Link to O'Herlihy utterly irrelevant
On the debate between Bill O'Herlihy and Liam Brady after the recent Macedonia game, I would agree that attendances at big games are closely related to the results that the team is getting, but both Brady and O'Herlihy made good cases for the respective opinions they had.
O'Herlihy's suggestion that Ireland's style of football was the reason that a lot of fans are staying away was genuine and valid, even though I probably wouldn't agree with it. Either way, it was a mature debate between decent, honest, professional people.
Therefore, I was shocked and bewildered to read Eamonn Sweeney's comments on the incident in his article 'Ticket policy no bundle of laughs for fickle fans' last week. Overall, it was a good, balanced analysis of the issue of low attendances -- until the paragraph where he suggested that sympathy lies more with Brady than O'Herlihy because of O'Herlihy's role in the 1982 election campaign, given that the Fine Gael party that he promoted went on to cause great damage to the country, while Brady was performing superbly for Ireland.
The link between O'Herlihy and the country's problems was extremely tenuous and dubious, given that his role in the campaign was to get the party elected, and he may not have been aware of every policy Fine Gael would implement in the following years. Apart from that, it was completely and utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand.
It is like, for example, suggesting that a member of the FAI who offers a genuine opinion about anything should not be taken seriously given that he once appointed a manager who, subsequently, did not bring success, and that another person's opinion should be taken more seriously solely because he was a great player in his day.
Ireland fan jumps off the bandwagon
Having been on the Ireland supporter bandwagon since 1987 and ended up in the Aviva being exhorted to be happy, clappy with excitement, I for one have had enough.
The main difference with 1987 and now is that fans hadn't spent the previous 20 odd years being systematically fleeced by the FAI.
Time to call it a day -- the FAI don't deserve supporters.
Lack of balance lets O'Brien down
One of the attributes of ball-players is balance but John O'Brien certainly didn't show that in last week's Sunday Independent when he stated the FAI is sorely lacking initiative in relation to the development of players.
His lengthy article on the subject was more akin to another type of player whose speciality is a bone-crunching tackle with his studs up high. If John O'Brien is going to say the FAI lacks initiative, then he should explain why things like the Emerging Talent Programme can't be regarded as one of the most positive happenings in player development over the last few years.
This programme, which involves 32 local centres and 12 regional centres, caters for talented players between 11 and 16 and the fruits were seen at last week's U17 UEFA Elite qualifying tournament in Greece where unbeaten Ireland missed out on qualifying for the European Finals thanks to an injury-time goal from Denmark in their game against Greece.
No mention either of the FAI's extensive coach education programme where the emphasis is on the very things John O'Brien claims do not exist in Irish football. The problem with taking a one-sided view of a subject means you don't give the reader the complete picture and the opportunity to make up their own mind. John O'Brien's lack of balance and his obvious lack of knowledge about Irish football ruined what could have been a very good article.
Francis wearing blue-tinted glasses
I refer to the article by Neil Francis last Sunday, a 'review' of the Munster-Leinster match.
I am very disappointed to see this hack sullying your pages with his anti-Munster tripe. My understanding of the aim of journalism the world over, and particularly sports journalism in this instance, is an anti-biased coverage of an event. Neil Francis has never, and will never be able to achieve this in print or on the small screen. His obvious hatred of all things Munster, and blinkered view of his native province, is something that is obvious to the dogs on the street. If you read the aforementioned article the only period of the game he bothers to cover is until half-time, when his beloved boys in blue were well in front.
As a lifelong Indo reader, I am sorry to say I will now switch my allegiance to a balanced and informed coverage.
Sunday Indo Sport