Friday 23 March 2018

Weekend Takeaways

Marler: Lions education. Photo: Sportsfile
Marler: Lions education. Photo: Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Stranded fan gets pampered

No matter how devoted a fan you are, always, ALWAYS check your hotel locations on the old Google machine, folks.

Libby Coppinger of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile
Libby Coppinger of Cork. Photo: Sportsfile

That's the lesson learned from Davey Drew, a devoted fan of British League One side Walsall.

Ahead of his side's clash with Portsmouth, Drew took to Twitter to delight in the hotel he'd secured just "11 miles from Pompey and absolute bargain".

But not long before Saturday's game he tweeted a message to the club that read: "Any chance you could delay kick-off, I've had a mare," complete with horrified emojis. Turns out the '11 miles' was as the crow flies.

The bargain hotel was actually situated across on the Isle of Wight, as one of Drew's expletive-ridden tweets revealed, complete with his view off the back of a ferry.

But all's well that ends well.

The game was a 1-1 draw, Walsall midfielder Joe Edwards offered to pay his fare across The Solent and manager Jon Witney told BBC he will chip in as well.

It also looks like Davey might be getting to meet the players and make a half-time appearance at an upcoming home game for his devotion. What's the betting they present him with a laminated map of Britain?

Lay-off sees teams go cold

A lot has been written about turnarounds and lay-offs in men's GAA but it looks like winning a provincial title is not ideal either in women's Gaelic football, given the latest All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Donegal, with their blitzing full-forward line, were tipped to have a lash at the Brendan Martin after pushing Cork in the Division One league final and winning Ulster.

Ditto Galway, who had a decent run in the league and won the Connacht final, but both are now out after losing to Mayo and defending champions Cork respectively.

Both had seven-week breaks since their July 2 provincial finals while their victors went through the back-door and had last played two weeks ago, adding grist to the mill about the precariousness of long lay-offs.

Also underlined was the danger of writing off Cork's legendary Rebelettes who, allegedly, were 'in transition' after losing legends like Deirdre Reilly, Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery and stuttering in Munster.

They had released Libby Coppinger to All-Ireland semi-final camogie duty (a clash that drew a lot of criticism) but her double-dream is still on as their camogs toughed out a serious arm-wrestle with Galway and will meet defending champions Kilkenny in a repeat of the 2016 camogie final..

Preston fawn over Maguire

Cork City may still be struggling since his departure and sharp-shooter Sean Maguire may still be chasing his first competitive goal for Preston North End, but he already appears to have won over their fans.

Jordan Hugill was named man of the match after their 1-0 defeat of Reading on Saturday but the PNE 'Fans' Panel' reckoned Maguire should have got the gong for "an outstanding game for us, laying on the goal and being a real thorn in the Royals' side".

He was also the cover story for their second match programme, 'The One & Only' but, given his recent Ireland squad call-up, he badly wants to get on the score-sheet to impress Martin O'Neill.

Having visited the club last winter this column can highly recommend a trip to Deepdale if you want to support its huge current Irish contingent which has just lost Greg Cunningham to injury.

Grab a cheap flight to Manchester airport which has direct train links to Preston and a taxi from the train station to the ground is less than a tenner.

It is the sort of straightforward trip from Ireland even Davey Drew couldn't cock up.

Drink culture alive and well

The All Blacks' 54-34 victory over Australia in their Bledisloe Cup opener caught the eye but it wasn't the most shocking rugby story of the weekend.

No, that was surely Joe Marler's revelation about his mis-education on the Lions Tour.

Despite all those iron-pumping videos it appears that one aspect of rugby's touring culture is still alive, if we're to believe the Harlequins prop.

Asked by the 'Sunday Telegraph' what he had learned most on the tour, he replied: "How to drink".

Fair enough, Marler was part of the so-called 'dirt-trackers', those players relegated to mid-week playing roles, but it was still a bit surprising to hear him say: "my drinking ability had to step up a bit.

"It was a different tour particularly for the midweek 'veg' as we were labelled. It was more like an old-school sort of tour basically. I didn't expect it - I thought those days are kind of gone now.

"Rory Best is the one to blame for that," he added. "He is the one to blame for every time I spoke to my wife on FaceTime she said: 'are you pissed again?' And I was: 'Of course not'. That is probably the biggest thing I learnt."

In today's media-coached 'say nothing' pro-sport culture, we salute the mohawked one.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport