Seamus Duke On Sport – 30th September

Weekend of shocks in local championship!

You would have got a nice price if you backed Oran and Kilmore to win their respective semi-finals in the IFC last weekend but that’s what happened. Both games were very entertaining.

  We saw five great goals in the first game in Strokestown while we had a bit of a dash to get to the second game where we had a breathtaking finish in Ballintubber as Kilmore pulled off a stunning victory.

  It will be a final pairing that few would have chosen at the start of the year. In the Junior  Championship, Creggs will start as favourites against Kilglass but Kilmore and Oran showed last weekend that the applecart can be upset. More about those finals next week.

  This weekend the senior semi-finals take place and they are previewed in detail elsewhere in the paper this week but Western Gaels and Boyle will be the outsiders. Is it possible that we will have more shocks? Don’t rule it out.

 In the senior hurling semi-final Four Roads will be favoured to come through again having got out of jail the last day against Pearses.

Europe face strong American challenge

It is a huge week for golf for a number of reasons. Firstly, Rory McIlroy timed his run of form perfectly to not only win the tour championship last weekend but he also landed the $10 million available for winning the Fedex Cup.

  Readers of this column will know what I think about handing a multi-millionaire $11.5 million for one week’s work but that’s an argument we can have another day.

  McIlroy’s win will give the European team a huge lift ahead of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The European team look short in terms of class players and on confidence too but McIlroy will be the team leader out on the course. Over the past number of Ryder Cups the Americans looked to have the better players but there was always a great team spirit in the European camp which has carried them through.

  The Americans are very determined to win the cup back and I have a feeling that they will do it this time. I have to say that I am not convinced by Darren Clarke as the European captain. It is the only major golf competition where every single shot matters and it is usually great television.

  It is also a sad week for the game with the news that one of it’s iconic figures, Arnold Palmer, passed away. Palmer was way past his best by the time I was watching golf but the respect with which he was always treated in the game was always fascinating to see and he was surely one of those who made the game so popular all around the world. He always seemed like such a gentleman when he was interviewed and he will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Ladies football hits high point

The arguments about the Dublin point that wasn’t a point have all been made over and over since last Sunday’s All-Ireland Ladies Final but the fact that it was the Ladies Gaelic Association themselves who did not want to use Hawk Eye is amazing to say the least.

  Yes, there is an argument which says that this technology is not available in any other ground where the game is played but the same situation exists in football and also in hurling. My argument is if the technology is there, then why not use it? I know that it was human error that missed the ball going over the bar but in the biggest game of the year in the sport then why not use what’s there?  

  Fair play to Cork and it’s hard not to marvel at their record but Dublin must be heartbroken.

  There was a Roscommon connection with the Intermediate win of Kildare as Noelle Earley, daughter of Dermot, was on the Kildare team and scored 1-1 as well. Not forgetting our neighbours Longford who came back from the dead to win the junior final. Well done to all concerned and it was great to see over 33,000 people at the finals too. Ladies football is probably the fastest growing sport in the country and the attendances are only going to get bigger.

From the internet

I saw this one over the weekend from World Football. It’s their best 30 footballers in the world as of September 2016. Do you agree?

  1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina), 2. Luis Suárez (Barcelona, Uruguay), 3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Portugal), 4. Neymar (Barcelona, Brazil), 5. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, Wales), 6. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid, France), 7. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain), 8. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany), 9. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona, Spain), 10. Paul Pogba (Manchester United, France), 11. Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia), 12. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, Germany), 13. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal, Chile), 14. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus, Italy), 15. Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich, Germany), 16. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium), 17. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland), 18. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy), 19. Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich, Chile), 20. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City, Argentina), 21. Gerard Pique (Barcelona, Spain), 22. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona, Croatia), 23. Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich, Germany), 24. James Rodríguez (Real Madrid, Colombia), 25. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France), 26. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund, Gabon), 27. Diego Godín (Atlético Madrid, Uruguay), 28. Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), 29. David de Gea (Manchester United, Spain), 30. Mesut Özil (Arsenal, Germany).

Championship Crystal Ball

All-Ireland SFC Final Replay: Dublin v Mayo in Croke Park on Sunday at 5 pm: It’s the most eagerly awaited replay since, well probably since the last football replay in 2001!  But there will be massive interest in this game after what happened in the drawn game. There are so many questions to be answered. There are two schools of thought. One is that Dublin will never play as badly again or the other one (which I tend to agree with) that Dublin did not play well in the drawn game because Mayo did not allow them to.  

  There won’t be too many changes in the Mayo team (if any) but it will be interesting to see what Jim Gavin does. I don’t think that he will drop Bernard Brogan but Kevin McMenamon might be back on the bench for this game and Paul Flynn might also be joining him. It will be hard to resist the claims of Paul Mannion and Paddy Andrews to start. He will also want to get far more from Diarmuid Connolly and Dean Rock if they want to win.

  On the Mayo side, Aidan O’Shea will have a crucial role to play again. He was poor enough in the drawn game and if Mayo are going to win he must lead from the front. For the first time in recent memory Mayo look to have an attack capable of getting the scores that they need. But they will have to play well all over the field. Seamus O’Shea had a nightmare in the drawn game and he needs to find a way to curb the influential Brian Fenton.  

  There are so many sub plots here it’s like an Agatha Christie novel. The big question is do Mayo have what it takes to finish the job? I think that they do, they have the measure of them. The sides have met six times in the modern era in the championship the score to date is two wins for Dublin two wins for Mayo and two draws. It couldn’t be more even. I have a feeling that the famine that has lasted since 1951 will end on Saturday. If it does, stand by for some of the most emotional scenes ever seen in the famous stadium. Prediction: Mayo