Seamus Duke on sport – 29th of September


Club Championships down to the wire

The local championships are now coming down to the wire and in the IFC on Saturday night both losing teams had reason to bemoan missed opportunities. St. Dominic’s had a number of chances against Fuerty but couldn’t take them and Creggs can look back at what might have been against Oran. But when the dust settles both Creggs and St. Dominic’s can be well pleased with their progress.

  Creggs have had a great year in the IFC and can look forward to being in Group A in 2018, and St. Dominic’s lost both their opening two championship games and looked odds on for the relegation play-off but they got their act together and were within a whisker of making the final.

  Oran and Fuerty know that they have improving to do if they want to entertain thoughts of taking the title and Michael Glavey’s will be favourites to win the second semi-final this weekend.

  In the senior semi-finals there are going to be two very interesting games on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park. Both games are previewed in more detail elsewhere this week but both look evenly poised.

  Roscommon Gaels had been the form horse until they met St. Brigid’s in the final group game. Was that just a freak result or have the Gaels hit the wall? All will be revealed on Sunday. 

  The game between Western Gaels and St. Brigid’s promises to be a cracker and when they met earlier in the championship it was a thriller with Western Gaels coming out on top. I am going for Roscommon Gaels and St. Brigid’s to emerge.

  I hope that that is a big crowd there on Sunday. There will be plenty of great players on view and two good matches to see. The attendances at the club championship games have not been good so far so let’s hope that will change on Sunday.

Ladies’ game on the rise

The All-Ireland Ladies Football Final was a splendid occasion and Dublin finally got their hands on the title after losing the last three finals. They were just too strong for Mayo on the day and they deserved their win.

  There is no sentiment in sport and there was to be no fairytale ending for Cora Staunton. In fact, she did not play that well but it will certainly not take away from her status as the greatest player ever to grace the ladies’ game. What she has done after almost two decades is phenomenal by any standards.

  It was also amazing to see that over 46,000 people were at the finals, which was a massive crowd and further proof that the ladies’ game is growing so fast now. Credit is due to the Ladies Gaelic Football Association for their work but TG4 can take a huge amount of credit for the massive growth of the game. They have stuck by the ladies game year after year showing league finals and championship games when it was neither profitable nor popular to do so. The game is set to grow and grow as the years go on.

The ‘Gooch’ and the ‘Grouch’

There were two very strong GAA stories at the weekend that warrant a mention and further debate. Firstly there is the forthcoming Colm Cooper testimonial which will see a dinner dance being held with 50 tables at €5,000 per table being held over the next few weeks to honour the great man. There will be some donations to charity, but the event has raised many questions for the GAA and the direction that it is going.

  Don’t get me wrong, Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper is one of the greatest players that I have ever seen and it is only right that he is looked after now and into the future too. However I reckon he is Ok in whatever field of work he is in (banking). He has just signed up with RTE as a pundit and I am sure he gets well paid for that too.

  This testimonial is setting a very dangerous precedent. What happens to the player in Leitrim or Sligo, or Roscommon or Clare or Fermanagh who puts in just as big an effort for years and years and then retires? What will be held for them to bolster their income? If Bernard Brogan decides to retire, will he have a testimonial? What about Andy Moran or Sean Kavanagh? If the GAA volunteers, who number hundreds of thousands all over the country, see that some elite players can benefit hugely from the association then why should they bother their heads working hard week in week out for years on end for absolutely nothing? Much the same was said by Joe Brolly in the Indo on Sunday and I have to say I agree with him.

  The other story was a debate on Newstalk last Sunday afternoon during which Paul Kimmage (the new Mr Angry of Irish sports journalism) was complaining that a group of journalists had to wait 20 minutes to talk to Jim Gavin and Stephen Cluxton after their recent All-Ireland final success. Twenty minutes of a wait? Whatever next? In a comfortable media room, with seats, and complimentary bottles of water in Croke Park? If he wasn’t so serious it would have been a joke.

  Then Kimmage reckoned that Gavin or Cluxton had nothing interesting to say when they did turn up. Well boo hoo Paul! If he had to wait for over an hour standing out in the rain as local journalists around the country have to do many times over the year he might have something to say. That Jim Gavin and Stephen Cluxton do not ever say anything interesting (and they don’t) is simply not an issue because that’s just what they are like. Just accept it get on with it. Not every team manager is like Davy Fitzgerald and Banty McEneaney or as well spoken as John O’Mahony,  Stephen Rochford and Kevin McStay.

  I don’t know what goes on in cycling, but as a recent convert to Gaelic games, Kimmage should get a grip and realise that these are ordinary people who do this for nothing, It is not requirement that you have to be interesting or even chatty. Jim Gavin and Stephen Cluxton had just won the All-Ireland and they couldn’t care less what anyone thinks about them.

All Star nominations for Rossies

Congratulations to Enda Smith and Conor Devaney on their All Star nominations. They will probably not get an award but it is nice to see Roscommon football recognised. Someone remarked to me last weekend that, given his displays this year, that Niall Kilroy deserved a nomination too and they are right. Niall was ‘man of the match’ three games in a row and played well in almost every championship game this year. Remember too that the draw for next year’s championship will be taking place soon! Hard to believe it.

Caulfield and Co. on the verge…

The battle for the League of Ireland Premier Division is still on after that exciting draw between Cork City and Dundalk on Monday night. A lot of Roscommon people will be shouting for Cork City with Johnny Caulfield in charge. The former Roscommon town and Lecarrow man and the Cork players and fans will have to wait two weeks more for their day in the sun when they play Derry City at home. They are sure to win it. It’s just a pity it was not on Monday night in the clash with their biggest rivals live on TV.