Saturday 16 December 2017

AFL hand poaching role to Kennelly

THOSE in the GAA who remain opposed to the international rules adventure were handed a major boost last week with the appointment of Tadhg Kennelly to a role which includes 'international player development'.

The Australian Football League have effectively asked the Kerry and Sydney Swans legend to be their eyes and ears in Ireland, identifying promising young players and organising camps where they can be judged as potential recruits by Australian clubs.

It's an extraordinary turn of events and one which is bound to seriously concern the GAA as they struggle against competition from other sports and the pull of economic necessity to hold on to their best and brightest.

One AFL insider wondered: "Why would the AFL be funding Tadhg Kennelly to go and develop players in Ireland? The GAA will blow their top.

"They're supposed to be helping one another, and what do they say? 'We're going to run development programmes for Gaelic kids to come and try and play AFL football so the AFL clubs can come and watch them all and then pick who they want'."

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GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI, who will be 73 on March 17, will be the oldest manager of the 16 teams at Euro 2012.

His captain, Robbie Keane, with seven goals, was the third highest goalscorer in the qualifiers, behind Holland's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (12) and Germany's Miroslav Klose (9), and level with Spain's David Villa and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Good company.

Of the 16 countries, 13 have qualified for the finals many times, but Ireland and Poland have only qualified once before, and co-hosts Ukraine have never qualified.

Of the qualifiers, Czech Republic (33rd) has the lowest world ranking, but co-hosts Poland (55th) and Ukraine (66th) are lower.

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With a Heineken Cup victory already under his belt there is no doubt that Joe Schmidt is fitting in well in Ireland. And it seems he isn't the only member of the Schmidt family who has settled in the capital.

His son Tim, a student in Terenure College and a talented rugby player, is making a name for himself as a Gaelic footballer. He's been lining out at wing-forward for the school and is fast becoming a key member of the team.

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RUGBY players should be aware that their traditional love of high jinks, a hangover (if that is the right word) from the amateur days, can land them in hot water in the new professional era.

Mike Tindall, you will have heard, was dropped from, and then reinstated to, the England squad for his antics during the World Cup, and while we're not quite sure which of those was the punishment, his final fine of £10,000 left him in no doubt that his employers were less than impressed.

But perhaps more worrying are the reports from Samoa where team manager Mathew Vaea was hit with a fine of 100 pigs and forced to apologise to the elders of his village for his carry-on during the tournament in New Zealand.

Thankfully, our lads were smart enough to look after themselves during the World Cup, but if they did step out of line, hitting them with a demand to hand over farm animals might be fair enough for the country lads, but what about the city boys? How would you punish them?

Dubliners might have to pay in pints of Heino, or be barred from Krystal, while Corkonians would have to hand over gallons of Barry's tea and rings of Clonakilty pudding.

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GAA clubs around the country are being advised that generators used to power floodlights are increasingly becoming a target for thieves.

Two clubs in Co Meath are believed to be the latest victims of this crime, which obviously involves some serious planning on the part of the perpetrators, so all clubs are being warned to take steps to ensure the safety of their equipment.

Fergus McDonnell, Seán Ryan and Marie Crowe

Sunday Indo Sport

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