Seamus Duke On Sport – 14th October

Replays all round in Strokestown!

Incredible to report that the two county finals last weekend in Strokestown were draws. The junior final was well contested and was very enjoyable.  

  Creggs found out just how hard it is for a young team to carry the mantle of favourites into a county final last Sunday. Kilglass came with a battle plan and it almost paid off and a draw was a fair result, I think.

  Kilglass are the far more experienced team and all their well-known players were excellent on the day but Pierce Bolger had a tremendous game all through and he kicked some mighty points. But Creggs were very good at times too and some of their younger players showed flashes of excellent play but Kilglass would not be denied and the replay should be a great battle again.

  The intermediate final was a very poor game by contrast. The players on both sides could not be blamed for effort but the fact that Kilmore did not score for the entire second half shows what type of a game it turned out to be. Just as well it starts at nil all the next day as it will be a chance for both sides to redeem themselves.

  It was a pity that the fare was not better as a massive crowd (over 2,500) was in attendance and it was a beautiful day for playing football. Well done to everyone in Strokestown GAA on staging the big day. It will be a while again before we see such a big crowd and I would safely say there were more people in Strokestown last Sunday than will be at the senior final on Sunday week.

Black card should be scrapped

The big debate about the black card has become very nasty over the past two weeks or so with eminent commentators resorting to low blows to make their point.

  Eugene McGee who is one of the most respected GAA pundits, but who also headed up the committee that proposed the introduction of the black card, has become very defensive about it. He tends to look down on anyone who disagrees with it being retained and those people include the likes of Jimmy McGuinness who has written a number of intelligent articles on the subject in recent weeks.

  The idea behind the black card was very good but the inconsistency with it’s application is what is driving everyone to distraction. In one game, a referee will apply the rules one way and in the next game the referee will be totally different and I think that it is actually unfair on referees.

  By the way, I don’t think that a sin bin could ever work, but maybe a stricter code for yellow cards could be introduced to make it easier on referees, players and spectators alike. Insulting people who don’t agree with your point of view will not help the debate.

  The black card needs a review immediately. Let everyone have their say; referees, players, managers, club officials and all other interested parties. Let’s have a reasoned debate and come up with a solution because what’s going on at the moment is just not working.

  It is my view that it should be scrapped but I am prepared to listen to the other side of the story as well.

No time to draw breath as 2017 looms

It is hard to believe it but the draw for the 2017 inter-county championships is taking place tonight (Thursday) and still at the time of writing there is no sign of a senior football team manager in place.  

  The amount of loose talk and rumour that is going around at the moment in Roscommon football circles is very damaging and the quicker that a manager is put in place the better.  If I had a fiver for every time I was asked what is happening with regard to a Roscommon team manager over the past month, I would be able to retire! Preparations for 2017 will have to get underway shortly and whoever takes up the job will have a big task healing the rifts that seem to be there at the moment. The quicker we have an announcement and get on with it the better. 

Connacht back on track ahead of Toulouse

Well done to the Connacht rugby team. After a disastrous start to the season they have won two-in-a-row in the Pro12 and last weekend’s defeat of Ulster was very impressive. And it was the first time that they beat the northern province in many years.

  This weekend, the Champions Cup begins and Connacht have a very tough opener against Toulouse but at least it’s at home.

  There will be huge interest in the game between Racing and Munster where Ronan O’Gara will come up against the team that he served so well over his career. Leinster are at home to Castres in what looks a very tough group and Ulster will face Bordeaux away from home.

  The Champions Cup is a fantastic competition and it would be great if Connacht could survive there. It is a huge step up and if they can make The Sportsground a fortress they have a big chance. In this competition you simply have to win your home games.

Top of the table but hard to watch

The Republic of Ireland have made a great start to their World Cup campaign with seven points out of a possible nine and they are joint top of the table but it’s very hard stuff to watch.

  Last Thursday night, I sat down to watch Ireland play Georgia and the match was so poor that I found myself going to other (non-sporting) programmes that were on at the time. It was brutal to watch to be honest. As a sports fan that has never happened before.

  I know that Martin O’Neill is doing a very good job with a limited enough panel but it is hard work to watch them playing. But they are in a very good position now and let’s hope they can keep it going.

Can Oran block Four Roads?

This weekend it’s the county senior hurling final and while many people are saying that Four Roads have to lose some year, they don’t look at it that way out in the home of hurling. In fact their attitude is why not keep on winning?

  This year it is Oran who will try to stop the champions and this time it’s nine-in-a-row they are looking for which is an incredible run. Oran are the one team who have a good record against Four Roads but when it comes to county finals it is impossible to back against them. The game is previewed elsewhere this week but it looks like Four Roads again. 

Duke’s All Stars

Now that the inter-county scene is over for 2016 the All Star football and hurling teams will be picked soon and the nominations were out last week. Here is my selection:

  Football: Stephen Cluxton; Brendan Harrisson, Johnny Cooper, Philly McMahon; Lee Keegan, Peter Harte, Cian O’Sullivan; Brian Fenton, Mattie Donnelly: Ryan McHugh, Diarmuid Connolly, Kevin McMenamon; Paul Geaney, Michael Quinlivan, Ciaran Kilkenny. Footballer of the Year: Lee Keegan.

  Hurling team: Eoin Murphy; James Barry, Daithi Burke, Cathal Barrett; Padraig Walsh, Ronan Maher, Padraig Maher; Brendan Maher, Padraig Mahony; David Burke, Austin Gleeson, Walter Walsh; Richie Hogan. Seamus Callinan. John McGrath. Hurler of the Year: Austin Gleeson.

FROM THE INTERNET

There is huge controversy in the GAA about the black card as we know. But what about the green card? This season in the Italian League lower divisions they have introduced a green card! Here is more from the weekend…

  “History was made in Italy this week as Vicenza attacker Cristian Galano received Serie B’s first-ever green card, which was awarded for fair play.

  Officials speaking for the Italian second tier announced the scheme at the beginning of the season and said that the player with the most green cards at the end of the season will receive a reward.

  Tuesday marked the first instance of the new policy in action, when Galano admitted that no Virtus Entella defenders had touched the ball when referee Marco Mainardi had incorrectly called for a corner kick.

  Serie B president Andrea Abodi admits that the cards are largely symbolic, but is eager to promote the Italian second division in a more positive light following the match fixing scandal that rocked the league at the beginning of the season.

  “It’s a symbolic award,” Abodi said. “It could be something very simple. The important thing is to recognise it when a professional does something exemplary.”

  “We think that football needs positive messages,” a Serie B spokesman added. This sport is too often embroiled in controversy that drives people away from the stadiums.” (courtesy of the 42.ie)