Saturday 24 March 2018

Steady as she goes at Enda the day

In the midst of seemingly endless economic turmoil, our Taoiseach Enda Kenny might do well to recall the advice given to him by Seve Ballesteros some years ago. The occasion remains fresh in the memory of Pádraig ó hUiginn, who was chairman of Fáilte Ireland at the time.

Having realised a lifelong ambition for Kenny, then Minister for Sport, Arts and Tourism, by getting him a pro-am slot with Seve, ó hUiginn was particularly interested in the aftermath. He recalled: "Recognising Enda's disappointment at some uncharacteristically poor shots, Seve offered this advice: 'Check the stance; check the swing; check the stance again; check the swing again.' Then pointing a finger towards his forehead he added: 'And keep your f**king head steady, amigo'."

The former civil service mandarin concluded: "In the current political climate, the latter could be considered very sound advice."

* * * * *

ENGLAND'S strong commitment to visit Dublin for a soccer friendly has been put on hold, due to the Republic of Ireland's date with Estonia next month. Another factor delaying this game -- owed since the Lansdowne riots of 1995 -- is England's game against Holland, cancelled because of the August riots in London. That game is now likely to be played in February.

The next international friendly dates are in May, and any games fixed then will be contingent on the European Championship finals draw on December 2. If Ireland beat Estonia, informed sources say that a friendly against England is more likely to take place on the August or November international dates.

* * * * *

MANAGERS admitting their mistakes is not something we come across too often, so when Southend United boss Paul Sturrock put his hand up and admitted that some changes he made had put the League Two game against Morecambe at risk last week, we wondered if this might be the start of a new trend.

Next thing, Warren Gatland admits that he was tempted to cheat -- and even went so far as to explain the possible methods.

Is there any chance this new form of managerial honesty could catch on? Maybe Trapattoni would admit that playing two against three in midfield against Russia was a mistake, or Jack O'Connor might say that Kerry's attempt to play out time in the All-Ireland final was a mistake, or . . .

The possibilities are endless. Let's hope we won't be disappointed. It would certainly be better than all those tired clichés we've been subjected to for years.

* * * * *

ALAIN ROLLAND has come in for a lot of criticism for doing exactly what we wish all referees would do -- apply the rules (sorry, laws in rugby) in a clear and decisive way.

Wales were understandably hurt and disappointed that they failed to defeat France and book their place in the final, but perhaps they should look a little closer to home for the reasons they lost.

Apart from the closing few minutes when they owned the ball but failed to engineer a drop goal that would have sealed a deserved victory, they can be accused of throwing away two points earlier in the game.

When Mike Phillips burst through the French cover to score the only try of a tight game after 58 minutes, he should have been making every effort to guarantee the two points from the conversion. Instead, he was already celebrating before he got to the line and, from a tighter than necessary angle, Stephen Jones missed.

* * * * *

TIME is running out for clubs to participate in the GAA Oral History Project. The project, being run by Boston College-Ireland, has been gathering stories from clubs around the country since the start of 2010 but will cease collecting material on December 31.

And while the take-up has been strong in many areas, there are still some clubs who haven't claimed their place in what will be a valuable reference work and a great way of preserving the achievements of the ordinary folk who helped to shape clubs all over the country.

Further details are available on

Dermot Gilleece, Seán Ryan

and Fergus McDonnell

Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport