Saturday 24 March 2018

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O'Gara deserved better send-off

Try to imagine the retirement of one of our greatest ever footballers Robbie Keane. Our top goalscorer, second highest number of Irish caps and second in the list of all-time top scorers in the European Championship qualification, not to mention the many, many other achievements in an outstanding career.

The anticipation of my Sunday papers and the cover-to-cover coverage of one of our country's sporting heroes is as strong as any match-winning (can't read about the losses) report. To my horror, there is not a thing, not a paragraph, not a line. That would never happen, you may say, but change the name from Robbie to Ronan from Keane to O'Gara and just such a travesty occurred in your newspaper.

The news came late in the day I thought so next week we will get the sporting goods on one of the greats but again nothing.

Mr Editor, that the biggest-selling Sunday paper did not mark the departure of this man from our playing fields is truly astonishing and here's just a few reasons why. Ronan O'Gara is our all-time top points scorer and has the most Irish caps, he is third in the world for international appearances and fourth for international scores, top Heineken Cup scorer by a massive margin. From your own perspective, however, I think it gets much worse. How many times has his image graced your front, back and middle pages? How many times have his quotes been your headlines and so on. While it's not too late to recognise Ronan O'Gara's contribution to Irish rugby, a bit like my words here I don't expect to read either in next week's edition.

Here's to a great summer of small ball, round and oval ball entertainment.

Seamus Fitzgerald

Dunphy still in minority of one

I would like to make some points regarding Eamon Dunphy's attitude on rte following the Champions League final. He made one of his more ridiculous statements when he said German football was weak, when we had just watched two German teams in the final who put on a very good show. He was also in a minority of one, when he said the game was poor. I watched the panels on Sky and itv later, and they all said it was a good game, as did most of the press reports.

He then put a dampener on the night when he said there are no great players around. What about Messi, Ronaldo, Bale, Van Persie, Suarez, Lahm etc? Liam Brady put him firmly in his place when he named four Munich players who could be described as great. Dunphy also more or less dismissed the hope that next year's World Cup will be good – a year before it has started! I'm not looking forward to listening to him next year.

On another unrelated matter involving rte sports, could they not check their facts on Morning Ireland sports? Darren Frehill, reporting on the play-off final between Palace and Watford, said Paddy McCarthy had a great game for Palace when he wasn't even in their squad and has been injured all season. Also, on the 20th of May, Des Cahill said that match was on that day when it was on the 27th.

Gerry O'Malley

Sweeney wears the crown well

What a brilliant article by Eamonn Sweeney on the Garcia-Woods saga and beyond. He absolutely nailed the core issue and wider issues which the golfing establishment refuse to face up to. Well done, Eamonn – sports columnist of the year for a reason!

Enda O'Riordan

Victory lap has to be curtailed

It's that time of year again when young GAA players all over the country are experiencing the joy of victory and the disappointment of defeat as various underage finals are contested. Somehow, I can't help feeling that defeat is a more desirable outcome to such games when it comes to the safety of children.

I recently observed with the usual stomach-churning horror the latest group of elated youngsters being driven through my home town. This worrying sight is all too familiar as the majority are to be seen hanging out of car windows, clinging on to the door frame or roof for anchorage in a daring act of gravity-defying balance. I'm sure the same is happening all over the country.

The cup of victory is always somewhere to be seen – a symbol of the great joy and euphoria generated by the whole occasion. Sadly, it is only a matter of time before that joy turns to despair and devastation when a child loses its balance and quite possibly its life.

I presume these cars aren't being driven by children but by adults – most likely parents or team mentors – who should know better. Children must be allowed to express their joy on such occasions, but most definitely not in this irresponsible manner.

Paul Clarke

Irish Independent

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