I have to take issue with Jim Glennon's player ratings [May 29] of the Munster and Leinster clash in the Magners League final.
The combined totals of the ratings shows Leinster with 121.5 for this match against Munster's total rating of 121. Munster won by 10 points, which in itself is a considerable margin for such a winner-takes-all encounter between these two fine rugby provinces. To give the defeated team a higher rating does not make sense.
Two points in conclusion, Neil Francis, in an associated article, gave a very balanced account of the game with the exception of his piece at the end of the article that 'referee Nigel Owens' penalty try at the death was a little baffling'. At that point the Leinster scrum was retreating at a rate of knots. In fairness to Nigel Owens, who is a top-class referee, I don't think he wanted the closing shot of the season to be the Heineken Cup champions being unceremoniously driven over their own line by a rampant Munster pack.
Finally, Joe Schmidt, in an another associated article by John O'Brien, was quite correct, and it goes to prove the worth of Schmidt as a coach, that fatigue was a factor and not, I add, an excuse. Schmidt is fully aware of Northampton's fatigue following a gruelling Premiership semi-final against Leicester, which Northampton lost just a week before their Heineken Cup final.
Schmidt knows that these are professional rugby players being paid very well for the job they do. Schmidt was outstanding in his after-match comments and Ireland should look no further once Declan has hung up his boots.
No injunction in final judgement
Verily I say this: It hath been proclaimed that that the tribe of the red Mancunians were of a race of fornicators and adulterers, and lo it was decreed to despatch the demi gods from the region of Catalonia to wreak a vengeance upon them and smote them for their evil deeds, and after their chastisement was complete and retribution hath been accomplished and purged them of their numerous transgressions, then I Thomas, shall now go forth and reap my just rewards so it was written and so it was done.
Frank L Byrne
an insult to Celtic
I was disappointed that during the course of an excellent article on Ryan Giggs [May 29] Eamonn Sweeney decided to go down the well-trodden route in the Sunday Independent sports section of taking a gratuitous swipe at Celtic. This was by stating that Roy Keane was "slumming it" by representing this great football club. I would expect no less of Dion Fanning, Richard Sadlier and John O'Brien but for you to succumb to the lazy consensus on Celtic in particular and Scottish football in general was not what I would have expected.
Whether it was your stance on Roy Keane in relation to Saipan, the performances of Irish athletes or government funding of the horse racing industry, you have demonstrated an ability to remain distant from the herd mentality prevalent in Irish journalism.
By inferring that playing for Celtic is "slumming it" insults football people of distinction such as Jimmy Johnstone, Billy McNeill, Bobby Murdoch, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish, Packie Bonner, Henrik Larsson, Jock Stein and Martin O'Neill who spent considerable periods of their careers "slumming it". In a number of their cases, slumming it meant participating in European Cup and UEFA Cup finals.
This is the football club who cracked the famous catenaccio system of Helenio Herrera's Inter Milan. The history of the club is proud and in recent times I have also witnessed Celtic beating European Cup winners such as Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, AC Milan, Juventus, Ajax, Benfica and Porto. This constant sneering towards Scottish football demeans a country which has produced managers such as Busby, Stein, Shankly and Ferguson, and others who have made real contributions to other clubs.
I am well aware of the problems of Scottish football and the financial restrictions under which Celtic are operating but I am optimistic that Neil Lennon's young crop of players are giving us something to look forward to. Despite the popular caricature in your newspaper, we only care about the football and since the first time I entered Parkhead as a seven-year-old in 1979, I have never felt I was "slumming it".
Sweeney sticks to ancient narrative
Eamonn Sweeney's attack on Nigel Worthington must be the finest piece of bigoted journalism for many years, outside of any Sinn Féin or DUP journal of yesteryear (even they have moved on!). So well done Eamonn, for sticking to the ancient narrative of good catholic-bad prod.
Sunday Indo Sport