone.

That's what we call value for money. Super value even.

Jerome Reilly and

Fergus McDonnell

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