Seamus Duke on sport – November 2nd







GAA must address violent incidents

Over the past few weeks we have all seen the footage of violent scenes from around the country at club games and the GAA at national level will have to act to address what is a growing problem.

  Over the past week in the course of my radio work I interviewed John King, father of Ross King, who was seriously injured in an off the ball incident in the Laois county hurling final. Ross King is one of the best hurlers in Laois and was playing for Rathdowney-Errill when he received the butt of a hurley into the face just before half-time. He was very seriously injured, was taken to hospital and the dental repair work alone has cost him €5,000 to date. Pictures of the injuries were shown on the national newspapers last week. 

  I also spoke to former Meath star Bernard Flynn whose son was ‘blindsided’ in a recent Westmeath SFC semi-final and he required eight stitches in a mouth wound.

  We have seen the footage from Kerry where a team mentor ‘clocked’ a player from behind during a melee and several more serious incidents from around the country.

  There are several strands to this. On the field of play young men are now fitter and stronger than ever. They are going to the gym and taking all manner of supplements and more and some are very anxious to show just how strong they are. When they lose their temper they are very dangerous.

  Then there is the problem that there are far too many people allowed on the sideline at club matches. There is no need for any more than three people to be in on the sideline with any club team. A team manager, one selector and the physio is plenty. Everyone else should be outside the wire and the subs in the dug-out at all times.

  It has to be also said that in a lot of cases frustration with poor refereeing standards are also a contributory factor.

  Thankfully we have had no serious incidents in Roscommon but if the trend that we have seen nationally is allowed to continue it is only a matter of time before someone loses their life in one of these incidents. Then there will be a national outcry and action will be taken but it will be too late. It’s a nettle that the GAA will have to grasp sooner rather than later. They have been warned.


Still awaiting new county manager!


At the time of writing this it looks like there will not be any managerial appointment for the senior football team this week, and while time drags on, a very difficult 2019 gets closer and closer.

  I have sympathy for the committee who were set up to look for a manager. They spent seven weeks looking for a suitable candidate and then when they found one they found that it was not acceptable. It’s clear that Aidan O’Rourke got wind of the opposition to his proposed appointment and he jumped ship. It’s hard not to blame him.

  Now it looks likely that an appointment will be made from within the county and the hope will be that it is done as soon as possible. But what happens if the committee come up with another name and those who were not happy last week object to the new man too? It’s a very unsatisfactory way of doing business. I was under the impression that the way it was supposed to work was that the committee brought a name to a County Board meeting and the clubs would then have their say. Too many people outside official channels seem to be able to influence what is going on.

  An appointment will have to be made sooner or later and when it is, we will have to get behind him, whoever he is. But the whole saga has been an unholy mess and not good for football in the county. There was a clarion call at the end of last year for a good ‘strength and conditioning’ coach following heavy losses in the Super 8s and a more defensive gameplan as well. That seemed to have been addressed by the selection committee but that’s gone out the window now. We await more news and an appointment with bated breath.


Schmidt to experiment against Italians


The November rugby internationals are starting this weekend with a game against the Italy. It will be a chance for Joe Schmidt to experiment and have a look at his options outside his first 15. I presume that he will play his strongest team against Argentina and the All Blacks.

  We are now one year away from the World Cup and the focus will be on the panel and how Ireland will be able to cope if they suffer some injuries. There will be places up for grabs for the 6 Nations Championship and also for the World Cup so it will be interesting to see what team Schmidt goes with this weekend.


Busy weekend of football ahead…


This weekend Clann na nGael face Tir Chonnail Gaels in the Connacht club championship and it is a game that Clann should be winning. Paul Coggins is manager of the London side and they were the narrow winners of a London final replay last weekend but Clann should be strong enough to get through to a semi-final.

  The Intermediate replay is on Saturday and the match is previewed in more detail elsewhere in the paper this week. I am of the opinion that the pendulum has swung back in favour of Fuerty. Oran have a few bad injuries to contend with and that might be decisive. But there won’t be much in it again.

  Just a word about the Galway SFC final last Sunday between Mountbellew-Moylough and Corofin. I was talking to a few people who were at the match and said it was as poor a game as they have ever seen. It ended 0-7 each with both teams deploying 13 and 14 players behind the ball. Remember that Corofin are All-Ireland champions. At least we had a top class SFC final here in Roscommon.


Three-horse race in the Premier League


The Premier League title now looks to be a three-horse race. Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea will battle it out and Liverpool are really looking good. Their front three are back in the goals and Virgil van Dijk looks a class player. City will push them all the way but it might be Liverpool’s time.

  That will be very bad news for fans of arch rivals Manchester United who continue to tread water mid-table. They mixed the really good with the very mediocre against Everton last weekend. They are miles off the top as was shown last week against Juventus when they were totally outclassed.



A sad weekend for English football


It was a sad weekend in English soccer with the tragedy in Leicester and the serious illness suffered by Glenn Hoddle.

  The owner of Leicester City had backed the club with his own money and that directly led to them winning the Premier League a few years ago. His sudden and tragic death will probably have huge implications for the club.

  I actually met Glenn Hoddle last year in Kinsale where he was playing golf in a charity event. A really nice, quiet, and pleasant man. He was also a fantastic player. I wish him a full recovery.