Saturday 7 December 2019

Desperate times for the dogs in the street

You might have reckoned that St Patrick's Athletic manager Pete Mahon was being a bit paranoid when he implied that there was something questionable about the FAI Cup semi-final draw which kept Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers apart and gave them home advantage against Sligo Rovers and St Pat's.

And, indeed, we would not be so irresponsible as to suggest that this fine upstanding association would play favourites when it comes to the domestic league. We'll leave that to Emmet Malone of the Irish Times who informed his readers, on the morning after Bohs beat their old rivals 1-0 at Dalymount Park, that, "the dogs in the street have it that the FAI want these two to meet in the cup final next month." Pray tell us more, good sir, and don't stint on the sycophancy. "If you were going on the evidence of this game . . . it would be hard to argue with the choice."

Well, perhaps it would if you thought that the FAI have any business making choices about the outcomes of matches. They don't of course and there's no evidence that they want to start doing so. But it really is weird to see a national newspaper apparently suggesting not only that the FAI had a preferred pairing for the Cup final but that this was actually a good 'choice'. Wonder what Pete Mahon thought of that.

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IT'S difficult to make sense of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) attitude to the game outside of the Test-playing nations.

It was announced last week, for example, that the field for the World Cup (50 over version) in 2015 will be reduced from 14 teams to 10. So where does that leave Ireland after we made such a splash in the 2007 event?

One would imagine that the ten Test countries would compete for the prize, but one of these, Zimbabwe, is currently suspended from that form of the game. So maybe then the ICC will look to the one-day rankings to decide who will compete. Ireland are currently ranked No 10, although the new year will bring a new league which excludes Ireland.

The ICC has also confirmed it has made it a priority to develop the game in the USA and China. Surely they would be better off developing the game in the higher-ranking countries such as Ireland and The Netherlands rather than making it even more difficult to advance?

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The long-awaited DVD cataloguing every one of Kerry's all All-Ireland winning captains, and some who didn't quite make it to the summit, is poised for public release. The DVD will be launched at Caitins Bar & Restaurant in Kells, Co Kerry on October 22 and the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney on October 26. Responsible for this masterful collection are Weeshie Fogarty, the local radio man and fond chronicler of Kerry's rich tradition, and Christy Riordan, who recorded and edited the film. The DVD contains numerous interviews and action clips of Kerrymen receiving Gaelic football's greatest prize.

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One of those motions intended for the hot debating house of annual Congress appears to have hit a dead end. Trim GAA club submitted a motion advocating more than one sponsor's brand name to be displayed on jerseys, tracksuits and kitbags in order to maximise revenue in these hard-pressed times. The idea had been referred to the Commercial & Marketing Department of the GAA for consideration but it has rejected the request. Some sports, like cycling and Formula 1 racing, are noted for exhibiting multiple brand logos on gear and equipment.

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The appearance of St Brigid's in today's Dublin senior football final is something of an heroic achievement given that only last year they were relegated from Division 1 of the league -- a hefty setback to any club trading in the capital. They went down in dramatic circumstances, too, losing to St Vincent's by 17 points in a match that saw five of their players sent off. Yes, that's right, five dismissals. Beating star-studded neighbours St Oliver Plunketts in the semi-final, then, completed a remarkable turn in their fortunes. They face favourites Kilmacud Crokes in today's decider.

Eamonn Sweeney, Dermot Crowe and Fergus McDonnell

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