Sport LeftField

Monday 23 April 2018

From the stands

Anthony Stokes, Republic of Ireland
Anthony Stokes, Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland's Don Givens celebrates scoring against Switzerland

Dermot Gilleece and Sean Ryan

Hugh's achievements are warmly recalled

A World Cup blazer was among the memorabilia presented in River Valley church last Wednesday at the funeral mass for Hugh Jackson. It represented the seriously competitive side to the long-time professional at Donabate GC, who did much to shape the skills of recent Walker Cup representative Gavin Moynihan.

Described by Peter Alliss as "a straight hitter and a very good putter", Jackson achieved European Tour success in 1968 as joint-winner with Richard Emery of the Piccadilly Medal Fourball. But 1970 was the stand-out year for this warm-hearted Newtownards native.

That was when his eighth-place finish was only five strokes behind the victorious Jack Nicklaus in The Open at St Andrews. He also won the Irish Professional title that year; partnered Jimmy Martin in the World Cup in Buenos Aires and was eighth in the European Order of Merit.

Jackson's legacy includes an enduring lesson to all club golfers, from the occasion a delay in traffic caused him to go directly to the first tee of a pro-am. "I'll be lucky if I hit this," he murmured, not having had time to warm up. Unlike the efforts of presumptuous high-handicappers, however, the drive was perfect.

Culchie took the glory

IN the week that English-born Jack Grealish decided not to play for the Republic of Ireland, it's interesting to note that it's now 40 years ago since an Irish soccer manager fielded a team of players who were all born in Ireland.

The last to do so was Johnny Giles when he put out a team of ten Dubs and one Culchie (Don Givens) against Turkey at Dalymount Park on October 29, 1975. And for good measure the two subs used were also born in Dublin. Givens (pictured) scored all four goals as the team won the European Championship tie 4-0. This was the team that lined out against Turkey (4-4-2): Roche; Dunne, Mulligan, Hand, Holmes; Martin, Giles, Brady, Heighway; Treacy, Givens. Subs: Conroy for Heighway and Kinnear for Dunne.

In 365 games over the past 40 years with ten different managers involved, every Irish team has included at least one player who declared for Ireland. But looking at the squad for next Thursday's game against Germany Martin O'Neill could, were it not for the fact that Glenn Whelan and James McClean are suspended, put out a team of Irish-born players. How about this Irish-born XI? Given; Coleman, O'Shea, Wilson, Brady; Hoolahan, Whelan, Hendrick, McClean; Keane, Long.

Kerry short of an Ó Sé

Last Sunday week was the first time since 1972 that Kerry started an All-Ireland senior football final without a member of the famous Ó Sé family from West Kerry in their team.

Páidí Ó Sé made his debut in the 1975 final against Dublin and he was followed in the Kerry senior team by his nephews Darragh, Tomás and Marc, who was a sub for Kerry in their defeat to Dublin.

Kerry did have an Ó Sé in their 1972 team, but it was Micheál Ó Sé, who commentated in Irish on the minor All-Ireland finals for RTE.

SOS for Stokes' pal?

IF ever a player needed to re-connect with his football mentor, it's Celtic striker Anthony Stokes.

Out of favour with club and country, he should be sending out an SOS to Inverness manager John Hughes.

In two earlier barren periods of his football life - at Arsenal and Sunderland - Stokes found his salvation by linking up with Hughes, first on loan at Falkirk, where his goals earned him a big move to Sunderland, and later at Hibernian, where his goals earned him a move to Celtic.

If Hughes can do the hat-trick with Stokes' fortunes, the Dubliner might even find his way back into Martin O'Neill's plans.

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