Seamus Duke on sport – 3rd of November

Will Enda make it twelve?

This Friday night the 2017 football and hurling All Star awards will be announced and Roscommon are in with a chance of an award with Enda Smith a nominee. If Alan Brogan and Charlie Redmond were the selectors Roscommon would be adding to their total of 11 because both picked Enda at midfield in their columns at the weekend.

  Indeed, it is a good week to look at the Roscommon men who have been honoured since the All Stars started in 1971.

1. Mickey Freyne: A marvellous player, strong as an ox and a great football brain. Was a mighty man to get a goal and one of our greatest forwards.

2. Dermot Earley (2 All Stars): There is probably not a lot more we can say about Dermot. What a player he was. The heart and soul of Roscommon football for almost 20 years.

3. Pat Lindsay: Teak tough and uncompromising, Pat was one of the fittest full-backs Roscommon ever produced. He trained harder than anyone and always gave 100%. A magnificent team player.

4. Harry Keegan: Roscommon’s most decorated player with 3 All Stars. The prince of corner backs. I have never seen a better one in any era. What a player.

5. Tom Heneghan: His contribution to Roscommon football was enormous. He was a superb player and was a very tough nut. Many corner forwards throughout the country will attest to his ‘stickability’. Way ahead of his time as a team manager.

6. Danny Murray: The winner of two awards and a fantastic player with a massive engine. He was a brilliant attacking half-back who was a lovely player to watch in full flow.

7. Gerry Connellan: Won his award in 1980 after a phenomenal season and he remained on the Roscommon team for many years. A tough operator, he was a very close marker with loads of football in him. A Kilmore man to the very last.

8. Paul Earley: He had everything you needed in a full-forward. Strength, power, pace and an eye for goal. I always got the impression that he could have achieved even more than he did. But still a mighty Roscommon player.

9. Tony McManus: In my humble opinion, the best Roscommon forward of the past 40 years. Massive football ability and a fierce will to win. The only wonder is that he only got one award. Should have got at least two more.

10. Enon Gavin: An All Star winner at 19, he played for Roscommon for many years and was a superb corner back keeping many of the top attackers in the game at bay throughout his career.

11. Francie Grehan: Another man with a fierce passion for Roscommon football and a will to win like few others. But loads of football ability too and richly deserved his award in 2001.

There were others who were unlucky to lose out. John Newton was a magnificent midfielder for so many years and Frankie Dolan was surely close a few times. John ‘Jigger’ O’Connor was also a man who certainly deserved one and Pat Doorey was also in the frame a number of times.

The party’s over…let’s move on!

The Ballyragget ‘party’ has attracted more publicity than almost any story in Ireland this year and it is a barometer of how our society is today. Social media now rules our world to a huge extent and I feel really sorry for the lads who were involved.

  Yes, they were probably ill advised to do what they did. In this day and age there is always someone with a smartphone to capture stuff on video but the reaction has been so over the top that it is laughable.

  On last Sunday’s Independent we had a Government Minister calling for those involved to be punished by the GAA as the lead story on the front page. What next? A cabinet meeting to discuss the situation? Statements in the Dáil? While 8,000 people are homeless and people are losing their health because of mistakes made by the banks, we are talking about a bit of harmless if ill advised fun after a game of hurling. It’s time we got a grip. These lads made a mistake and let’s leave it at that. No one died. The GAA should let this die and let’s move on.

O’Brien breaks Group 1 record

The achievement of Aidan O’Brien to beat the world record for Group 1 winners in a season is one of the greatest sports feats for decades. I know that he has the multi-millionaire owners who have the horses but he must be able to look after them and train them for the correct races.

  He is also so modest when he is interviewed. He deflects the praise away from himself and towards his staff all the time. The amazing thing about O’Brien is that he might be in Ascot one day mixing with royalty and the very top in society and the following day he is in Roscommon or Galway or Navan. No celebrating or nightclubs with Aidan O’Brien. He is not even 50 years of age yet. He has 20 more years to go at the top at least.

Zebo’s omission is daft!

There are times when I just cannot understand the politics of rugby in this country. I realise that there is a policy of Ireland not picking players who are playing their club rugby abroad (with the exception of Johnny Sexton!) but to exclude Simon Zebo from the panel for the November internationals seems a daft thing to do. He is not leaving Munster until the end of the season and he is a class player so it makes no sense to me at all.

  Then we have Bundee Aki, who is a fine player but who is only living in this country for a very short time, and he will make his Irish debut over the next few weeks.

  Just a word too about the Connacht v Munster match last Friday night at The Sportsground. It was a mighty game all through from the very first whistle and it was a great win for Connacht.

Big weekend for local football teams

It’s a big weekend for Kilglass Gaels and Michael Glavey’s in the Connacht club championship. Kilglass, having lost the county junior final, will be up against it but I would be more hopeful about Michael Glavey’s, who will take on Bohola/Moy Davitts in Castlebar. Glavey’s should be much stronger this year than they were when they won the intermediate championship two years ago and if they could fashion a win here they would be set for Connacht glory. But it’s not easy to go to Castlebar and win in any competition.