Monday 20 November 2017

Tralee in limbo over FAI lack of dynamism

Have the FAI missed a trick by not allowing Tralee Dynamos into the second flight of the League of Ireland? Tralee fully expected to be allowed into the league after licensing issues were resolved but have been cold-shouldered by the authorities. Cobh Ramblers have suffered the same fate.

This is despite the fact that this year's division one will contain just eight teams, including Wexford Youths, whose future has looked shaky in recent times to say the least, and Salthill Devon, who've finished bottom of the league two seasons in a row since being admitted.

The lunacy of having three Galway teams in the league was obvious from the moment it happened yet the FAI's Fran Gavin said that excluding the comprehensively banjaxed Galway United from this season's competition was "very difficult". In reality, the two Galway teams, Salthill and Mervue United, which remain are still one too many.

Tralee, on the other hand, is one of the biggest towns without a League of Ireland club and the Dynamos have a decent youth structure and, most importantly, were keen to join up. At a time when clubs are dropping out by the new time, should the FAI really be excluding those who want in?

Maybe Tralee would have ended up being the next Kildare County. But they could also have been the next Monaghan United, a club who've defied the prophets of doom for years and are back in the top flight next season. It seems a shame not to have given them a chance.

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IT took a bit of work, but Cricket Ireland's trip to Kenya for a four-day Intercontinental Cup and two one-day internationals got the go-ahead after assurances that security would be tight.

The fixtures, which also include three Twenty20 games, will be played in the Indian Ocean town of Mombasa from February 12-24.

The tour was in doubt following a UK travel advisory on Kenya issued in January over a possible terror attack by the al-Shabaab terrorist organisation of Somalia.

While cricket has been played in Kenya for more than a century, it is only in the last five years that the country's most famous people, the Masai, have been introduced to the game and it seems the experience gained by throwing spears is proving an advantage.

One member of the tribe, Nissan Jonathan Ole Meshami, explained: "Bowling is my greatest asset and my spear-throwing abilities mean I can deliver a cricket ball with some fast pace on it. As a batsman, you only get one chance, one life, but as a bowler I have the opportunity to strike with each ball."

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Is it time to declare open warfare on television commentators who suck the joy out of watching sport by their casual recourse to superlatives?

The Eurosport crew were particularly incorrigible at the Australian Open in Melbourne. A point couldn't pass, it seemed, without a suitably epic endorsement: wow, astonishing, incredible, unbelievable.

Rafael Nadal hit a winner against Roger Federer in their semi-final that was "beyond believable". Federer struck a forehand that was "more than extraordinary". Enough already. It left you pining for the days of Dan Maskell when a simple "Oh, I say" did the job.

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The work done by Dr Emmeline Hill, a scientist based in UCD, in identifying the speed gene in thoroughbred racehorses and then tracing it back to its source, a British mare that lived 300 years ago, not only ensures that Ireland's reputation as a leader in all matters equine continues to soar, but now makes it possible, through a speed gene test, for breeders to accurately predict the optimum racing distance for individual thoroughbred horses.

The thought occurs that one man who will relish this development is the much put-upon handicapper. If trainers can readily identify what distance their horses should be tackling, then surely it will all but eradicate the practice of running them over a variety of distances, ostensibly to figure out their optimum trip. As for the trainers themselves, well they'll surely welcome it too. Won't they?

Eamonn Sweeney, John O'Brien and Fergus McDonnell

Sunday Indo Sport

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