Friday 15 November 2019

Donegal turn their parade into a charade

HOT on the heels of that blockbuster 'The Olympics Homecoming Row' came its sequel, 'The Donegal Homecoming Row', starring the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce with a guest appearance from A Strongly Worded Letter -- and you just know there's going to be trouble when A Strongly Worded Letter is involved.

Apparently, said letter, addressed to the Donegal County Board, requested that the Donegal team return to Letterkenny after the All-Ireland final, and not Donegal Town which is the traditional homecoming venue.

Oh how quickly they forget.

The last time Donegal reached an All-Ireland final, they were no-hopers in the eyes of most pundits, makeweights, also-rans. Their sole purpose was to be the 15 men standing on the pitch looking disappointed as Dublin's players climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to collect the Sam Maguire.

That was the theory anyway, and all of Dublin bought into it. The players were feted at every hand's turn as the capital's GAA community grew ever more giddy in anticipation of the night, indeed weeks, of celebration that lay ahead.

Then it all came crashing down as Donegal grabbed the game by the throat early on and never let go. The recriminations in Dublin were long and torturous, with most of the blame coming down to the players being distracted in the build-up to the game.

For Donegal's sake, let's hope Jim McGuinness is able to keep his troops away from homecoming rows and any other nonsense.

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THAT great sporting nation Australia are fond of looking down their noses at inferior opposition. Indeed, Irish International Rules teams have often felt their disdain.

So imagine how they must feel about the prospect of being ranked below Ireland in -- of all things -- cricket? Australia are currently involved in a three-match T20 series with Pakistan. After they lost the first match, their captain George Bailey admitted his side stood no chance of winning the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka unless they showed marked improvement.

The seven-wicket hiding was Australia's heaviest in terms of balls to spare for the chasing team, after Bailey's men were shot out for a measly 89, their lowest total since England rolled Ricky Ponting's team for 79 in only their second T20I, at the Rose Bowl in 2005. On Friday, they tied the second match on 151 runs but lost again on the one-over eliminator.

Should Pakistan sweep the series by winning tomorrow's final match -- certainly not out of the question given the lopsidedness of the opening game -- then Bailey's team will remain at 10th in the ICC's T20 rankings and behind Ireland when the two meet on September 19.

And Bailey's response to that scenario? "If Ireland are a better side than us, I guess they'll show it in a couple of weeks in Sri Lanka."

Oh no, we've only gone and annoyed them now.

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Hurling Championship sponsors Etihad Airways have launched a new competition for Irish hurling clubs. The 'Raise The Bar' competition will see Etihad getting on board alongside the winning club's existing sponsors and doing their bit to help.

They will receive an immediate sponsorship fund of €10,000 as well as a host of other prizes for their club including kits, equipment and mentoring. Entry details can be found on etihadgaa.ie.

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A new production company, Half Solid Productions, founded by Mayo scribes Liam Horan and John Corless, the former one of the vast legion of 'former Mayo minors', has announced the imminent release of its first play The Pull which will be of interest to GAA followers. It takes a light-hearted look at a club spiralling towards financial ruin and doing whatever it takes to rescue the situation. This theatre production will be showing over autumn and winter and GAA clubs will be invited to collaborate to raise funds for their own needs. More information to be found at info@halfsolid.com

Fergus McDonnell, John Chambers, Marie Crowe and Dermot Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

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