Seamus Duke on sport -12th of January


Paddy was an incredible clubman

I wouldn’t have been a personal friend of Paddy Mulvey’s as he was from a different generation to me, but he was a man that I knew from my earliest days in Roscommon GAA, whether it was at underage matches and then later, at meetings and matches and anything else that was going on. He was an incredible clubman. Yes he loved his county and he was a great Roscommon man, but he was happiest when he was in Croghan or around the county with Shannon Gaels teams, underage or senior, or at a Scór event.

  He was the most passionate GAA man I ever met at a club game. During the summer when the day was fine, I always remember Paddy would hang his suit jacket on a fence post close to the side-line and he would parade up and down the line encouraging the players and ‘advising’ the referee. When the game was over it was over, and Paddy would always be gracious in defeat. It was always on to the next meeting, the next match, the next Scór event.

  If you wanted to know the meaning of the term “life-long GAA man” it was probably invented with Paddy Mulvey in mind. He was a clubman through and through. He was about as far away from the SKY TV deal and from the corporate GAA as one could get. He gave his life to the GAA and never got one thing in return, and he didn’t want anything either. Paddy Mulvey was a grassroots man and one of the greatest that the association has ever had.

  I am so glad that his efforts were recognised when he got a President’s Award a few years ago. It is people like Paddy Mulvey that has made the GAA the organisation it is today. The crowds at his removal and funeral showed just how much people respected and liked Paddy Mulvey. It was a pleasure to have known him. To his family I extend my deepest sympathy. They certainly don’t make them like Paddy Mulvey anymore. A dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

I see fixtures trouble ahead

Already, with matches postponed because of bad weather last weekend, there is the possibility of chaos with fixtures and it is only the third week of the year. If just one more Sunday is lost because of bad weather then there will be a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  The fixtures calendar is so tight that there is no room for error. Someone pointed out to me that there is now just one free Sunday between now and the last Sunday in March and that’s the day of the FBD League final!  

  Even Roscommon v Galway in the FBD League is fixed for the same day as Michael Glavey’s play in the All-Ireland club semi-final. I predicted fixture chaos this year. I hope it doesn’t come to pass but it is looking likely even at this early stage.

The darts made for great TV!

The dust is settling after another sensational World PDC Darts finals over the Christmas. The fairy-tale of a parting title for Phil Taylor did not materialise but it was fitting that as one superstar of the game was departing another, Rob Cross, was announcing his arrival. It was fantastic television and Barry Hearn and his organisation have done a massive job promoting it to the level it is at now.

  The semi-final match between Cross and the defending champion Michael van Gerwen was one of the best I have ever seen. On the night I was planning to go out but once I started watching I could not leave it. It was compelling entertainment that went to the very last leg.

  To think that Rob Cross got £400,000 for winning the world title shows how far the sport has come from the image of pot-bellied players swilling pints as they played for the title in smoke-filled rooms in the decades gone by.

Tougher FBD test ahead this weekend

At the time of going to press Roscommon will have played their second game in the FBD League and I certainly hope that they learn more than they learned from their first outing against Leitrim.

  I have many fond associations with Leitrim GAA, especially from my time spent in Shannonside Radio but I don’t think I have ever seen a poorer team than the one they fielded in Annaduff last week. If Leitrim do not improve they will struggle in the league, and even more serious they could be up against it when they face New York in the championship in May.

  With regard to Roscommon and whatever happens in Kiltoom on Wednesday night, there should be a great challenge for them in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday when Mayo come calling. 

  I know that results in the FBD League do not count for anything but supporters will remember how Mayo made a big comeback in the game in Kiltoom last year and we all saw what it meant to their players to win that game.

  Without trying to second guess Kevin McStay and the selectors I think we will have an idea what the team for the league will be when we see the team on Sunday.

Over the top reaction to Pool signing

The Premier League is already over but one of the biggest games of the season is on this coming weekend with the clash of Manchester City and Liverpool. City are a fantastic team and if they are at their best then Liverpool will not beat them. City are so far ahead of the rest it is embarrassing for the league itself. When was the title ever decided before Christmas?

  Liverpool were right to cash in on Philippe Coutinho, and in Virgil van Dijk they have bought a top quality defender. However, the wild and totally over the top reaction to his debut against Everton last weekend was ridiculous. Everton are a very poor side and Liverpool struggled to beat them. Yes, Van Dijk scored the winner, but let’s see how he fits in after 10 or 15 games against top class opposition. If Liverpool want to be serious about making progress then they must buy a top class goalkeeper and at least one more defender. Nevertheless Liverpool v City could well be worth a look.

Leinster ahead of the pack

The rugby inter-provincial series over the festive season has shown that Leinster are a good bit ahead of the rest of the Irish sides. Their performance against Ulster last Saturday was sensational.

  Jordan Larmour and Andrew Porter are really exciting new players and Larmour could well ensure that a legend like Rob Kearney will be sitting on the bench for the rest of the season and maybe the rest of his career. Joe Schmidt must also be rubbing his hands with glee at the arrival of Larmour and Porter with the Six Nations and preparations for the World Cup on the way.

  Connacht were well beaten against Munster but they were ever so unlucky against Leinster at the RDS last week. It was a mighty game of rugby and Connacht could have won it, and probably should have. But they are very inconsistent. I know that they are putting all their eggs into the European basket now and on their best day they are capable of winning the Challenge Cup. They must ensure a home draw now for the quarter-finals. They should do that this weekend.