| 4.7°C Dublin

Taylor and McGrath relive Villa double act

MUCH has been made down the years about the impact Graham Taylor had on Paul McGrath when the pair were together at Aston Villa, a time when the Irishman played the best football of his life.

McGrath of course has always credited Taylor with resurrecting his career when he brought him to Villa Park from Manchester United and his admiration for the former England manager is well known.

Still, when Newstalk reunited the pair on air yesterday afternoon, it made for great listening. It has always seemed that Taylor's true persona was a far cry from that portrayed by the English media during his ill-fated spell in charge of their national team and this was reinforced yesterday.

He was refreshingly honest all through the interview, like in this exchange:

GT: "Paul McGrath was an absolutely first-class player and arguably was the best player that I ever signed in my club managerial career."

PMcG: "Oh, eh . . . very nice to hear, oh . . ."

GT: "Now I don't want you to start crying, don't now . . ."

PMcG: "There's a few tears dropping out now . . ."

GT: ". . . well I think that needs saying."

It wasn't all just a love-in either. As Taylor noted: "This is getting a bit too pally. I can remember a bad game you had." And he could too, two of them in fact, one against Crystal Palace when he was "destroyed" by Ian Wright and Mark Bright.

Then there was the day he was driving McGrath to meet the media after he signed for Villa. "That was the day when I thought, 'have I made a mistake here?'"

* * * * *

We know here at From the Stands that tickets for sporting events don't come cheap. So there was no surprise when the FAI advertised their tickets for the Carling Nations Cup game between Ireland and Wales at €35 and €50, depending on where you want to sit.

In fact, we didn't really give it a second thought until we noticed further down in the same ad that you could go and see Northern Ireland play Scotland for just €20 -- wherever you sat. We're not exactly certain what message this sends out, but we sure are confused.

* * * * *

Since the rule making the wearing of a helmet compulsory came into effect two years ago, it's become almost impossible to see hurlers' faces and as a result they are losing the recognition factor.

A new website, www.irishbettingtips.ie has taken that on board and along with betting tips is providing extensive video interviews with prominent GAA stars so that we can get to know them better.

The first player to take centre stage is JJ Delaney and the Kilkenny superstar reveals some of his innermost thoughts to the camera. For instance, he'd like to be in Tommy Walsh's head for a day, just to see what goes on there, he loves the teenage mutant ninja turtles and his nickname is Jeff.

Delaney's video will be followed by similar ones with Tipperary's Shane McGrath, Limerick's Gavin O'Mahony and Walsh himself, to name but a few.

We wonder if Walsh would like to get inside Delaney's head for a day.

* * * * *

Amidst the Sky sexism controversy Jemma Keys, daughter of Richard Keys, was the first member of the Keys family to break their silence.

She told the Daily Mirror on Wednesday that her dad had apologised to Sian Massey and chatted to Karren Brady on the phone. "They had a good chuckle about it," she said.

But according to Daddy Keys, who spoke to talkSport radio on that Wednesday afternoon, he had phoned Brady and sent her a text but that she had ignored him. In fairness, Jemma, is an actress, so maybe she was just practising a few lines and someone somewhere got their wires crossed.

Given that Brady later branded Keys a "dinosaur", and noted that "perhaps Richard thought I was too busy making the tea and washing up to take his call", it's unlikely they'll be having a "good chuckle" about it any time soon.

Marie Crowe


Sunday Indo Sport