Seamus Duke on Sport – 10th of March

Better display but still no league points

So another league Sunday and another defeat for Roscommon but this was another game from which the team could have got something. It was a much better display from Roscommon for sure but once again we have come up pointless and now it will take a miracle to avoid the drop to Division Two, which would be a huge pity.

  I have no doubt that the two years spent playing in Division One will have been a great experience for the players but as everyone knows Division Two is a very tough and competitive division and it is very, very hard to get promoted into Division One again.

  Just look at Division Two this year. Kildare are doing well at the top but below them there is a massive scrap for points and it looks like the once mighty Cork footballers could even drop into Division Three which would be some fall from grace.

  But back to Roscommon, and at least we have been competitive in three out of our four games so far but it looks like we are just not good enough for Division One.

  Last Sunday we saw the difference in the strength of the respective panels and Kerry could bring on Anthony Maher, Darran O’Sullivan, Mark Griffin and Stephen O’Brien who are all regular starters and all of whom have won All-Ireland medals. Having said that, it was great to see Diarmuid Murtagh back for Roscommon. He showed glimpses of his old self in that second half and hopefully he will get a good run with the team now. Hopefully the likes of Ultan Harney and Cathal Compton will be back soon too. We need them all.  

  Monaghan away is our next game before we face a daunting trip to Croke Park. To be honest, I don’t see too many points out of those two games. The players are putting in a huge effort for sure, but it has not been good enough so far. And that’s the bottom line. But it is a long year and people will simply have to have patience.

  Elsewhere, the Dubs flexed their considerable muscles last Saturday night when they obliterated Mayo. The 1-16 to 0-7 final scoreline does not reflect the gap between the teams and Mayo were given a lesson on the night.

  Donegal have been the surprise team of this division and they are almost certain to have stayed up after another good win for them last weekend.

  Tyrone can put themelves into a very strong position if they can beat Cavan in their game in hand, meanwhile it looks like Cavan and Roscommon for the big drop.

  I was surprised that Galway lost out to Meath and it shows just how competitive Division Two is. Two other things to note from the weekend was the brilliant win by Clare against Cork and the thrashing handed out by Armagh to Offaly. Offaly are going through a very bad time and the glory days are long since forgotten now.

Ready for the off at Cheltenham!

Next week it is time once again for Cheltenham and even people who do not usually follow racing will be out with the pen and paper trying to make a few bob.

 

  Many of the leading fancies this year like Thistlecrack and Annie Power are out due to injury but the big prizes are all still there to be won and Willie Mullins will have his eyes on the leading trainers.

  I have six horses to keep an eye on next week. Douvan (Willie Mullins), Moon Racer (David Pipe), Cantlow (Enda Bolger), Apples Jade (Willie Mullins), Un De Sceaux (Willie Mullins) and On the Fringe (Enda Bolger). 

  There is something really special about Cheltenham and there are always great sporting stories throughout the week. Keep an eye out also for a horse called Augusta Kate, which is owned by Alan Shearer, Lee Westwood, Ant and Dec and a few other celebrities. It would be some craic if that won.

  I was only at Cheltenham once but it was definitely one of my favourite sporting memories of all time.

Roscommon in the headlines again

It constantly amazes me the amount of national publicity that we attract in Roscommon GAA when there is any hint of controversy. It didn’t start today or yesterday. It’s going back twenty years or more. Every little tittle-tattle arrived on the pages of the national media. Don’t tell me that there are not rows in other counties all the time, in fact you can be certain that there are but they just don’t get splashed all over the national media.    

 

  Almost every year in recent times there has been one controversy or another and it would be great if we could stay out of the headlines for the off the field stuff for a while now. The team might be relegated to Division Two but I will wait until the whole season is over before we make any comment. At the start of the year, Kevin McStay set two goals. One was to get to the Connacht Final and the other to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. It could be a good year yet and we need to give the team and the management a chance.

  The nonsense that we heard last week has been given plenty of coverage elsewhere. It was no help but hopefully that’s over now. It’s time to put it to bed and to move on.

Hurlers back in action this weekend

The Roscommon hurlers did not play last weekend as their game against table-toppers Meath was called off because of the bad weather.

 

  This weekend Johnny Kelly’s team travel to Derry in a game that they will have a good chance of winning. Derry and Mayo would be the two weakest teams in the group and Roscommon are eminently capable of beating both sides.

  It’s a long trip to Derry at the weekend but if Roscommon want to stay away from the relegation trap door then they will probably have to win.

Pride in defeat for RDFL

 

The Roscommon & District League team did themselves and the league proud last weekend as they went down narrowly 2-1 to a very strong Inishowen side in Buncrana.

 

  It is hard to get these sides together and Enda Concannon and his team have done very well to get to the quarter-finals of the competition. Well done to all concerned.

Ireland have the team to win in Cardiff 

 

I am predicting that Friday night’s rugby clash between Ireland and Wales will be one of the most intense that we have seen in recent years.

  Wales have to win it to restore pride after narrow losses to both England and Scotland.  Ireland know that Cardiff is not an easy place to go and if they are not 100% Wales will win but I am confident that Ireland have the team to win it. If Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are fit and ready to start they can engineer the win, but it promises to be a thriller. There will be no bonus point win here, that’s for sure.

  In the other game, it should be fairly straightforward for France against Italy and England should squeeze past Scotland after a battle at Twickenham.

From the Internet

 

This is a genuine story readers – I kid you not! You think that Donald Trump is off the wall? He is only in the small place when it comes to this guy. Read on…

A Russian lawmaker has proposed a wholly bonkers solution to potential football hooliganism at the 2018 World Cup in his homeland. Noted for his off the wall ideas Igor Lebedev, who sits in the Russian parliament, has suggested that Russia legalise hooliganism and make it into a spectator sport!

 

  Lebedev, a Liberal Democrat, has already drawn up rules for what he calls “draka,” or “fight” in English – which would see 20 fighters on each side, unarmed, beat the living daylights out of each other in an arena, in a move which Lebedev genuinely maintains will keep peace on Russian streets.

In a statement on the website of the nationalist LDPR party, Lebedev said organized brawls “could turn fans’ aggression in a peaceful direction.” He is, of course, totally wrong.

Lebedev genuinely added that it might teach a lesson to the travelling English fans, who he described as undisciplined louts and ‘poor fighters’.

“Russia would be a pioneer in a new sport,” he writes.

  English fans arrive, for example, and start picking fights. And they get the answer: challenge accepted. A meeting in a stadium at a set time. Indeed, it would appear this madman really has it in for our mates across the Irish Sea. When Russian and English fans clashed for three days straight in Marseille during the Euros, Lebedev infamously tweeted, “Well done, lads! Keep it up!”

  Now might be a good time to add that Lebedev also sits on the board of the Russian Football Union, and is a close friend of infamous Russian hooligan Alexander Shprygin, who was deported from France last year following the Marseille riots.

  In spite of his astonishingly bad idea regarding hooliganism, and the fact that he patently embraces fan violence, Lebedev has ensured all fans that there will be no trouble at Russia’s World Cup: “We’ve taken all the safety measures, modernized legislation. Not a single tourist has any reason to fear travelling to our country in the summer of 2018” he says. (Courtesy of balls.ie)