Tipp can recover from one bad day
I was surprised to hear that Babs Keating will not attend a Tipp match next year if Lar Corbett is playing.
Babs has always been very free to criticise Tipp players. One remembers his criticism of Liam Sheedy and his players after Cork beat them in 2010, the year Tipp went on to win the All-Ireland. No doubt he inspired Tipp that year like he did when manager of Offaly in 1998 with his 'sheep in a heap' comment and was instrumental in Offaly winning the All-Ireland albeit with a different manager.
Every genuine Tipp supporter is hurting after last Sunday but we must not forget we have been here before, like 1959 when the great team of 1958 was beaten by Waterford with the scoreline of 9-3 to 3-4 in the first round of the championship. I remember 1968 and Babs' outstanding display against Cork (similar to Lar in 2010) and the following year when Cork won by 4-6 to 0-9 and Babs was taken off (a poor day for Babs like Lar's last Sunday).
Tipp's negative tactic backfired very badly against Kilkenny. What is incomprehensible is that the sideline did not act quickly to stop the sideshow. But it's history now and I am very slow to kick a man when he is down and I would encourage Lar Corbett to answer all his critics by giving everything to the league and the championship next year, by the back door if necessary, because it seems more of an advantage with more games to be played.
I have attended Tipp matches since 1956 and have seen a lot of poor days and I have yet to hear of a player who deliberately goes out to lose and I am confident Lar did not against Kilkenny. And, you know what, unlike Babs I will continue to attend, and support the blue and gold next year.
Fanning viewpoint short on balance
I don't know what John Delaney has done to Dion Fanning but there is no doubt that your soccer correspondent has the knives out for the FAI chief executive.
Mr Fanning will probably protest that he is only doing his job and highlighting issues that he feels should be a concern to anybody interested in Irish football. But the problem I have with that is the lack of balance. There is no highlighting the good things that John Delaney, and his staff at the FAI, have done and continue to do all around the country on a daily basis. In fact, I often wonder if Mr Fanning watches any football in Ireland other than senior internationals. I'd safely bet he has never set foot at the Kennedy Cup, never mind a League of Ireland match.
These are testing times for the FAI, nobody is denying that, and it is going to take all of John Delaney's business acumen to steer the association into calmer waters. He'll certainly earn that salary but the crisis facing the FAI is no different to that facing many other businesses in Ireland, including Independent Newspapers. But it is going too far for Mr Fanning to be still banging his drum about Delaney's night out in Poland. That was a clear example of the media blowing something out of all proportion and Mr Fanning should be embarrassed that he is still peddling it because it immediately takes away from the case he is trying to make against Giovanni Trapattoni.
And in relation to Trapattoni, I thought the comments of Rafa Benitez about expectations being too high were spot on. Sometimes, it takes somebody from the outside to tell it as it is.
his sell-by date
It looks as if the cat is well and truly out of the bag again as Giovanni Trapattoni's team continues to lose key players with Damien Duff following Shay Given into retirement, despite the manager's assertion that our big players would stay on after Poland.
In a classic case of trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted, il Trap finally roused himself and taken the short flight to Birmingham to ascertain whether Richard the Lionheart will continue to stand firm at the centre of the Irish defence. Would that he had ventured more frequently from his Milanese base to run the rule over Irish footballers who ply their trade successfully in the English Premiership, yet are considered surplus to the Irish cause.
While Trapattoni instilled discipline and organisation in the Irish team in the aftermath of the ill-conceived Stan Staunton era, it is now clear that his rigid tactics at international level are outdated -- indeed they were probably past their sell-by date when he managed Italy a decade ago.
The FAI are probably wishing they hadn't renewed his contract, but there is a precedent from another Irish World Cup debacle. The IRFU renewed Eddie O'Sullivan's contract prior to the 2007 Rugby World Cup and then had to endure the pain of a failed campaign. It took the IRFU a full Six Nations and a dismal fourth-place finish to finally force Sullivan to fall on his sword -- one hopes the FAI will act more decisively; otherwise the nearest we will get to Rio is Brazil nuts at Hallowe'en!
Sunday Indo Sport