| 7.2°C Dublin

From the stands: Faldo loses his grip on clubs and reality

THE remarkable journey of Rory McIlroy from amateur prodigy to rookie pro to Major winner appears to have taken another giant leap forward with the news that he has signed what has been described as 'the biggest contract in golf history'.

Just imagine that. A kid from Co Down, who only tuned pro a little over five years ago, signing the biggest contract in golf history -- worth a staggering $250m.

It's not enough for some people though. Astonishingly, Nick Faldo, speaking last week when the contract was rumoured, advised McIlroy against the move.

"I'd call it dangerous," he said. Dangerous? A professional golfer who cashes in on his talent, dangerous? Faldo added: "It messes you up (changing equipment manufacturer) because it just doesn't feel quite the same."

Faldo has come out with some nonsense during his time, but that takes the biscuit. By that logic, professional golfers should never win because that would make them too popular and they might be tempted to sign a huge contract with another manufacturer, which might, er, damage their chances of winning.

* * * * *

THE recent finding that 174,000 Irish people spent €167m travelling to support British teams last year touched a nerve with League of Ireland fans.

When you consider that Shamrock Rovers, on a budget of less than €800,000, made it to the group stages of the Europa League, it seems fair to suggest that if those 174,000 travellers were more patriotic in their club affiliations then the group stages of the Champions League might not be beyond an Irish team.

It also begs the question as to what the FAI intend to do to attract these people to the domestic game. And still on domestic matters, the number of players who were ever-present in their clubs' Premier Division campaign fell from four to three this year.

The magnificent three were goalkeepers Ger Doherty (Derry City) and Peter Cherrie (Dundalk) and midfielder Paul O'Conor (UCD). Doherty didn't miss a game last year either.

* * * * *

NETBALL is not a sport that crosses our radar very often, but now is the time for this popular game to move, if not exactly centre stage, then at least a little more out of the shadows.

The Irish team, having won the European Netball Championships in Gibraltar in June, have been invited to compete in the International Nations Cup in Singapore from November 29 to December 10. You might be surprised to read that, but you won't be surprised to hear that their only stumbling block is a serious lack of cash.

To that end, Netball Ireland, which receives no funding or sponsorship, is looking to raise €22,000. They will hold a bucket collection at Ireland's rugby Test against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday, so watch out for them. Otherwise, if you'd like to help out, contact Genevieve Slater at 085 758 9492.

* * * * *

Following on from the very successful Club Development Seminar held in 2011, the Dublin and Kildare Local Sports Partnerships are organising a Social Media Seminar for Sports Clubs at the Red Cow Inn on Saturday, November 17.

Many people are aware of Facebook and Twitter but are unsure how to best utilise these free PR tools. The seminar will look at these platforms and will show the ease with which people can use them. It will also highlight the do's and don'ts and outline how they can be used to the benefit of your club.

Marion Brown, Fingal County Council's principal sports officer, said: "This year the Olympics and Paralympics showcased the importance of social media in a modern sporting arena, allowing members of the public to send messages of support directly, to follow progress, updates and results and to enable the athletes to connect directly with viewers and supporters. At a time when we're all looking to increase engagement with what we do, it's essential that we understand the role social media can play in this."

For more information, go to eventelephant.com/socialmediaforclubs.

Fergus McDonnell, John Greene

and Seán Ryan


Sunday Indo Sport