Friday 23 February 2018

Down aim to keep dads' army on board

While family commitments are being cited as the reason for inter-county players retiring ever earlier, the county board in Down have set about trying to combat this problem by coming up with what appears to be a very simple strategy.

The county's senior footballers are training on Saturday mornings at the moment and, in an effort to be more family-friendly, the board has organised childcare at the training ground in Newry for the kids of both players and management. The children can play, watch DVDs and even get fed all while their dads are putting in the hard yards.

It's a novel idea and one that other county boards could benefit from adopting.

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One man who would have been very proud of Mount Leinster Rangers' historic Leinster club final victory is the late Eamon Dalton. A native of Ballytiglea, Borris, Eamon was a key figure in helping to establish the new club in the late 1980s and is fondly remembered in the parish.

He was involved with Pat Gallahue and many others in arranging the 1987 purchase of 5.8 acres of the O'Mahony Estate, Ballinagrane for £10,000 from the Land Commission. This site is now home to the Mount Leinster Rangers club. A wise investment which is more than bearing fruit.

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A loud horn, iPad stand, special tyres and an anti-theft 'kill switch' are not the sort of features one would expect to find on a golf buggy around these parts. But when we explain that this particular vehicle fetched $17,500 on eBay, you'll understand that it's a bit special.

Welcome to golf's answer to the Batmobile. Inspired by Christian Bale's super-duper wheels in Batman Begins, it is essentially a standard buggy which underwent a $30,000 makeover. Then, Holy Bagful of Bogeys, the owner, "rayshollywood", decided it had outlived its usefulness.

Now, another joker is lounging in its adjustable leather seats, hoping, no doubt, to impress some cool golfing Catwoman.

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Seb Coe's success in athletics coincided with the emergence of a superb crop of Irish runners. The likes of Eamonn Coghlan, Ray Flynn, Frank O'Mara and Marcus O'Sullivan all starred on the world stage with Coe. There hasn't been a group of that calibre since and Coe thinks that one of the reasons may be that that golden generation of talent spent a lot of time in America.

"A lot of the Irish athletes I knew created strong American links," said Coe. "Maybe that generation have been lost. The athletes coming through needed to emulate them. It's important to have that. But if you can find an Irish athlete who starts running 3.48 off the front for a mile, it will happen again."

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The great and the good of Irish athletics flocked to the Aviva Stadium last Tuesday for the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the first international athletics match between Ireland and England.

The meeting of the two teams took place on June 5, 1876 in the Irish Champion Athletic Club Grounds which is now the Aviva. England's Walter Slade set a world record of 1:59.2 in the 880 yards and one of the legends of Irish sport, Maurice Davin, won the shot putt and hammer. He was later one of the founding members of the GAA.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled by Ireland's first ever female Olympian Maeve Kyle and rugby player Michael Kiernan.

Tuesday's event was organised by the Hibernian Athletics Historical Association (HAHA) and the occasion also included a photographic display of athletics events staged in Lansdowne Road from 1937 to 1957.

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Following the recent illness to their former team-mate and captain of the 2012 All Ireland-winning intermediate team, Eddie Connolly of Loughmore-Castleiney GAA Club, the Tipperary senior hurling panel are organising a 6K fun run and walk on December 21 in Thurles. The run will commence from Dr Morris Park, beside Semple Stadium, at 1.0. All proceeds will be donated to two cancer-related charities – Friends of St Luke's and SuirHaven in Thurles.

Dermot Crowe, Dermot Gilleece, Damian Lawlor and Marie Crowe

Sunday Independent

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