Thursday 14 December 2017

From the Stands: Star pair able to live without mammies

Marie Crowe, Eamonn Sweeney and Sean Ryan

Behind nearly every great sports person is a great mammy and more often than not they are in attendance at their children's games to cheer them on as they bid for glory.

Last weekend, however, first cousins, Wallabies' hooker Stephen Moore and Meath goalkeeper Paddy O'Rourke, had to take to the field in what were possibly two of the most important games of their careers without their mothers watching from the wings.

Sisters Maureen Moore and Eileen O'Rourke both hail from Meath but Maureen moved to Australia in the 1980s. Over three decades ago the two women worked at Slane Manufacturing Company and last Sunday there was a reunion held in the Meath village as part of The Gathering celebrations.

Both women were in attendance but as a result Maureen missed the Wallabies' second game against the Lions as she was travelling and Eileen missed the Leinster semi-final between Meath and Wexford to be in Slane.

However, their sons were happy men despite the fact their mammies were missing from the stands; the Wallabies defeated the Lions 16-15 in Melbourne and Meath beat Wexford 0-17 to 0-13 in Croke Park to earn a spot in the Leinster football final.

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A headline in Thursday's Irish Times read: 'Assad says Rebels are weak'. Bad enough Sean Og O hAilpin getting in on it, but what do they know about hurling in Syria?

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THE FAI'S Festival of Football and AGM takes place in Co Wicklow this year, but it's going to be a case of Hamlet without the Prince when the 250 delegates meet in the Arklow Bay Hotel on Saturday July 20.

Missing from this gathering of the great and good of the so-called football family will be the man who has done more than anyone to keep senior soccer alive in the county. For some strange reason, Bray Wanderers' chairman Eddie Cox is persona non grata in FAI circles and won't be receiving an invitation to this gig on his home turf.

If ever there was a case for a family reconciliation, this is it. Family spats usually last only so long. Surely the FAI honchos should call time on this one. In fact, while trawling around for candidates for the John Sherlock Service to Football Award, they could do worse than honour Mr Bray Wanderers himself.

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Today when the Kerry minors play Tipperary in the Munster football final in Kilarney they will be represented in mid-field by two Austin Stacks clubmen Conor Jordan and Greg Horan.

The last time two men from that Tralee club lined out in midfield for the Kerry minors was July 24, 1960 and they were former Sunday Independent Editor Aengus Fanning and Jo Jo Barrett. Cork won that day 3-08 to 0-7 and Aengus scored two of Kerry's tally. Barrett went on to win an All-Ireland senior title with Kerry in 1962.

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There was disappointment in GAA circles around the country when it became apparent that last weekend's Leinster hurling semi-final replay between Dublin and Kilkenny would not be shown on television.

However all was not lost because the commentary of the game provided by Tomas Mulcahy and in particular Martin Kiely on RTé Radio 1 was exemplary. They set the scene and described the plays perfectly, transporting their audience to the stands in O'Moore Park. When Kiely announced that two of the Dublin players were battling for the ball like two lads who hadn't been fed for a week he summed up the hunger that was in the Dublin team. It was an apt phrase and overall it was a job well done.

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During today's Leinster hurling final, fans will get the chance to enjoy traditional Arabian culture and hospitality as Etihad Airways host an Abu Dhabi Day in Croke Park.

There will be a traditional falconry display, along with a Formula 1 race car and a chance to play 'Tippy Tappy', the airline's innovative online hurling game.

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