Seamus Duke on sport – August 23rd




Tipp deserving winners of MacCarthy Cup

It’s a pity that last Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final was so one-sided but Tipperary were full value for their win. There is no doubt that the sending-off of Richie Hogan made it easier for Tipp but they looked far too strong anyway.

  Liam Sheedy has done a great job this year since his return. Sometimes the role of the manager is over-played but in this case all you have to do is listen to the players and the respect that they have for him. It is obvious that he has something special.

  One thing that really interested me was listening to the speech made by Seamus Callanan as he received the Liam MacCarthy Cup. He starting naming out members of the backroom team that he wanted to thank. I stopped counting at 28, which is a truly amazing figure. That’s what it takes nowadays apparently.

  With regard to the dismissal of Richie Hogan, I thought it was a red card. The rules are very plain and simple; if you raise your hand (or elbow) to an opponent it’s a sending off. I thought the referee did very well. He didn’t rush into his decision; he consulted his linesman and then made up his mind.

  There are a couple of issues in relation to that incident last Sunday that I’d like to raise. The people in Croke Park who paid €90 for a ticket could not see a replay of the incident on the big screen in the stadium. They don’t show anything controversial at all. It meant that many tens of thousands were unsure what had happened or what the basis was for the referee’s decision to issue a red card.

  In contrast, those of us watching at home or in the pub were able to see about ten replays of the incident to allow us to make up our minds. Either show every incident on the big screen in Croke Park or show none at all.

  Then RTÉ repeatedly showed Richie Hogan sitting in the Hogan Stand, the pain of what had happened etched on his face. People in the stadium who had not seen the incident were wondering what the Kilkenny man had done to warrant all the attention he was getting from the camera. In fact, I found it to be very unfair to Richie Hogan. He is an amateur player after all. He made a mistake in an All-Ireland final. No one died.

Clann and Brigid’s beaten in openers!

It was an interesting start to the Roscommon club championships. In the senior grade it’s a long time since St. Brigid’s and Clann na nGael were beaten on the same evening. I was in Elphin where the home side were the worthy winners against Brigid’s and Western Gaels were also impressive winners against Clann. Early days yet but Clann and Brigid’s would need to be winning this weekend.  

  Roscommon Gaels and Pádraig Pearses did enough to win but will need to improve. Michael Glavey’s were very impressive against St. Faithleach’s while Fuerty got that all important win against St. Croan’s.

  In the Intermediate Football Championship, Tulsk have started well and Éire Óg, Castlerea, Creggs and Oran will be well pleased with their wins.

  In the Junior Football Championship, a couple of people have told me that they were very impressed by Ballinameen at the weekend. There is still a long way to go. Things might become clearer after this weekend’s action.

Rugby World Cup preparations going well

I listened with interest to a discussion between two Irish rugby legends, Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll, on Newstalk at the weekend. It was encouraging to hear that both are very positive about how Joe Schmidt is going about Ireland’s preparations for the World Cup. Both men agreed that winning the warm-up games was not important and that keeping the injury list to a minimum is the most important thing.

  The only conundrum is that there are a number of players who will be very anxious to show what they can do to get one of those 31 places on the plane to Japan and they will be trying very hard to impress over the next three weeks or so.

  It’s very interesting to note that Wales are now the number one ranked team in the world having beaten England at the weekend. Taking the views of the two Irish legends into consideration I wouldn’t pass too much heed on those results. England for me are still the dark horses for the title in Japan.

VAR will be the talking point this season

It’s been a predictable start to the soccer season with Liverpool and Manchester City looking by far the two best teams in the English Premier League. But VAR is now being used and it cost City two points last Saturday against Spurs.

  The new TV review system is very controversial and there are rumblings of criticism beginning already. For years past most of the pundits, managers and players have been pleading for the authorities to use the technology to improve decision-making. Now they are regretting that stance. The new rule whereby any contact with the hand or arm is deemed a foul, whether there is intent or not, is very unfair. It would be better if every case was judged on its own merits. VAR will cause huge controversy before this season is over!

Grab All Association is ripping people off

The GAA decided to increase the price of tickets for the All-Ireland finals to €90 this year and I mentioned that here last week. People who attended the match last Sunday were charged €7 for a programme. It used to be €5. With every passing day I am convinced that the GAA at national level are only interested in big money. They signed a deal with SKY TV that excludes hundreds of thousands of people who do not have that subscription. They have now increased the price of an All-Ireland ticket by ten euros and the programme is now gone up by 40%. Do they think that people have unlimited money? It’s blatant exploitation.

  The GAA will always have demand for an All-Ireland final but they are ripping people off. Eddie Brennan had a go at this last week and I fully support him. I hope more people who have influence in the association stand up and voice their concerns too.

How times change…

A friend of mine reminded me over the weekend that 25 years ago, in September 1994, a group of us attended the Manchester United v Liverpool Premier League game at Old Trafford. United won 2-0 with two goals in two minutes in the second half from Kanchelskis and substitute Brian McClair.

  The two teams that lined out that day were – United: Schmeichel, May, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister, Ince, Kanchelskis, Sharpe, Giggs, Hughes, Cantona. Sub: McClair. Liverpool: James, Ruddock, Bjornebye, Jones, Scales. Barnes, McManaman, Redknapp, Molby, Rush, Fowler. Sub: Babb. Those were the days!

Dr. Hyde Park works long overdue

It’s very good news that the programme of works planned for Dr. Hyde Park have got the green light from Roscommon County Council and it is vital that those works are started and completed as soon as possible.

  The delay has cost Roscommon GAA and our senior team some vital home fixtures in recent years not to mention many neutral games including the Galway v Mayo game a couple of months ago, which would add to the income of the board. Apart from the fact that a lot of the work planned such as new dressing rooms and toilet facilities are badly needed, the draw for the 2020 championship will be taking place in a month’s time and if Roscommon are paired with Galway or Mayo those matches will be played at Dr. Hyde Park.

  As someone who spent over 20 years on the Hyde Park Committee, I am looking forward to the upgrade of facilities at the venue which are long overdue.