Have your say
Just wanted to drop a few lines to compliment you and say well done on a beautifully written article on Shane Curran [Hold the Back Page, Feb 24]. I am a St Brigid's man so I have to live with the living legend that is Cake and he has kept us royally entertained from the most mundane O'Rourke Cup league game to high-octane championship games.
I have seen him do cartwheels over balls dribbling harmlessly wide, chesting and catching point attempts dropping short and flapping the arms of hapless umpires to signal a ball wide. With Shane you never know what he will do next and it's great to have a character like that around.
But you got him right – behind all the messing is a fabulously gifted ball player and a successful businessman. Thanks for the good wishes on St Patrick's Day and we too sincerely hope that Shane will be rewarded with the medal he craves so badly. If passion could win on its own, we would be home and dry. HTBP is always a must on a Sunday morning and keep up the good work.
Magee deserves far better than low blow
I enjoyed last Sunday's warm tribute by Eamonn Sweeney in his 'Hold the Back Page' column to GAA goalkeeper Shane Curran, celebrating his club St Brigid's beating one of the most well-known clubs in the country, Crossmaglen Rangers, to reach the All Ireland club final on St Patrick's Day.
I wish Shane and the team the best of luck. The photo of his arms out wide as he ran full of the joys at his team reaching the Promised Land is one of those that will be catalogued forever in the media sports files.
I enjoy Eamonn every week, but I don't always agree with all he writes. I thought he was way too hard on his colleague in sports journalism, Jimmy Magee, on his commentary of the National Stadium's recent boxing contest between Joe Ward and Kenny Egan.
Eamonn lambasted Jimmy for his mistakes and for saying things like how Kenny Egan was bravely taking on the punches of Joe Ward who won. But that is what Jimmy Magee has always done. He knows the family, relations and friends of boxers are watching at home and he tries to emphasise the positives, even when the boxer is heavily losing. It is giving sports people their dignity. Maybe he had an off night in observing some of what was happening in the fight, but I thought it was unnecessary to go down on him like a ton of bricks.
I watched Irish boxer Katie Taylor's Olympic Gold-winning fight against her Russian opponent in London 2012 and it was a closely matched contest right to the end. I thought Jimmy called it right in how the fight was going. We can all have off moments and I think Eamonn was too harsh on Jimmy. As they say in boxing, it was below the belt.
Heaslip's alma maters to DCU
In the 'Have Your Say' section last Sunday [Feb 24], the offering titled 'Wishing Kidney a Waterloo moment' finished on a self-indulgent tone with the line: "Naturally, we shall be led onto the field by a captain from Dublin University." A simple fact-check would have revealed that Jamie Heaslip is in fact a graduate of Dublin City University School of Engineering. DCU, not Dublin University (aka Trinity College Dublin, TCD).
Blue majority bites back in Manchester
I write in response to Michael McMullan's less-than-scientific analysis of United and City's fan base in and around Manchester [Feb 24].
Stating that "all of the lads were MU supporters and some of them season-ticket holders" in Stretford/Chorlton is like saying that there are a lot of Jewish people in Israel. Rusholme is not in the east of the City (as incorrectly claimed) which is undeniably blue, but, in any event, basing an entire area on the basis of the allegiance of the pupils of one school is plain nonsense.
Back in the late sixties when both teams dominated the top division, as they do again now, it was widely accepted by fans and players on both sides that Manchester was 75pc blue.
Mr McMullan saves his best till last. Stockport County have never had, do not have and likely will never have any MU supporters. County's Friday night crowds were swelled by City fans like me. City and Stockport fans have always enjoyed a close relationship as a result.
Stockport was and is an overwhelming blue town which is why MU fans disparagingly refer to City fans in some of their less monosyllabic chants as "Stockports".