Sunday 17 December 2017

From the stands - Ace card trumped by golfing anomaly

John-Ross Galbraith lead the final round of the St Andrews Links Trophy with three holes to play when disaster struck as he found all sorts of trouble and slipped down the leaderboard
John-Ross Galbraith lead the final round of the St Andrews Links Trophy with three holes to play when disaster struck as he found all sorts of trouble and slipped down the leaderboard

Fergus McDonnell, John Greene and Seán Ryan

AS you know, we love our unusual sports stories and we are indebted to Brian Quigley, Captain of Woodbrook, for the following golfing tale.

"An unusual and perhaps unique event occurred during a Fitzgibbon Cup match between Woodbrook and Greystones last Sunday. This may be the only time when a player playing his first shot in a match holed his tee-shot on a par three only to lose the hole!

"What happened was as follows. The match was played in foursomes format. On the par three first hole the Greystones player played his shot close to the green. The Woodbrook player then hit his shot waywardly to the right and it looked like it might be in trouble. The second Woodbrook player then played a provisional ball which went straight into the hole. After a search the first ball was found and then Woodbrook took another three shots to lose the hole to a three."

The moral of the story, we presume, is to save your holes-in-one for singles competitions.

* * * * *

THEY say that from tiny acorns mighty oak trees grow and we came across an interesting example of that old adage recently.

The Sunday Independent of April 23, 1978 carried a piece by the late Ken Ryan in which he detailed the decision of a budding racing driver to take a six-month leave of absence from his job as a bank official.

This "apparently foolhardy move" was beginning to prove a wise one and the bank official in question, Eddie Jordan, went on to be hugely successful in the sport and is now reckoned to be worth in the region of €50m.

"It was during the 1970 Bank strike," Ryan wrote, "that Jordan began his career on wheels. During time off from his temporary employment as a barman in Jersey, he developed a liking for the local fairground mini-racing cars. On his return to Ireland, he bought a Kart and within 18 months was Irish Karting champion."

* * * * *

Just over three years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers produced a detailed analysis of the global sports market which found that the sports industry was continuing to thrive despite economic and political uncertainty.

Among the challenges identified in the report was that of growing spectator numbers at live events, as opposed to those watching on television.

North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa accounted, at the time, for 76 per cent of all revenues in sport and a huge chunk of that derived from gate receipts (one third, 32.6 per cent).

So you have to marvel at the GAA's staying power when it comes to attendances. Yes, the Association has had the benefit of a few high-profile replays in the last few years, but the 2014 financial accounts published last week showed that just over half, 52 per cent in fact, of its revenue of €56.2m came from gate receipts. This is way above the international average and proof perhaps that maintaining public interest levels in games, even in difficult times, can still be achieved.

* * * * *

IT came as a bit of shock to us to see Jonathan Daly described as "the first native of the Republic of Ireland to wear the light blue jersey" of Rangers. Alex Stevenson, winner of a League medal in 1933-'34, got there before him but, as the Republic was known then as the Irish Free State, perhaps the writer had a point.

In any case, it caused us to look at the other side of Glasgow, and note, to our surprise, how few Dubliners had made an impression in Paradise until Anthony Stokes' present enigmatic presence.

In recent times, Darren O'Dea, Robbie Keane and Richie Towell each made a handful of Celtic appearances, compared to the longevity of Sligoman Sean Fallon in the 1950s or Donegal's Packie Bonner. While Keane was only passing through, O'Dea and Towell were excellent young talents keen to make a career with Celtic.

At least they made it to the first team before being let go, a feat which eluded a litany of other young Dubs.

ssport@independent.ie

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