Tuesday 21 November 2017

Groves denied by ref luck of worst kind

Referee Howard Foster warns Carl Froch in his WBA and IBF Super Middleweight Title fight against George Groves.
Referee Howard Foster warns Carl Froch in his WBA and IBF Super Middleweight Title fight against George Groves.

Ever get the feeling you've been hard done by?

The decision by referee Howard Foster to stop the Carl Froch-George Groves world super-middleweight title fight was as outstanding an example of sporting injustice as we're likely to see in our lifetimes.

Froch's behaviour in the lead-up to the fight had been deeply unpleasant, even by the standards of boxing trash talk, as he predicted he would end Groves' career and poured scorn on his younger opponent for having the temerity to suggest a shock might be on the card.

Groves turned out to be right. He floored Froch in the opening round, had him in trouble on a number of occasions and had built a clear points lead when he was wobbled by Froch in the ninth round. Referee Foster stepped in immediately to stop the fight, a decision which elicited vocal derision from the crowd in Manchester and utter disbelief from those watching at home.

A few pathetic arguments by Froch partisans in the media along the lines of 'You can't be too careful in boxing' won't convince anyone that we didn't witness highway robbery. Froch is British boxing's number one attraction and was hoping for a lucrative rematch with the brilliant Andre Ward. Foster was notably less hasty when the champion was hanging on for dear life in the first round. Froch's praise of the ref for 'saving Groves' career' was frankly pathetic.

Sporting injustice rankles with us because we like to think that the winner of a match or a fight has always earned their victory and that in an often unfair world things are at least black and white in sport. But Carl Froch didn't beat George Groves last week, Howard Foster did. And in doing so he's landed another blow on a slumping, staggering professional sport.

Is it any wonder audiences are turning to MMA?

* * * * *

TIMMY MURPHY'S absence from yesterday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, where he was due to take the mount on the David Pipe-trained Our Father, raised more than a few eyebrows.

While most of yesterday's papers were coy about the recurrence of the shoulder injury which saw Murphy leave Newbury in an ambulance on Friday, the Daily Mirror was in no doubt about what had happened.

They quoted an anonymous eye-witness who said Murphy came to blows with fellow jockey Dominic Elsworth following the fifth race on the card, with Elsworth finishing second on Easter Meteor, two places ahead of Murphy on Upsilon Bleu.

The onlooker said: "A few words were exchanged at the end of the race, but it was once the two were back in the changing room that tempers really frayed.

"It's well known the two jockeys aren't exactly best mates, and before you knew it they were rolling around on the floor"

Former weighing room colleague Mick Fitzgerald discussed the incident on Channel 4's Morning Line, and revealed that Murphy had called Elsworth to apologise.

And the Mirror's headline? – 'Jockey Balboa'. Classic.

* * * * *

Western Australia GAA club Morley Gaels are set to play their first game in Ireland on December 29 against Laois side St Joseph's.

The Perth-based club will field a team of players who have all returned home for the Christmas period. The club is one of the biggest in Australia with a senior and intermediate men's team and two women's senior teams. They expect to have a panel of 29 in Laois for the match with players coming from all over Ireland.

* * * * *

The Detroit Lions hadn't won their traditional AFL Thanksgiving Day game since November 27, 2003, so having lost their previous two games and trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, there must have been a lot of fans thinking, 'Oh no, here we go again.'

But the Lions rallied to score the last 37 points of the game and finally end the famine. "I'm sure the turkey will taste better and all that," said their quarterback Matthew Stafford. We're sure it did.

Eamonn Sweeney, Fergus McDonnell and Marie Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Independent

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