Thursday 22 February 2018

Have your say

Cullen wronged by Kidney's treatment

To those with eyes to see, Leinster have shown the way forward for the Irish national team by proving that an Irish team can play to that standard and mentality. With this in mind, one can imagine how my heart sank when I read the squad announcement for Ireland's upcoming tour to face the All Blacks, in a very rare and opportunity-rich, three-Test series in New Zealand. Despite his inspired leadership and warrior-like presence, Leinster captain Leo Cullen has been deemed surplus to requirements by Declan Kidney.

For this crucial tour (which will not be repeated again for another 12 years), Kidney has instead preferred the under-performing old hand, Donncha O'Callaghan, and the player who was bested by Cullen in the European Cup final, Ulster's Dan Tuohy. Both of these second-rows have been chosen ahead of the captain of arguably the greatest rugby team in European club history. I would ask Kidney's bosses at the IRFU, has Leo Cullen not earned his place in the first XV of the Irish team and why is your chosen head coach unable (or unwilling) to see this?

It is abundantly clear to me that if the Irish national team is to progress and develop to its potential, as Leinster are doing under the inspired leadership of Joe Schmidt and the Leinster Branch, then this Leinster team must form the foundation of the Irish national team. The IRFU's Declan Kidney, however, is determined to ignore this reality and to pretend that it does not exist.

This also raises questions as to how seriously Kidney is preparing to take the upcoming opportunity against the All Blacks; judging by his selections for the tour, Kidney is accepting international defeat in advance. In my view, not only is his apparent approach the polar opposite of how Leinster would approach things, but it may also prove to be a grave insult to New Zealand , who are expecting a challenge commensurate with Irish rugby's domination of northern hemisphere club rugby.

Realistically, if Ireland are to achieve a first-ever Test victory over the All Blacks (which I, as a travelling supporter, will be desperately seeking), the all-conquering Leinster team will have to form the backbone of our challenge. But, as the old saying goes, 'there is none so blind as he who refuses to see'.

John B Reid

Turned off by RTE panel's old formula

With the European Championships approaching, surely it's time our national broadcaster took a fresh look at its coverage of this magnificent tournament. For 22 years we have had the Eamon Dunphy and co show on RTE; at the time it all began Liam Brady was still playing and Jimmy Hill was the BBC's soccer pundit.

Well, times have changed; in the UK the BBC have Lineker, Hanson, Shearer and Dixon, ITV have Roy Keane, Southgate and Townsend, Sky have the excellent Gary Neville, and even our own TV3 have Cascarino and Keown. All of these are young men who have had successful international careers, they understand the modern player; confident in their own abilities they respect their audiences by not force-feeding them their opinions. They accept that most people who view matches have a good understanding of what they are watching.

In contrast, we have been subjected to Dunphy and co for nearly a quarter of a century. These RTE analytic dinosaurs will be stuck rigid to their gold-laden chairs without moving from the studio.

It will be the same old show with Eamon Dunphy judgementally treating his viewers as if they are watching their first match ever; unquestionably he is the star on show rather than the footballers. Once again, he will hysterically criticise and humiliate some players and managers whilst going completely overboard in his sycophantic way in praise of others, all in the name of good soccer punditry. Dunphy, imperious in his knowledge of football, will be there to tell us all what we have just witnessed. I for one won't be hanging on his every word.

Gary O'Connor

Katie's triumph deserved better

I concur with all that Eleana Dunne stated in relation to Katie Taylor [Have Your Say, May 27]. I too have always stated that if Katie was of a different gender she would have received many more accolades from the tv people and sports correspondents as well as possibly having a courtesy car with her name on it.

She certainly is one of Ireland's best athletes and there has been some very notable athletes/boxers in our country down through the years. I am not detracting from Leinster's great win, but to give the best part of five sport pages to same and very little in comparison to Katie's achievement was slightly too much, bearing in mind she was defending her crown in a foreign country where 'home-town' decisions can take place.

Wishing her every success in London. She is a credit to her parents and to her country.

Brendan Cullimore

Sunday Indo Sport

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