| 13.5°C Dublin

NFL: Redskins' star Griffin soars over first hurdle

This day last week Robert Griffin III, or RG3 as he's rather fetchingly nicknamed, made one of the greatest debuts in the history of the NFL. The rookie quarterback threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns as his Washington Redskins side scored a surprise 40-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

This time last year Griffin wasn't even on the radar. All the talk was about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (now at Indianapolis Colts) and Alabama running back Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns), Griffin, at unsung Baylor University in Waco, Texas, didn't even seem like a contender. Indeed there was still speculation that his future lay as a hurdler -- he'd run 13.46 for the 110m event and 49.56 in the 400m, times which would have got him into the Olympic semi-finals even though he was only a 17-year-old high school student when he set them in 2007.

Instead, Griffin, born in Japan where his parents were stationed as US Army sergeants and reared in Texas, went on to win the Heisman Trophy for the outstanding player in college football, throwing 37 touchdown passes and running for 10 in 13 games. The NFL may well have a LeBron James type superstar on its hands. It's worth tuning in to Sky's American Football coverage just to see how things work out for this extraordinary all-rounder

* * * * *

COMPARE and contrast: two young Northern Irishmen, James McClean and Rory McIlroy. One desperate to play for the Republic of Ireland, the other leaning towards the UK.

Critics of McClean's Tweet after the Kazakhstan game should recall the saying: 'Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser', and be glad that a warrior like McClean is on their side. That should especially be noted by management and players.

As for McIlroy, ultimately he is likely to reside in the US, and the Yanks can then campaign to have him in their 2020 Olympic team.

* * * * *

Notre Dame followed up their rout of Navy at the Aviva Stadium with a 20-17 win over Purdue in South Bend -- courtesy of a field goal with seven seconds left.

Starting the campaign with two victories is a big turnaround for the Irish, who lost their opening two games last season. Perhaps they have been inspired by their trip to Dublin, although the stats point to a far more obvious cause for the improvement: 10 turnovers in the first two games last season, compared to just two so far.

Navy, meanwhile, had a weekend off to pick themselves up ahead of last night's visit to Penn State.

* * * * *

IN the early 1990s, just after Roy Keane was signed by Manchester United for a then-record fee, he was asked if he expected to be as influential in midfield for Ireland as he was with United. "Not the way we play," was his blunt response.

James McCarthy please note, as history seems to be repeating itself. However, Keane's perseverance paid off as, under a new manager (Mick McCarthy who succeeded the Trapattoni-like Jack Charlton), he was eventually able to express himself playing for Ireland and was largely instrumental in leading us to World Cup qualification in 2002.

* * * * *

Croke Park was awash with Premier League footballers for last weekend's All-Ireland hurling final and the spectacle left them in awe and wanting more. Liverpool legends Robbie Fowler, Jason McAteer and Steve McManaman watched from a private box and had their money on Galway to win the Liam MacCarthy.

Alan Shearer was also in attendance and also shouting for Galway. During the game, he tweeted: 'Just watching the All Ireland Hurling Final it's crazy! Sort of like a cross between Hockey and Second Degree Murder! #Galwaytowin'.

* * * * *

Former Clare footballer and All Star Seamus Clancy will lead a group of cyclists on a charity cycle next Saturday through North Clare in aid of Cystic Fibrosis. The cycle will take in the Burren, the Atlantic coast and Fr Ted's house and there are different routes to suit all abilities. All information can be found on www.tlc4cf.com.

Eamonn Sweeney, Marie Crowe, Seán Ryan and John Greene

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Indo Sport