Wednesday 13 December 2017

Armchair fans won't buy into RTE logic

From the Stands

AN RTE insider pointed out in Thursday's Irish Independent, as if to justify the national broadcaster's decision to abandon coverage of the Premier League, that "none of the top teams in England feature Irish players in their squads, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool".

Well, that's alright then. After all, who wants to watch a football match that doesn't feature any Irish players strutting their stuff?

Head of sport, Ryle Nugent, was happy to point out, however, that RTE would cover the World Cup finals of 2014, 2018 and 2022, although we certainly won't watch any of those games that don't involve the Irish team – which could, unfortunately, be all of them.

Incidentally, we wonder did RTE notice that the pre-season friendly between Celtic and Liverpool, scheduled for August 10 at the Aviva Stadium, sold out in less than an hour?

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IN a bid to make golf more entertaining for TV viewers, former European Tour pro Van Phillips and his friend, Jeremy Kavanagh, have come up with the Zone Golf concept – and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is its first champion.

Along with his celebrity partner Jamie Redknapp, McGinley won the Charity Shoot Out at Zone Golf's World Launch, earning £100,000 for his nominated charity, the Tour Players Foundation.

They beat Ian Poulter and five-time Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave in the final, watched by nearly 2,000 fans at a par-3 course outside London.

The concept is a colourful, Par 3 game, with a twist. It is played over nine holes, with each green divided into three coloured zones with a hole and flag in each zone (green-easy, amber-medium, red-hard). Each player/team must nominate a zone on the tee and subsequently hit that zone to acquire the relevant points (green 3, amber 6 and red 9). Additional points are available for bogey, par, birdie, and hole-in-one. "I think it's an excellent concept," said McGinley. "It's fun, fast-paced and brings a do-or-die element to the game."

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Given that the All-Ireland football and hurling champions can never be described as first among equals, it is often the local rivalries – particularly along county boundaries – which spice up the championships.

From the Stands got a timely reminder of this recently, overhearing a Meath supporter's view of the possibility of a Louth-Meath Leinster semi-final. It was a sign that confidence in the Royal County is low when he uttered, "If I thought Louth were going to bate us, I'd sooner lose in Aughrim". At least now he doesn't have to worry.

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At a time when clubs and charities are continually looking for novel ways of raising money, a Wexford man has an innovative concept.

Mark Lyttleton has come up with icharityu (see, a new fundraising platform online. It allows charities and clubs to raise money by carrying out a challenging mission if a minimum sum of money is raised by donors, who control the mission from start to finish.

So a member in the club will select some type of challenge he or she is willing to do if a certain amount of money is raised. The money is pledged and once that target is reached, the challenge is completed and a 'proof' video is posted in order to have the funds transferred.

Some of the suggestions for challenges so far include busking on a busy street in Speedos, letting a team-mate cut your hair, fighting someone in a white-collar event, a skydive, and painting the clubhouse.

Sounds like good clean fun, and a chance for clubs to pull in some cash.

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Laois hurlers have a decidedly poor recent track record against Galway, with their only championship win over the Tribesmen way back in 1949 in an All-Ireland semi-final. This was the year of their last All-Ireland final appearance – Tipperary proved much too strong. Only two men survive from the Laois '49 team, Paddy Lalor and Rathdowney's Paddy McCormack, who wore number four and is still in good health. McCormack's grandson, John A Delaney, is expected to wear the same shirt against Galway today.

John Greene, Fergus McDonnell, Dermot Crowe and Seán Ryan

Irish Independent

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