From the Stands: Dundalk setting pace in the numbers game
In the 1980-'81 season, Aston Villa won the English League using just 14 players. As goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer was ever-present in the 42 games, that meant manager Ron Saunders only used 13 outfield players as starters.
Last season, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny almost equalled that feat, when he only used 15 outfield starters in winning the League of Ireland. He used 19 players, with goalkeeper Peter Cherrie ever-present, and 18 outfield players, of whom 15 started games. The change in the number of subs allowed since 1983 explains why three of Kenny's squad never started a game.
It seemed he was intent on going one better this season when, up to Friday, August 14, he had only used 15 starters, two of whom were goalkeepers. However, he obviously felt the need for reinforcements for his hard-worked 13 outfield starters and, in the last week of the transfer window, he signed forwards Ciarán Kilduff and Sean Maguire. Kilduff has since become the 14th outfield starter.
Incidentally, since the League switched to a 33-game season in 1988, Dundalk hold the record for using the least number of outfield starters - 14 in 1988 - of any title-winning team. Must be something in the water up there.
Judes for Jack
St. Judes GAA club will hold a bucket collection outside Croke Park today to help fund the recovery of their club member Jack Halpin. Jack sustained serious injuries in the Berkeley tragedy in California that claimed the lives of six young people and forever changed the lives of others.
Jack, aged 21, has just completed his final year of a degree in Commerce at UCD and first attended St Judes as a four year-old. He blossomed as a player throughout his juvenile years and, as a young adult, has continued to represent his club in both codes at under 21 level. Jack also represented Dublin teams from under 12 to under 16 level in both codes.
Aside from today's collection, the club are also holding a raffle next Saturday to help towards his recovery.
"Jack was seriously injured in Berkeley but thankfully he is now back in Ireland," says one club member. "However, he faces a long road to recovery. He has played hurling and football for Judes from nursery level up to adult and 'Judes for Jack' is the initiative we have come up with to raise funds for his ongoing rehabilitation. There is a huge GAA community out there, one that is built through spirit and we know that we will get huge support."
Judes are appealing for support today, and also with their raffle (€10 tickets can be bought online at www.judesforjack.com). Prizes include tickets for both the hurling and football finals together with overnight stays, a fourball golf outing at Lahinch with an overnight stay and your nominated club will also enter a draw for a set of O'Neill's jerseys.
Cause for concern?
WHAT is it about Gaelic football? While most team sports, including hurling by the way, are a test of athleticism, skill and tactics, it seems you have to have a cause to succeed on the Gaelic football field. Take Tyrone, or Donegal . . . it seems that the more you've been wronged, or perceive that you've been wronged, the better the chance you have of doing well.
Jim McGuinness developed the perfect siege mentality with Donegal, while Mickey Harte is a perfect example of how a manager can get that extra bit from his team on the basis that the rest of the country is against them.
The media, Croke Park and all those bad referees have a lot to answer for.
Sunday Indo Sport