Monday 11 December 2017

From the Stands: Logic does not apply in summer scheduling

Damian Lawlor, John Greene, Seán Ryan and Marie Crowe

KERRY had two games in six days and now they might only play two more in the next two months – welcome to the madness of the championship.

Last night's game was given the go-ahead last winter after Waterford requested to have their footballers and hurlers out on the same weekend in provincial championships to avoid having to lose a weekend for club activity.

Waterford's internal demands aside, there is absolutely no logic to these back-to-back fixtures. It's just another sign that the championship structure is flagging. Leitrim could beat New York and London to reach a Connacht final. Meanwhile, the likes of Down, who had to wait seven weeks for a game after their league ended, have to face three major powers to win an Ulster title.

Kerry are lucky they had two easy games in six days. But it's not acceptable in this day and age that, barring replays, inter-county sides have to play so soon at this time of year.

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Any fears that Danny Owens' departure from the board of the Irish Sports Council would lower GAA representation have been allayed by the news that his seat will be taken by former Mayo manager John Maughan, who has been appointed for a five-year term by the Government. Maughan joins another high-profile former inter-county manager, Liam Sheedy, on the board.

Owens managed Kilcormac-Killoughey to this year's All-Ireland club hurling final, Sheedy guided Tipperary to a famous All-Ireland victory over Kilkenny in 2010 while Maughan – a fellow county man of the Taoiseach's – also has All-Ireland final experience, albeit as a losing manager.

Earlier this year, another high-profile GAA figure – Dónal óg Cusack – was appointed to the National Sports Campus Development Authority board so it appears Enda Kenny's government has a fondness for the Association. With another vacancy to be filled on the ISC board, it will be interesting to see if this fondness extends further.

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THE class of 2013 from the FAI's Pro Licence course graduates at today's Republic of Ireland v Georgia friendly, and already a number of them have proved they are winners.

Included in the 14 coaches, who completed the two-year course, are Declan Devine, who led Derry City to the FAI Cup last year; Mick Cooke, who guided Drogheda United to the EA Sports Cup; Pat Scully, who was in charge of Limerick FC when they won the First Division, and Trevor Croly, who won the Setanta Cup in this, his first season in charge of Shamrock Rovers.

The other graduates are: Adrian Fitzpatrick and Johnny Glynn (Mervue United), Dave Mackey (Bray Wanderers), Gerry Carr (ex-Sligo Rovers), Harry Kenny (St Patrick's Athletic), John Brennan (Salthill Devon), Keith Long (Bray Wanderers), Paul O'Brien (ex-Waterford United), Shane Keegan (Wexford Youths), and Tom O'Connor (FAI U-16 head coach).

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In recent months, GPS has taken the GAA world by storm, allowing coaches to analyse every last detail of a player's performance. This practice has now spread to swimming with Swim Ireland teaming up with NUI Galway to develop a new high-performance analysis system for competitive swimming.

The system is currently being developed by PhD student Robert Mooney and, once finished, will measure, record and track the technical improvements achieved by elite Irish swimmers.

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HAYES' HOTEL, the hostelry in Thurles where Michael Cusack, Maurice Davin, John Bracken, George McCarthy, PJ Ryan, John Wise-Power, and John McKay famously gathered in 1884 to found the GAA, has been placed in receivership.

And Seán Kelly, MEP and former president of the Association, has called on the GAA to purchase the iconic building and preserve it for future generations.

"As an organisation we are rightly proud of our roots and our history, and no place, with the possible exception of Croke Park, is more central to the narrative of the GAA that Hayes' Hotel," said Kelly.

Irish Independent

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