Have your say: Compromise code works both ways
I am replying to Bob Stiles' letter about the International Rules series in last week's sports section [Nov 7] where he spends a great deal of time complaining about Irish people complaining (I wonder does he see the irony of this?)
He states that the International Rules is weighted heavily in favour of Ireland. However, what makes the biggest difference in International Rules is the tackle where Irish players have no experience of tackling like this and in Gaelic football defenders have to make an effort to shadow a player and try and win the ball rather than just hauling a player to the floor like you can do in Aussie Rules and International Rules.
Irish players can't take Aussie Rules-style tackles and can't give them either and it means that many good scoring opportunities for Ireland are prevented that otherwise would have been taken in Gaelic football.
The fact is that the game is a compromise game and Australia and Ireland both have to make adjustments. Australia should be better able to adjust to it as they are professional athletes and are much stronger, fitter and faster than Irish players and have much more time to practise as they don't have to go to work on top of playing football as well.
Fanning wrong on Gerrard's qualities
Much of Dion Fanning's assessment of the current state of Liverpool FC was non-news and uninteresting. However, when it came to team captain, Steven George Gerrard MBE, his assessment and remarks were so outrageous as make one wonder where he was coming from.
Where indeed does he find the justification to pen remarks such as: 'There is growing evidence that his legs are gone', 'he is 30 now and there is no indication that he will be able to replace his explosive force with the wit and intelligence needed to control a match'.
He goes on to refer to Gerrard's reactions being indicative of his restless personality. Then there is the bit that says, 'but the myth that Liverpool was built by Gerrard persists'. Of course the myth was in existence long before Gerrard arrived on the scene. Who in their right mind could believe otherwise, and why should your columnist introduce such a ridiculous notion!
Jamie Carragher recently remarked that Gerrard was Liverpool's greatest ever player. So what does your columnist do, well, he puts his spin on the remark. "There's a case to be made that Carragher, not Gerrard, has been Liverpool's most influential player over the past five years."
Jamie is Liverpool through and through, a fantastic servant to the club, he has given his all, but over the past five years, I believe few will argue that Steven Gerrard is the man who has come to the rescue again when the chips were down. The occasions are too numerous to record here!
The assertion that, "Chelsea are a world away from Liverpool now," may or may not now be as true as it was when it appeared in Mr Fanning's column last Sunday morning. However, what are true, are the words of Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, spoken to reporters following Liverpool's victory over Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. "Gerrard is one of the best players in the world. I would like to manage him one day." Take note Mr Fanning!
I could go on for along time on the outrageous and unwarranted remarks made regarding Steven Gerrard, the footballer, but perhaps I've said enough to at least make Mr Fanning reconsider a point or two.
Shinty shindig an insult to hurling
I wish to comment on the recent debacle which occurred in Croke Park, under the guise of a hurling-shinty international. Shinty is a hockey type game, played on grass and bears no resemblance to the uniqueness of our beautiful game, hurling.
For artistry and pure hand and eye co-ordination, hurling has no equal. Many complete hurlers were also single-handicap golfers, while Christy Ring was an accomplished squash player in his latter years. Squash is a gruelling game unless blessed with a wonderful touch.
The lack of any pre-match build-up speaks volumes for the game's worthiness. Let the footballers (a game for bad hurlers) persist with these monetary enhancing games against Australia but leave hurling out standing in its own field.
It's a wonderful experience for all those players who wore the green shirt, but the GAA should focus on promoting the game at home, as it's one of our few cultural flagships left.