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Shane in drop zone behind Big D's back

Former 2FM DJ and now golf reporter Shane O'Donoghue had a bizarre outing on RTE Radio One's News at One on the day after Darren Clarke won The Open championship. The Tipperary native, now mostly to be seen on CNN, was interviewed by Seán O'Rourke and waxed lyrical about Clarke's achievement -- although his analysis was short on sporting context and long on unbelievable guff about 'key markets', 'global markets', 'commercial markets' and a mystical-sounding place where the streets truly appear to be paved with gold known only as 'Asia'.

What most caught our interest however was this claim from the former Flora frontman: 'I was lucky enough to take a drop out of the Claret Jug last night myself.'

Oh really? If that's the case then we here at FTS can only presume you had a sneaky sip behind big D's back (you don't mind if we call him Big D do you, Shane?) or that big D told the world's media a porky on Monday when he was asked what had been in the trophy overnight:

'Actually, there's been nothing in it overnight at all. I'm a little bit of a traditionalist. I love the thought of whatever being in the trophy, but I'm a little bit of 2-iron as opposed to rescue, and I'm that sort of guy. I feel a bit funny about putting stuff in the Claret Jug that shouldn't be in there, so I'm a little bit more reserved as to what I should do. So there's nothing in it as yet. That may not be the case as the week goes by, but at the moment there's been nothing in there.'

Perhaps Shane or Big D might get in touch to clear up this mystery.

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JOURNALISTS using Twitter really would want to get a grip on themselves. What sort of standards are they applying when we can have a situation such as arose last Wednesday night into Thursday morning with one sports journalist claiming he had it from 'good sources' that Ger Loughnane had passed away and later revealed that this would be confirmed on the morning news.

What's the rush anyway? Do you want to be able to stand outside someone's funeral informing anyone who'll listen that you were the first to announce a death? It also begs the question that if a journalist announces unsubstantiated rumour as fact on Twitter, what process do they go through before writing stories for their paper? Twits indeed.

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Though no figure has been mentioned, the belief is that £2m is to be made available by the Stormont Assembly for a European Tour event at Royal Portrush next year. The move is an official response to the remarkable achievement of Northern golfers over the last 13 months.

But what tournament does Development Minister Arlene Foster have in mind? All the talk so far has been about the Irish Open, but that is rumoured to have Zurich Insurance lined up as sponsor next year. Against that background, would it not be more realistic to revive the British Masters, last staged in 2008 under the Quinn Direct banner?

Given that the event was managed by International Sports Management, to which Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy are attached, one would imagine some contact being made with ISM chief Chubby Chandler. "I've heard nothing," said Chandler in Killarney. Graeme McDowell's manager Conor Ridge had the same, bewildered response.

Two years ago, at the official opening of the Lough Erne Resort, Chandler talked to Ms Foster about such a tournament, possibly under the title Northern Ireland Masters. But nothing happened. And even with the necessary cash now on the table, it seems that just about everybody is in the dark. Very curious.

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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis was unable to contain his anger over the fixture list for the upcoming Serie A season, displaying his disgust by storming out of a TV ceremony announcing the schedule.

Gazetta dello Sport's website showed footage of the film producer hitching a lift from a passerby on a scooter and departing the scene without wearing a helmet.

De Laurentiis said teams involved in Europe should be rewarded with a gentle opening. But the computer threw up a home match against AC Milan in the third round and a visit to Inter Milan in the sixth. "I'm going back to film-making," he said. "This makes me ashamed to be Italian."

John Greene, Dermot Gilleece

and Fergus McDonnell


Sunday Indo Sport