Wednesday 13 December 2017

Olympics base line has hollow ring to it

As the Olympics get under way this weekend, it's worth remembering that there were some spin-off benefits for Ireland.

Of course, there was plenty of dithering which meant that the country certainly didn't make the most of the opportunity of having the Olympics right on our doorstep. Grandiose plans to sell Ireland as a training base for national squads never got off the ground because, well because we had nowhere for them to train.

Where we did have facilities, we were able to attract teams in, the most notable of these being the National Aquatic Centre, which hosted current Olympic champions Hungary, Croatia, Romania, the UK and Montenegro in a tournament earlier this month while the South Korean squad, the UK Paralympic swimming team, the US synchronised swimming team and swimmers from Poland, Venezuela, Surinam and the Cayman Islands have been there.

Ultimately, though, it will go down as an opportunity missed. However, Minister for Sport Michael Ring pointed out last week that Ireland's business community fared considerably better. To date, he said, €300m worth of contracts have been secured by Irish companies and that the final value will be in the region of €500m.

The minister also said the excellence of Irish industry has been recognised because already some of those companies have gone on to win non-Olympic-related work in the UK market.

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Carlos Tevez has had many low points in his football career but none can surely compare to his carry-on at Royal Lytham & St Annes during the final round of the Open last week.

The Argentinian striker with a feeling for controversy caused a bit of a stir when he caddied for his fellow countryman Andres Romero, and it appears that his behaviour on the course has put all his previous antics in the shade.

So much so that one official, the R&A championship committee chairman Jim McArthur, has said action may have to be taken. "I think we may need to look at this particular case," he said. "The strange thing for me was that he (Tevez) never put the bag down, so when he was standing on the green he was carrying the bag all over the place. It's just absolute madness."

Just awful. Although R&A chief executive Peter Dawson was more sanguine. "It was pretty interesting, because of the big crowd following the group, that golf fans and football fans may overlap a little more than I had realised. It's not a bad thing perhaps."

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One of the questions on a recent survey of Irish tv viewers asked you to name your all-time favourite theme tune and, surprisingly, only one sports programme made it into the final list.

The survey, carried out by Sky Ireland, found that 12 per cent chose Match of the Day as their top tune. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a split between males and females, with 18 per cent of males selecting it, compared to seven per cent of females. The most popular theme tune of all was -- no kidding -- Friends.

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Manchester City's academy team will be one of the big attractions at this year's Umbro Galway Cup, which begins on August 8 when the Republic of Ireland take on Aberdeen.

This underage competition, now in its eighth year, will see almost 50 teams from nine countries battle it in a hectic schedule of 120 matches over four days. Drom Soccer Park, home to Salthill Devon FC, will once again play host to the tournament, which consists of five sections -- the 1995 Cup, 1997 Elite, 1997 Boys, 1999 Boys and 1999 Elite.

The 1997 Elite Competition is set to provide some of the most standout matches the tournament has ever seen. After the Republic of Ireland open proceedings, the first Russian representation in the cup, Dynamo Moscow, will face Norwegian club Valerenga. Manchester City take on Maccabi Haifa in their first outing, and will also play the following day against Dublin team, St Kevin's Boys.

John Greene

Sunday Indo Sport

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