Seamus Duke on sport – 20th of October


At the business end of club season

We had one very competitive county final and one easy win in the two big games in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday. I spoke to the St. Brigid’s chairman Tomás Beades as part of the junior preview and he was stressing that this year Brigid’s were determined to treat the junior competition seriously and that their junior team were entitled to the same respect as the senior team and any other team in the club. It certainly worked because they turned in a terrific performance. They have some fantastic young players on the way up and they played some great football on the day. They certainly won this junior title in style.

  Spare a thought for Kilglass Gaels. Pipped at the post by Creggs in a replay last year, they have a number of players that have given wonderful service to their club. Hopefully they will keep it going and remember that Kilglass will be the Roscommon representatives in the Connacht club championship so we wish them the best of luck.

  The intermediate match may not have been the greatest ever played in terms of quality football but it was a tremendous contest.

  Fuerty will be heartbroken to have lost so narrowly again. It was a game that they could have won for sure. They could have got two late marginal refereeing calls and the ball literally hopped the wrong way for them in injury-time. Once again they just missed out. That’s not to take anything away from Michael Glavey’s who recovered from a poor start to get back into the game and on the balance of play they probably deserved to just about shade it.

  But surely Fuerty’s day will come soon. Since they won the Junior title they have given great entertainment to their fans and the people of the county. They contested an All-Ireland club final and have been beaten in two of the last three IFC finals, losing by a point in the semi-finals in 2016.

  But this looks a different Michael Glavey’s this time around. They are much stronger and have big men all over the field. They should be able to give the Connacht intermediate championship a rattle this year. But far more important is that if they can keep their team together they should be well able to survive in the senior ranks over the next few years.

  In ladies’ football there was a great crowd in Kilbride on Friday night as the locals took on the Cora Staunton powered Carnacon in the Connacht club championship. The Mayo girls were too strong but Kilbride gave a very good account of themselves.

  Well done also to Athleague who won three in a row senior camogie titles last weekend. It took extra-time to do it but it’s a great achievement.

Novel pairing set for Sunday

The 2017 senior club final is previewed in detail elsewhere this week but we have a fairly unique pairing on Sunday when Roscommon Gaels take on the champions St. Brigid’s. In fact, given that both clubs have been very much involved at the business end of the Roscommon senior football championship for the past 40 years, it is 1969 since they last met in a final.

  It is probably too much to expect a football classic on Sunday because there is simply too much at stake. County finals by their nature are dour, intense and very competitive games, and at the end of the day, it is always about winning.

  It will be fascinating to see if St Brigid’s still have the hunger for titles or will the 13-year famine for Roscommon Gaels end after a very frustrating time for them? Like most major sporting contests the match will be decided by the four inches between the ears of the players on each team. If the Gaels truly believe, then they can cause an upset. If Brigid’s retain their hunger, then the status quo will remain. I am really looking forward to it.  

  In the curtain raiser we will see St. Brigid’s v Clann na nGael in the minor final. These are always great games and it’s always fantastic to see the stars of the future in action. All we need now is a fine day and a big crowd!

Eir coverage is excellent

It is interesting that Eir Sport are now showing live GAA club championship games every weekend. I watched some of the Dublin semi-finals at the weekend and while the football wasn’t great, the coverage was excellent with good commentary, good analysis and good camerawork too. I just can’t figure out how they can make money out of showing these games. I am sure the viewing figures for these live games are very low but it is an excellent service.

The GAA’s important decision…

The Director General of the GAA Padraig Duffy is to step down next March and one thing that you can say about Duffy is that he was a very capable administrator. I remember having plenty of dealings with him when he was Monaghan PRO and he was excellent at his job.

  I’m not so sure about his legacy as Director General though. He pushed through the new format in the hurling championship and also the establishment of the Super 8 in football. The jury is certainly out on those changes until we see them in action.  

  During Duffy’s time the GPA have become a hugely powerful group within the GAA, in receipt of millions of Euro per year.  The disastrous Sky TV deal was also signed up with the blessing of Duffy, not something he should be proud of. 

  Last week I listened to a very interesting debate about the future of the GAA. Martin Breheny of the Irish Independent said that he is convinced that the association is on an unstoppable journey to professionalism. I am not as convinced as he is about that but it is hard to see it going any other way. The GAA will have to be very careful who they appoint to this really important job. This is a vital time for the association.

  An elite has developed within the GAA in terms of administration, fixtures and inter-county games and players. Strong leadership is needed because there are many powerful vested interests within the association. All the controversial decisions I listed above can be changed if the right person is there to lead that change. They have five months to decide who Padraig Duffy’s successor is. It is such an important decision.

United have lost their way!

People who know me will know that I have been a Man United follower for many years past and I enjoy an odd trip to see them live. What drew me to follow United the first day was their attacking style. I followed them for many years before they won anything at all but they always played football that was easy on the eye. Then Alex Ferguson came along and the rest as they say is history.

  When Jose Mourinho was appointed I thought he was the right man for the job after a few disastrous years. Yes, he won two trophies last season but United had never played with the freedom that we were used to when Fergie was in charge. However, at the start of this season United played some good football in the opening league fixtures and scored a few goals. However, it was also a fact that that they had played none of the other big teams.

  Last Saturday they travelled to Anfield to take on Liverpool and the game was one of the most boring, nondescript and negative that I have ever seen. Liverpool are not a good side, but at least they made an attempt to win the game. United just sat back and soaked up whatever pressure came their way. They never tried anything positive in the whole game.

  I don’t care what justification Mourinho has for these performances and I don’t care how many trophies he wins, it is horrible stuff to watch. I would prefer to watch United lose 4-3 than watch the drivel we saw last Saturday. United made one chance in the whole game. Remember that they spent over €250 million during the summer on players. If that’s the new way United are playing now then you are welcome to them.