Friday 24 November 2017

Have your say

UCD have earned place at top table

I am in charge of Gaelic games in UCD. I am also a regular reader of Eamonn Sweeney's articles on a Sunday.

I was taken aback with his comments in relation to the criteria on who should play in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland [Jun 24]. I was amazed that he should question the status of UCD.

While my main concern is that of UCD GAA, I have an abiding interest in sport and have followed League of Ireland since the days of Drumcondra in the league.

I have seen teams come and go in the league and his definition of criteria of feasibility seems to lack logic. UCD participates in over 50 sports at college and also in some cases in national leagues. Our soccer team plays in a well-maintained stadium with a beautiful pitch. They pay their way and are supported by the college, which realises the importance of investment, not just in the academic support but also in the holistic development of students through sport.

This was the brainchild of the late lamented Dr Tony O'Neill, who brought UCD soccer into the league and since his untimely death others have kept UCD in the league.

The logic of judging entry by attendances is flawed because while paying spectators are important they are not the reason league teams fail. The reasons are many -- overspending on wages and managers, the quick fixes of signing ageing players for cup runs, lack of affinity with the area the teams play in are some.

There is also a dislocation between what the FAI want and what is achievable at a local level. The same, sadly, is beginning to happen at club and provincial level in rugby.

The spread of soccer in Ireland would be better served by playing local players and building a local base. I can remember the glory days of Waterford, Cork, Derry, Shels, Rovers and Finn Harps -- they did not fail because of lack of support.

A national league should cater for the development of a team in Kerry, but not three in Galway, it should embrace the Sligos and Limericks of this country but it should also allow for the dream of Dr O'Neill, who wanted his college to cater for lads who came to college and study and play sport rather than be on the boat to England with no education and chance of being a star.

UCD soccer identifies, nurtures and develops players and helps give them a start to develop themselves with both a qualification in sport and academia.

To use the criteria of spectators is too one-dimensional.

I am a GAA lover but I can appreciate the beauty and glory of all other sports. I think UCD are an adornment to the league and an example of how a club should be run -- with support from the college to help infrastructure, just as South Dublin Council support Rovers and Madrid City Council Real Madrid.

I admire the genuine soccer fan in Ireland who supports his local team. I detest the quick-fix investors in clubs who have no affinity to the club in the long run.

Sport is great, however you define it.

Dave Billings

Simplicity key to Spain's dominance

It has often been said that football is a simple game complicated by coaches and tactics. Euro 2012 has confirmed this theory! Spain, particularly in the final against Italy, picked their best 11 players and rewrote the book of formations.

Without a centre-forward, they fully utilised some of the best midfield talent of all-time in Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas and Alonso to mention just four members of a team that proved that keeping possession, winning the ball back immediately and constantly closing down the opposition, is the way to play the beautiful game. Not since Brazil in 1970 has a team dominated a major final in this fashion and it was fitting that just as Pele rolled the ball to Carlos Alberto for the fourth goal in Brazil's triumph that a revitalised Torres should unselfishlessly set up Mata for a tap-in to complete Spain's quartet on the night. The teams that will always remain in my memory for the way they revolutionised the game were a Pele-inspired Brazil in 1970, Johan Cruyff's total football-playing Holland in 1974, Socrates' legendary Brazilian team of 1982 and now Spain 2012. They have dominated the major competitions for six years now, the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments and how anyone could label them as boring is beyond me. They proved that players, not systems, are what create a beautiful game and even though critics might argue that they possess players with exceptional ability, it is the pure simplicity of their game that makes them a joy to watch.

This is the way football should be played and long may they reign. The next time you listen to a manager or coach waffle on about tactics and formations remember the Kiss Principle: Keep it simple, stupid!

Mike Geraghty

Sunday Indo Sport

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