Saturday 20 January 2018

Ringsend's finest put one over on Sam

From the Stands

Dublin's Jonny Cooper lifts the Sam Maguire
Dublin's Jonny Cooper lifts the Sam Maguire

NOT every All-Ireland Senior Football Championship trophy is on display in the Croke Park Museum. At least one is in the National Museum in the old Clancy Barracks. It was donated by a former soccer international -- and it has a direct link with Sam Maguire.

Won by Dublin in August 1903, the 1901 final was a triumph for Ringsend club Isles of the Sea. The trophy remained in their possession for many years until Denis Doyle, a son of Thomas Doyle, who had played in the final, bought it and put it on display in his home in Canada.

Denis, who played for Ireland in the FAI's first international against Italy in 1926, subsequently donated the trophy to the National Museum -- and the soccer connection doesn't end there. Two of the Ringsend team had grandsons -- Ray Treacy and Jackie Mooney -- who were capped for Ireland, while another member of the team, Val Harris, became a soccer legend with Shelbourne, Everton and Ireland when he concentrated on soccer in 1903 after his club was suspended by the GAA for its use of soccer players.

The Sam Maguire connection? He was the captain of the London team which lost that 1901 final to Dublin and Isles of the Sea.

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While the sight of Mitchell Johnson bowling at speeds in excess of 90mph during last week's Test Match at Adelaide was spectacular to watch, From the Stands was a little less enthused by the sight of the new stands surrounding the ground. Adelaide was once the prettiest Test ground in Australia with its grass embankments and iconic views of St Peter's Cathedral and the Adelaide skyline. It is what marked it out from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But this is now all changed and its unique personality is lost with the new 50,000 seater stands, darkened windows and corporate boxes.

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WHEN you're heading out to a race that requires you to bring a first-aid kit (including at least one dressing pad for heavy bleeding), a survival bag, a head torch with battery power for 12 hours, extra socks and footwear and a fully-charged mobile phone, you know you're definitely in for more than a trot around the Phoenix Park.

The Art O'Neill challenge is no ordinary trek, and although not for the faint-hearted, the organisers pride themselves on making it accessible to as many people as possible.

The event commemorates the escape from Dublin Castle on January 6, 1592 of Art O'Neill, his brother Henry, and Red Hugh O'Donnell. They hoped to reach the relative safety of the remote Glenmalure Valley over 50km away, but they were ill-equipped and underfed and Art O'Neill died from exposure only miles from his goal.

Participants will set off from Dublin Castle at a minute to midnight on the night of January 10 and while some people will plot their own route with the aid of GPS and a compass, there are also guides available for all or part of the route which takes between 12 and 17 hours to cover. Not surprisingly, Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue will be on standby for the challenge and your €100 entry fee includes a donation to the service.

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IT'S difficult to argue with Antrim County secretary Frankie Quinn when he says that the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship final "has been handled in a shambolic fashion".

Down, who defeated Derry in their semi-final on July 7, will try to deny Antrim a 12th consecutive title in the match which has now been deferred until the new year.

"Having offered to play the game on July 13 or 20, we received no reply," said Quinn at the Antrim Convention. "The next we heard was the Ulster final was fixed for early November in a time period in which rule prevents county players from training or playing games. At all times Antrim were committed to playing this game but I must say that it has been handled in a shambolic fashion."

His counterpart in Down, Seán óg McAteer, says in his report that they too "wanted to play the game" and that they "were willing to play the game in 2013, we are still willing and keen to play the game as early as possible in 2014".

So if both sides were so keen to play this game, there is one obvious question: why hasn't it been played?

Fergus McDonnell, Seán Ryan and Pat Coffey

Irish Independent

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