Thursday 26 April 2018

Top scout Wallace snapped up by Pat's

EDDIE WALLACE is one of those true football men who do their business under the radar on the League of Ireland scene.

"The best talent spotter in the business," according to St Patrick's Athletic manager Pete Mahon, Wallace has been responsible for introducing a string of talented youngsters to clubs like St Francis, UCD, Bray Wanderers and Bohemians.

Rarely does he receive any recognition for his scouting, which has unearthed gems like former UCD striker Conor Sammon, who was sold by Kilmarnock to Premier League Wigan in January for a big fee. However, Mahon, having worked with him at St Francis and UCD, knows his worth and has appointed him to the staff at St Pat's.

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One thing that won't be seen at the Solheim Cup when it comes to Killeen Castle on September 23 to 25 is the advertising of alcohol, cigarettes or, perish the thought, reproduction-related products. This is because the Solheim family, founders and global partners of the biennial event, are Mormons who insisted that such a clause would be part of the conditions of the tournament.

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In the last couple of years Ireland has been gripped by the triathlon craze -- so much so that it has become the country's fastest growing 'sport'.

An estimated 15,000 watched triAthlone last weekend and next up on a triathlon calendar, which is becoming ever more crowded, is the Two Provinces Triathlon next Saturday. Like last weekend, the majestic Shannon will play its part in the event being held in Lanesboro (Co Longford) and Ballyleague (Co Roscommon).

Already 200 athletes have signed up to take part in the sprint triathlon which includes a 750m swim in the Shannon, a 20km cycle and a 5km run. The event, being run by the local Lanesboro Triathlon Club, also offers a relay option for beginners or those who like to focus on just one event.

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After Joe Sheridan's dive over the line in last year's Leinster final there was little doubt that he had some rugby genes buried somewhere. And it turns out his rugby connections are much stronger than initially expected.

Sheridan's first cousin Eamonn is one of the 18 players selected for the Leinster Academy for the forthcoming season. The talented centre, who is in year three of the academy, will follow in the footsteps of a host of Leinster stars such as Seán O'Brien, Jonathan Sexton and Fergus McFadden, who all came through the much-vaunted underage set-up in recent years.

Sheridan played minor football for Seneschalstown before deciding to concentrate on rugby. The 22-year-old has already lined out for Ireland at under 18 and under 20 level and made three appearances for the province in last season's Magners League.

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Just as the likes of Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova prompted a re-evaluation of women's tennis in comparison to the men's game, so Claire Taylor, who last week announced her retirement from international cricket, may have begun something similar.

In 2009, she became the first, and so far only, woman to receive one of the sport's most coveted individual honours, being named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year. She was also given an MBE.

On the field Taylor, 35, was an accomplished batter, helping England to win two World Cups, and last month her final t20 appearances for her country were broadcast on Sky Sports, as part of its coverage of the quadrangular tournament between England, India New Zealand and Australia, a tournament England won. Last week, in her final 50-over international, she helped England beat Australia by 34 runs.

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Following the epic fisticuffs brought down on Chris Ashton by Manu Tuilagi in their Aviva Premiership semi-final, their reunion for England duty was always going to be awkward.

But it was Tuilagi who took the initiative in mending their relationship, opting for the decidedly modern approach of proposing a quiet 'man-date' between the two.

"We had a night out together. We watched Transformers . . . Romantic," he recounted, undoubtedly already wondering how he's going to up the ante for the second date. From the Stands recommends a trip to the zoo followed by ice-cream sundaes.

Seán Ryan, Conor McGee

and John Chambers

Sunday Indo Sport

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