Seamus Duke on sport – April 19th



One of the greatest sports stories ever!


Some of the greatest sports stories that I have seen in my lifetime have included Seamus Darby’s goal in the All-Ireland final in 1982, Leicester City winning the Premier League title in 2016, and Dawn Run winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup having previously won the Champion Hurdle. I’m sure there are many more, but last Sunday afternoon in Augusta, one of the greatest sports stories we have ever seen unfolded before the millions watching around the world.

  I know that not everyone is a Tiger Woods fan (I am!) but what this man achieved by winning the 2019 US Masters is truly phenomenal. His motivation for his comeback could not have been money. He already has four or five hundred million dollars in the bank, he just wanted to come back and prove to everyone that he could compete again at the top level. To think that this man was not even able to walk two years ago puts his achievement into perspective.

  You need a little luck along the way and the collapse of Francesco Molinari on the back nine was a huge help to Tiger. But remember that he had to hit the shots too and his long putt on the 9th, his tee shots at the 12th and 16th and birdies at the par 3s on the day saw him rolling back the years. It was 11 years since he won a major and in that time the competition has become even more intense with players like Spieth, Fowler, Johnson, McIlroy, and Koepka on the scene to mention but a few. But the facts are that he saw them all off on Sunday in the most dramatic Masters that I can ever remember. If he stays fit and his back holds up, he will be back for more this year.

  Tiger Woods is the man to beat once again which is a statement that I thought I would never use again. Will be beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors? Unlikely, but then again this is Tiger Woods we are talking about.  His achievement is a lesson to us all in life that if you get knocked down it is possible to get up off the floor and go again. Sometimes sport provides us with moments that we will remember forever. Last Sunday’s US Masters was one of those moments.

Happy to see Dr. Hyde Park developments

It was fantastic to see that planning permission is being sought for the developments at Dr. Hyde Park. The works will secure the future of the venue for big games and Connacht finals too. There are plans for new dressing rooms, meeting rooms, new toilet blocks, security fencing and the tarring for all the roads and public areas.

  However, I was disappointed that there was no mention of any floodlighting work at the ground or any plans to include it in the future. As a former member of the Hyde Park Committee, I fully realise that there is only so much money available for these developments and the problems that are associated with getting the work done, but the many people have I have spoken to this week about the future of Dr. Hyde Park have expressed the hope that there would be floodlights there one day. It would give the County Board so many options with regard to inter-county and club matches.

Ladies can gain Sligo revenge

This weekend, the Roscommon Ladies footballers will play old rivals Sligo in the league Division Three semi-finals and it is vital that Michael Finneran’s team win this game as it would secure a chance to win promotion to Division Two which was the aim at the start of the year. Sligo narrowly won when the sides met in the league earlier on but there was little between the teams so there is no reason why Roscommon cannot win this match on Saturday.

Carty to the fore once again!

It’s a very busy few weeks in rugby and what a dramatic game we saw in The Sportsground last Saturday when Connacht defeated Cardiff Blues 29-22 to secure their place in the Pro14 play-offs but more importantly a place in the Heineken Champions Cup for 2020. It was a really tough battle but Jack Carty was to the fore once again and he scored a magnificent try. He seems to be improving all the time.

  This weekend it’s the semi-finals of the Champions Cup and there are two great games in prospect. Munster travel to take on Saracens at the Ricoh Arena. I was in the Ricoh earlier this year and it is a magnificent venue. There will be a mighty atmosphere when the ‘red army’ arrive there at the weekend. It will be a very tall order for Munster to win though. Saracens are a class outfit and will be very hard to beat.

  Leinster, meanwhile, are at home to Toulouse and what a battle that promises to be. Leinster were lucky to have beaten Ulster in the quarter-final and unless they can improve their form they could be disappointed against a quality French side. Johnny Sexton, Devin Toner and Robbie Henshaw are back for Leo Cullen’s side. They will need them all!

New FAI board needed for fresh start

The FAI situation has being discussed at length in the news and sports pages over the past couple of weeks. Regardless of the issues it would be very disappointing if the money which is being spent on coaching young players was to dry up as a result of grants being stopped.

  Because of greed, arrogance and the nod and wink culture at the top of the organisation, young kids who want to play soccer could suffer and that cannot be right. I know that you cannot be handing out taxpayers’ money to an organisation that is not being run in accordance with the rules, but it would be very unfortunate if young players were to lose out.

  The quicker that this whole mess is sorted out, the better. The board (including John Delaney) should resign immediately and let a new board take over to make a new start.

Liverpool look stronger each week

The Liverpool and Manchester City show rolls on to another weekend and if anything Liverpool are looking stronger by the week. Their win against Chelsea was emphatic and comfortable. Looking at their remaining fixtures I cannot see them dropping any more points. If that is the case then Manchester City would have to win all their remaining games and they have a much harder run-in including games against Spurs and Manchester United. Spurs may be blunted by the absence of Harry Kane but United away will not be easy for City.

  As for United, they were very lucky to have beaten West Ham on Saturday. It’s clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to buy at least five players during the summer if United hope to challenge for the title next season.

  Down at the bottom of the table one would have to feel sorry for Cardiff City in recent weeks. I have never seen a team so unlucky with blatant decisions going against them. I’m not a huge Neil Warnock fan but I can understand his frustration at all the things that have gone against them over the past few weeks in terms of offside goals, blatant penalties not given, and harsh red cards. But it looks like they will be going back to the Championship for next season.

  The big question a lot of people are asking is will Leeds United be replacing them? Three weeks ago it looked like a place in the play-offs was as much as they could hope for but they are now in the top two and their destiny is in their own hands. A few very interesting weeks are ahead in all divisions.