Tuesday 24 October 2017

Tommy's Royal slip warrants a pardon

FROM THE STANDS

First things first – we think Tommy Carr is a very good pundit. His words are carefully chosen, and he has a fine insight into Gaelic football. He is clearly a man who thinks about what he's going to say.

But last Sunday, for a moment, he was none of those things when he said on RTE Radio 1's Sunday afternoon programme that Meath's demise on the football field was at least in part due to the fact that former players are not getting involved.

Sadly for Tommy, this is far from the case. A quick look at the recent involvement of former players reveals the following: Colm Coyle, Tommy Dowd, (senior management team 2007-2009); Donal Curtis, Robbie O'Malley (senior management team 2009-2010); Liam Harnan, Cormac O'Sullivan, Des Lane (under 21 management team 2011-12), Pádraig Lyons (under 21 management 2013); Kevin Foley (part of minor management team in 2012); Andy McEntee, Finian Murtagh, Pádraig Coyle (current minor management team); Barry Callaghan, Graham Geraghty, Liam Harnan (senior management team 2011-12); Mick O'Dowd, Trevor Giles (current senior management team). Seán Kelly and Colm Brady are also currently involved with the seniors, having had previous stints, while Colm O'Rourke has managed the minor and under 21 teams. Of this list, only the current manager, Mick O'Dowd, has not won an All-Ireland medal.

But we have sympathy for Tommy on this one, because the 'all-new' Sunday afternoon show presented by Darren Frehill and Jacqui Hurley is dreadfully dull and formulaic. But while the rest of us can change channel, Tommy – sitting in the studio – can't, so we're putting his unusual slip-up last week down to a momentary lapse of reason.

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While much focus was on Longford's spirited eviction of Dublin from the Leinster under 21 football championship on Wednesday night, some alarm bells should accompany Wicklow's 2-8 to 6-11 loss to Laois on the same evening. Three years ago, the corresponding minors only lost to Laois by a point and last year Wicklow defeated Laois in the minor championship but the under 21 loss will surely trigger debate about performance levels in the Garden County. Two years ago, Wicklow suffered a 22-point beating from Longford in the under 21 championship.

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IRELAND'S rugby women certainly put their menfolk in the shade when they claimed their first Triple Crown as the men laboured in the doldrums.

It's a strange fact of sporting history, in recent times, that the women come on strong when the men are in disarray.

The Gaelic football scene is the classic case in point: the women of Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Mayo, Laois and Monaghan all took up the baton when their countymen were struggling. That Kerry, Cork and Dublin subsequently won the Sam Maguire offers hope to their rugby brethren.

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Tenpin bowling is celebrating its 50th year in Ireland and to commemorate the occasion Tenpin Bowling Ireland together with the top bowling centres in the country have put together a year-long programme of events.

This week has been designated National Tenpin Bowling week and as part of the celebrations all schools will be able to avail of free bowling for their students up until next Friday. See www.bowlingforall.ie.

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Now that the European Indoors are over and the outdoor season is around the corner, it's fair to say that the dust has well and truly settled after the London Olympics. Upon reflection, the shambolic 4x400m women's relay scenario is still baffling.

But what's even more so, is the absence of Catríona Cuddihy. Cuddihy was the athlete who was controversially selected for the relay team ahead of the younger, faster Joanna Mills. So far this season, Cuddihy hasn't competed and is not expected to for the rest of the year because of study commitments.

After the disappointment of not going to London, Mills declared for Great Britain.

It seems Athletics Ireland's loss really was Athletics Ireland's loss.

John Greene, Marie Crowe and Seán Ryan

ssport@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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