Pearses’ date with destiny
If you told any Pádraig Pearses GAA club member or follower on January 1st of this year
that on the last Sunday in November their club would be preparing to play All-Ireland champions Corofin in the Connacht club senior football final I think that most would have gleefully settled for that.
However, there is a feeling amongst a lot of GAA people that Pat Flanagan’s men have a chance of causing an upset on Sunday. But let’s call a spade a spade here, for Pearses to win this game they will have to play football for 60 minutes that they have only been able to play in patches this summer. They will have to take the game to Corofin and they will have to be patient and disciplined.
There is a feeling, however, that Corofin may not be as good as they were and it is true they have been on the road constantly for the past three years. But they are one of the best club teams that we have ever seen and on their day they are simply unbeatable at this level.
The people who work at the major bookmakers are not fools and the odds of 1/6 for Corofin win and Pearses at 9/2 are there for a reason. It’s fair to say that Pearses are the rank outsiders. But as we all know, sport is littered with famous wins from teams that were not given a chance. Pearses go into the match with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The pressure is all on Corofin. There will be a huge crowd there to support Pearses and the players won’t mind playing the game in Tuam, in fact it might suit them better than having to play at Dr. Hyde Park which would definitely suit the Galway side. Stranger things have happened you know!
Great weekend for Irish sides!
After the Rugby World Cup hangover it was a great weekend for Irish sides in the opening weekend of the Champions Cup and pride of place has to go to Connacht who were not given a chance against a very strong Montpellier team in Galway last weekend.
Not alone had Connacht eight players out injured, they lost two more during the warm-up and then lost another through injury after only ten minutes. To add to that they conceded a try after 70 seconds.
To have come back from all that and win was some performance. It was also great to see the two ‘Rossies’ playing well. Jack Carty was back at out-half and Dennis Buckley was a contender for man of the match. He had a tremendous match in the front row.
This weekend it doesn’t get any easier as Connact travel to Toulouse. But to have a win at home under their belts is vital for the rest of the tournament.
Munster and Leinster were impressive in their wins while Ulster’s win against Bath was really dramatic. It sets up another great weekend of action this coming weekend. I have to say I enjoyed watching the club action after the World Cup.
Missed opportunity for ‘weaker’ counties
The so-called ‘Super 11’s’ hurling tournament was held in New York at the weekend and while it was good to see Wexford, Limerick, Kilkenny and Tipperary in action it would have been far more beneficial for the GAA in general if they had thought about the teams further down the food chain.
It was an ideal opportunity to reward the likes of the Joe McDonagh Cup winners and runners-up and those teams who compete in the Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups too. The elite players get lots of trips and recognition and TV coverage too and this was an ideal opportunity to give players from some of the weaker counties a chance to travel and play in the USA.
Every county in Ireland has a huge diaspora in the USA so the attendance at these games is unlikely to be adversely affected. Maybe it’s something that the authorities will think about next year.
Lowry on course to be number one
This weekend will see the final event take place on the European Tour with the action in Dubai and there is a very exciting race at the top to see who will be the number one golfer in Europe for 2019.
Shane Lowry has slipped down to fourth but he is within touching distance as the three players ahead of him, Bernt Weisberger, Tommy Fleetwood and John Rahm are only just ahead of the Offaly man.
Remember that Lowry won earlier in the year in Dubai and he loves this course. If he wins then he can’t be caught, but it will be interesting to see who finishes where and the calculators will be out on Sunday evening. It would cap a fantastic year for the Clara man if he could be the number one player in Europe and it would give him a huge boost going into the majors and the Ryder Cup in 2020.
Ireland will struggle in the play-offs
On Monday night the Republic of Ireland soccer team put in the best display we have seen from them in many years, however it was still not good enough for them to beat Denmark in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The huge effort the players put in is without question but we suffer from a serious lack of quality in attack. We are not able to score goals and that will be a big problem for the team going forward.
I thought that Denmark were a poor enough side and a team who have ideas above their station. They have a couple of good players and that’s about it.
Our problem up front will come to the fore in the play-off games in March. We will have to go out and score goals in two one-off games if we want to get through to the finals. We haven’t been able to do that since Robbie Keane retired. I will be surprised if we qualify for the finals with the players we have. It was a really hard-working display on Monday night and there was a great atmosphere but we are still a very limited outfit.
Creggs set for grand opening
This weekend Creggs Rugby Club officially open their magnificent new facilities and this is a continuing story of a club who have always been ahead of the curve despite being from a small rural village.
Over 30 years ago I have fond memories of attending big games at The Green as Creggs were able to match the best in Connacht at Junior level. But what they have achieved in the past five years or so in terms of facilities has been nothing short of phenomenal. Anyone who has not been to see what they have done should take the time to take a drive out there and witness it first-hand.
There are many rugby clubs in big urban areas that would be put to shame by what Creggs have done with regard to dressing rooms, their state-of-the-art 4G pitch and additional pitches, training areas and spectator facilities.
There is a very hard-working and extremely capable committee who work tirelessly on behalf of the club and who receive little or no publicity for their work. They will all be there this Saturday to see their hard work come to fruition. Congratulations to all involved. It just shows what can be achieved in a small rural community.