Lynch should stick to what he knows
Declan Lynch takes a regular pot at the GAA and this time it was the game of hurling that got the rap last Sunday.
In my opinion, Declan wrote a very unbalanced article on his dislike for the game of hurling. How a writer who, in his opinion, 'never played it, and have never wanted to play it' is accommodated by his editor to write this article defies me. If it was possible I would never write an insulting article about soccer or rugby because I do not know enough about those games to write authoritatively about them. And, unlike Declan, I would not insult the players who enjoy playing the games that they love, every weekend.
All games played to a high standard are beautiful to watch in their own way, especially if you have played them at any level.
Too many hats are spoiling the Hook
I read George Hook's article in the Sunday Independent [Oct 3] entitled 'Listless Leinster will come undone in Heineken group'.
George wrote: "One suspects it is too late for Schmidt to get the team back on the rails". We had four bad performances because the players have been rotated so much but after last Saturday night's performance the team is very much back on the rails.
George also wrote: "I suspect this is a coach that has lost the dressing room". That is not only an insult to the coach but to every player in the team, from the newcomers like Dominic Ryan to Brian O'Driscoll.
As it was the first big test for Leinster, the improved performance last Saturday night just shows how committed they all are to the new coach. George also seems to forget the fact that it is only five games into a long season.
After Ireland beat France in Croke Park in the Grand Slam year, George was asked by Tom McGuirk on RTE television why we won. He answered it was because the team was full of Munster players and Munster beat French opposition on a regular basis. Conor O'Shea and Brent Pope quickly corrected him saying there was plenty of Leinster and indeed Ulster players in the team.
Last year when Ireland lost to France in Paris, even though the whole team played badly, he singled out Brian O'Driscoll, criticising him for missing a tackle on Basteraud, but failing to criticise any Munster players like Ronan O'Gara for the lack of direction from the out-half position or any Munster forward in the pack that was so badly beaten.
When Ireland lost to Scotland last year in Croke Park, Paul O'Connell came off second best to his opposite man and our lineout which he calls was taken apart by the Scottish lineout. Where was his singling out of Paul O'Connell for special criticism?
George, please take off your Munster hat and your anti-Leinster hat and treat the players as Irish players. If you do so, in my opinion you will be a better rugby pundit and we the public might get some unbiased comments.
Irish pay price for missed chances
Please allow me to congratulate the journalist who composed the article that deals with the Ireland v France World Cup play-off game in Paris. It was a well-thought-out piece that stripped away the mass hysteria and cited several recent memories of equal injustices visited on other nations, most notably when Spain were disgracefully denied victory against South Korea in 2002.
S**t happens. We should have won in normal time and that is what hurts the most. I hate to say that Roy Keane was right but I read what Robbie Keane had spoken about before the match about Ireland needing to be clinical and take the chances that would come our way -- we didn't and we paid for it.
RTE panel way off target with United
I'd like to thank you for your piece [Oct 3] on the RTÉ panel's analysis of Manchester United's Champions League match this past Wednesday. Though I never take what they have to say to heart, I was utterly embarrassed at how ill-informed they were, making such statements as: "Macheda was on loan to Preston last season", when in fact that was Danny Welbeck and "You'll never win a Champions League or Premier League with Nani in the team", failing to notice that he won both in his first season ('07/'08), a season where he beat the almighty Ronaldo to the top of the assist charts and scored the decisive penalty in the Champions League final.
But also, I was disgusted at how they were virtually ridiculing some of the United players, in particular -- as you mentioned -- Nani and Berbatov, who, along with Paul Scholes, have been their best players this season.