Friday 15 November 2019

National Knuckle Rapper on overtime

AN TAOISEACH of this great little country must be disgusted that someone is being paid public money to write an inaccurate speech while someone else is being paid public money to deliver it. Or maybe not.

Enda Kenny's assertion that Michael Collins had "brought Lenin himself to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked" was rightly highlighted on RTE's Morning Ireland last Thursday. I mean, this kind of error should not be tolerated. If the taxpayer is forced to fork out for an institution that is overstaffed with the overpaid, then the least they can expect is high standards.

"Some speech writer is likely to get a rap on the knuckles," they suggested. Unlikely, we thought. Playing fast and loose with taxpayers' cash is something of a national pastime.

Incidentally, Morning Ireland neglected to highlight the item in their own show the previous Thursday when Cathal MacCoille, interviewing CEO of Paralympics Ireland Liam Harbison, came out with the following gem: "We all remember the Paralympics here, an unforgettable event. How important for everyone with special needs in the country . . . with a special talent . . ."

Mr Harbison was kind enough to explain the difference between the Paralympics and the Special Olympics. He deserves a gold medal for patience. The National Knuckle Rapper must be fierce busy.

* * * * *

THE logistics surrounding next Saturday's Notre Dame v Navy colleges' football match in the Aviva Stadium are nothing short of mind-boggling.

Of the 48,000 tickets available for the match, 25,000 were sold through the Navy and Notre Dame ticket offices. Notre Dame (as the visiting team) received 7,500 tickets and these were offered via a lottery to the 14,700 supporters who applied for them; 13,000 tickets were sold in Dublin. The game will be televised live in the US by CBS, while ESPN America will air it in 66 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Everything has been taken into consideration, including the fact that the lockers in the stadium, while fine for rugby and soccer players, are considered too small for their bigger American football counterparts.

But perhaps the most impressive stat of all is the fact that the match will generate tens of millions for the Irish economy. All that remains to be decided is what to do with the cash.

* * * * *

ACCRINGTON STANLEY manager Paul Cook spoke of Sligo as a "real football town" during his successful stint there, but it seems he has his work cut out to make the same claim for his present port of call.

For their home game last Tuesday, which put them top of League Two, Accrington could only attract 1,946 paying customers, while Sligo Rovers, the night before, drew 2,375 for their game with UCD.

Accrington's nearest rivals, Blackburn and Burnley, were not at home that night, but Sligo were up against the live TV action from Everton v Man Utd. Sligo's match sponsors were, we kid you not, the Sligo branch of the Liverpool Supporters' Club. Cook, a true Scouser, would have appreciated that.

* * * * *

Businesses aren't the only ones affected by the economic downturn, Sports Clubs are too. But amidst the struggles to survive, there's a positive story emanating from League of Ireland Club Drogheda United.

The most significant recent development at the club is the transfer of ownership to the Drogheda United Members' Club. A sizeable number of supporters have paid €1,000 each to become members, and it is they who now set the future direction of the club, says chairman Jim Agnew: "As a club we know how important fundraising is, and we want to make it easy for our supporters, no matter where they lived. We also want to communicate with them properly so that everyone feels a part of what we are trying to achieve at the club. For this we need to be effective and efficient, so we engaged www.myclubfinances.com and on August 3, we went live on www.droghedaunited.ie with club membership and lotto."

A great testament to the site's success came less than a week in when a Drogs supporter in Western Australia purchased club membership, which just couldn't have happened without the club being online.

Fergus McDonnell, Seán Ryan

and John Greene

ssport@independent.ie

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