Wednesday 22 November 2017

You have be up early to catch Cummings

YOU could be forgiven for thinking that legendary Australian trainer Bart Cummings is more than a little miffed over the transfer of stable star So You Think to Ballydoyle where he has enjoyed two facile victories ahead of a European campaign which seems likely to culminate in a crack at the Arc.

Asked if he had seen So You Think's latest outing at The Curragh, Cummings ranted against the quality of northern hemisphere racing. "I saw the race this morning," said the 12-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer. "I wouldn't stay up at night for it. The racing over there isn't worth two bob. He met better horses than that here. It might be different when he gets to France; there is better racing there because they don't have bookmakers."

Cummings has long been an opponent of corporate bookmakers who he says are bleeding the industry. "If the sheikh (Sheikh Mohammed) left England, racing would be closed down in a month," he added.

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A pundit, the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, is an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called upon to give their opinions about it to the public. And there are few more frequent, or indeed, willing than Pat Spillane.

And yet, the man never seemingly stuck for a word admitted last week that he has never heard of Niall Donagher. A little bit of homework, Pat, and you would have learned that Donagher has been on the Laois panel for four years and started every league game this year, plus last Sunday's win over Longford.

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NOW children, if you're all sitting comfortably, we'll do a little exercise in value comparison.

Club A decide to bring some of their younger members to today's Carling Nations Cup decider between Ireland and Scotland and notes that the FAI are offering a special deal costing €700. This is broken down as 40 schoolboy tickets at €10 each and 10 adult tickets at €30. That's an average of €14 per person.

Club B decide to bring their youngsters to Croke Park next Sunday to see Meath v Kildare and Laois v Dublin. Their 40 kids cost €3 each, they are allowed to bring one adult free for every 10 under 16s. The other six adults cost €25 each, bringing the total cost to €280 or €5.60 each. You, as the Americans might say, do the math.

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AFTER all that Queen's visit nonsense, not to mention the Obama Is Féidir Linn rubbish, it was left to our loyal football fans in Lansdowne Road to remind us who we really are.

Only 15,092 bothered (or could afford) to be there to witness the Republic's magnificent triumph over the North, but there were enough among their number to show us what it really means to be Irish as President Mary McAleese and the British national anthem were both greeted with a chorus of jeers.

It made us wonder what's the difference between throwing bananas at a coloured player, singing racist songs and jeering another country's national anthem?

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STEPHEN WARD has a habit of marking debuts with goals and, despite lining out at left-back for his Republic of Ireland debut against Northern Ireland, he was quick off the mark. The ex-striker's previous debut goals, he recalled, were on his FAI Cup debut for Bohemians when he scored twice against Skerries Town in 2003, and his first start for Wolves in the Championship when he scored against Plymouth in 2007. Incidentally, because of a condition of his transfer to Wolves, if Ward playes at least 15 minutes against Macedonia next Saturday, Bohemians will be due another €25,000.

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History was made in Meath last week when Kathy Butler became the first woman to referee a championship final in the county.

Butler, a teacher who hails from the Navan O'Mahony's club, refereed the under 14 Division 6 final. A week earlier, she was linesperson at the Meath senior championship game. "Initially I got a few comments about what happened at Sky Sports but apart from a few double-takes there has been very little reaction."

Fergus McDonnell, Marie Crowe and Seán Ryan

Sunday Indo Sport

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