Sport Soccer

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Comment: From the stands

Dunne and dusted for Giles' No 2 position

JOHN GILES has come up with plenty of talking points in his new book The Great & The Good, and one of them is his choice of full-backs in his greatest Republic of Ireland team. We don't argue with his picks -- Denis Irwin and Tony Dunne -- but differ with his decision to place Irwin on the right.

Both Irwin and Dunne joined Manchester United as right-backs but ended up playing the bulk of their Old Trafford and Ireland careers at left-back, so it's not a case of which was the better left-back, but which was more suitable to the right.

Shortly after he arrived at United, Irwin was given a right chasing by Liverpool's left-winger John Barnes in a 4-0 Anfield drubbing for United. He survived that season at No 2 but was moved to the left the following season with great success. We don't recall the speedier Dunne ever being taken to the cleaners, so he gets our vote for the No 2 spot. Over to you, John.

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IT'S all there at your fingertips, but be warned -- the internet must be handled with care.

Take the example of The Asian Football Confederation, which had to apologise for referring to the United Arab Emirates football team by a particularly derogatory 'nickname' which we won't repeat here.

The AFC's use of the term on their website prompted outrage in the UAE, with Yousuf Abdulla, the secretary general of their football association, threatening legal action and accusing the governing body of "racist acts".

In an attempt to defuse the row, the AFC issued the following statement: "The AFC apologises for an editorial mistake in which the UAE national team was inadvertently referred to by an inaccurate nickname on the AFC's official website. The error, which was mainly because of referral to a popular web-based encyclopaedia by the concerned editor, was corrected immediately after it was noticed. The AFC would like to apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans."

So drive carefully on the information super highway. Incidentally, we were alerted to this story on the internet -- hope it's true.

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Irish eyes across Asia will turn towards the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, next weekend as teams gear up for the Asian Gaelic Games. The tournament will draw members of the diaspora together and will be a mix of business and pleasure as the event is twinned with the Asia-Pacific Irish Business Forum.

As clubs here cope with the pressure of declining numbers, one of the fastest growing elements within the GAA are games overseas. Six pitches will be filled with talent from across the region, many of whom will be attending both events. Football and hurling teams will consist of nine players and games will last just 20 minutes. The shorter format ensures games are high-energy, tense affairs and an attractive spectacle.

First Derivatives, a financial services software and consulting firm, are one of the main sponsors. The company's chief executive Brian Conlon is a former Down minor and two of the current Down senior panel, Conor Maginn and Aidan Carr, are both members of staff.

Rory O'Rorke, who will line out for Tokyo Gaels, said: "My club are sending three teams in total, two male teams that consist of all Irish players and one female team of Japanese locals which is great to see. The games are proving to be a fantastic opportunity to meet people from the region which helps both socially and in business."

A key element of the event is the combination of the tournament and the business conference and it is hoped that success will be enjoyed both on and off the pitch.

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THIS 'Brian O'Driscoll might go to play abroad' story is getting a bit tedious. It seems to surface every few years and tends to coincide with contract renewal time, which is understandable as that is the only time he could move.

Still, when O'Driscoll refers to a move to Sydney as "certainly not on my radar at the moment," and adds that "it's best to nip these things in the bud," it's worth remembering where the story originated -- in an interview given to an Australian newspaper by Brian O'Driscoll.

Seán Ryan and Fergus McDonnell

ssport@independent.ie

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