Sport Rugby

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Why can't we all just get along?


Hassan and Hussein, the once conjoined twins, arrived home to Cork yesterday. The brothers are in great form and we are all thrilled 'the Little Fighters' are over the worst.

This is the good news story but alas and well may Erin weep for the little fighters who are fighting each other all over the land.

There's hardly a week goes by than there isn't some GAA flare-up.

The 'underhand handpass' rule has all the appearance of a resolution that was written out on the back of a fag box and passed up to the top table. The reality is that it was submitted by a county board and all proper procedures were adhered to but the wording makes no sense.

How can you pass a ball under your hand? A double-jointed three-card-trick man couldn't manage it. The managers went mad. The GAA are pragmatists. Expect 'a clarification' of the rule soon.

Oh but didn't former Laois player Colm Parkinson stir it up when he described Mick O'Dwyer as a bluffer? Such was the rush to defend Micko, you would be forgiven for thinking the Pope had declared him blessed as a prelude to the first inter-vivos canonisation. Meanwhile, Micko kept a dignified silence as he emptied his pockets of All-Ireland medals and Leinster titles.

Pat McQuaid, world cycling supremo, lashed disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis for alleging Lance Armstrong took drugs.

Pat found an unlikely ally in Clare hurler Tony Griffin who knows for a fact Lance is clean because Lance told him so. In the latest twist, Landis says he was present when Lance gave blood for storage in his apartment and that it was hardly kept for making black puddings for the cannibal market. McQuaid, who has battled against the drug culture in cycling for years, maintains Landis holds a grudge. Cycling is clean now, he says. Armstrong denies the charges.

The FAI and Limerick are fighting over the refusal to allow Limerick to play Barca. You could call it 'Thomondgate' but 'Messi' just about sums it all up. At least it takes the spotlight off the infantile xenophobes who seem to ignore the fact over 80pc of French people were appalled at Henry's behaviour. If ye want to pick a fight, get some far-away country like Papua or Armenia which does not have direct ferry links to Ireland.

Then there are the fighters who fight for medals. The Sports Council are refusing to fund boxing's newly-appointed CEO and High Performance Director. Head coach Billy Walsh has been acting HP director for the last few years but he wasn't given the permanent job and the Sports Council is obviously in his corner. Walsh, too, lets the jingle of medals do his talking: three at the last Olympics, a world youth title, nine senior European medals and Katie Taylor's world title. Could we bring in Don King to broker a truce?

There are several other battles going on such as the frictions between the Olympic Council of Ireland, the Sports Council and Athletics Ireland which will probably flare up again after the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona. What will they think of us at all in Catalonia? Horse Racing Ireland wants to tax online betting and pump the money back into racing.

Paddy Power say the tax will force them out of Ireland. Both sides are lashing into each other.

Then there's the Equestrian Federation, where the hardest jump is getting on with each other. There are rumours too of discontent from Cork because the Irish hockey squad have been asked to move to Dublin. The perennial struggle between coursing and the anti-blood sports and the ongoing conflict between the Greens and The Ward Union Hunt will go on forever. The Yo Yo Association has had its ups and downs. Made that up. Thought you needed a brief furlough behind the trenches before the rugby.


I have to say the Greens make me nervous when they get involved in sport. You'd sort of half expect them to ban the Garryowen because it damages the ozone layer or horse racing because the nags pass wind, but there may be some merit in Eamon Ryan's 'cracked' proposal to list the Heineken Cup as free to air on TV. In France, the final is free to air when a French team is involved. We can see a way out for Ryan here.

The Six Nations TV rights come up for grabs in 2013 and it could well be that Sky will offer so much money the IRFU will be unable to turn them down, particularly in the times that are in it. The Six Nations must be kept free to air. It's part of our heritage. We rarely sit on the fence. There's no room anyway what with the sports minister and half her colleagues there but it's impossible to figure who is right or wrong in some of the above. There are more claims and counterclaims than you would find in the divorce courts. Ego, control, personality clashes, infidelity, money and a lack of communication cause most of the bother, as is the case in marriage.

Let's start the peace talks with this piece of wise advice given to a footballing friend who was undergoing marriage counselling: "Solo runs should be kept on the pitch."

Irish Independent

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