Seamus Duke on sport – November 9th



Fuerty finally get over the line!

So Fuerty finally got there on Saturday last. A lot of heartache and disappointments were put behind them as they deservedly took home the Jimmy Murray Cup from Strokestown after a commanding display against Oran. 

  Billy Donnellan’s men could not overcome the injuries to Jack Earley and Paul Kenny and they were playing catch-up for almost the entire 60 minutes. Oran played some of the best attacking football that I have seen in some years against Kilbride and again against Tulsk but they just ran out of steam last Saturday. But they will be back, and if those young talented players stay together it is only a matter of time before senior football returns to Oran.

  But it was Fuerty’s day. Old stagers like Niall Kilroy, David Delaney, the Bannons and Niall Connolly have got their day in the sun, add in the younger brigade, and a top class coach in the shape of Eamon Towey it was a recipe for success and a victory for patience and persistence. The hard work done by St. Ciaran’s at underage level over the past 10 to 15 years has paid off. Now Fuerty will take their place in the senior football Championship in 2019. Few will begrudge them their success.

All Stars selection controversy

The All Stars teams have come and gone once again and the football team was controversial. Colm Cavanagh at full-back? I thought he was deserving of an award but at midfield. I would have found room for Ryan Wylie in the full-back like. He conceded a total of 0-2 from play in 2018. That’s an incredible statistic.

  The selection of Rory Beggan ahead of Stephen Cluxton was controversial and it is true to say that you will never pick an All Star team that doesn’t generate argument. But Cluxton has changed the face of Gaelic football over the years. So much so that the powers that be are coming up with rule changes to cope with some of the things he has introduced. That he hasn’t got an All Star in the past five years is bizarre.

  It’s time for a shake-up in the selection committee many of whom are serving for well over 30 years. Surely there are 10 or 12 people representative of all levels in the GAA at football and hurling who can serve for five years before letting someone else have a go at it. It would appear that it’s harder to get off the All Star selection committee than get on it.  

  Just a word about young Limerick hurler Cian Lynch, who spoke brilliantly at the All Stars event on Friday night last. For one so young he outlined the importance of the GAA in this country in a few sentences in terms of community, family and how it impacts on people of all ages.

Plenty of great club goals

People who have attended the club football games over the past couple of months have seen some brilliant goals. In the senior final we had spectacular goals from Senan Kilbride and also from Cathal Callinan, in the intermediate final drawn game the strikes from Gearoid Keenan and Gearoid Ennis will live long in the memory and then last Saturday in the Intermediate replay Aengus Lyons and Darragh Walsh scored two absolute crackers. I can’t recall seeing so many great goals at the latter stages of the club championships and long may it continue.

Ireland ready for Argie-bargy!

The Irish rugby team will step up the intensity when they face Argentina at the Aviva this weekend. The game against Italy saw Ireland win easily but it was not a game that will live long in the memory save for Jordan Larmour’s spectacular try late on. He will be knocking on Joe Schmidt’s door for a starting spot this weekend and next weekend against New Zealand.

  Argentina will be a severe test for Ireland and they are a very physical outfit. However I am expecting Ireland to win with a bit to spare and set up the big one against the All Blacks on Saturday week. What a game that promises to be. The selection for this weekend will gave a strong indication of what team will take the field against the world champions.

City emerge the strong favourites

The race for the English Premier League is now a three-horse race with Man City the strong favourites. Liverpool and Chelsea will certainly give chase but at this stage of the season it looks like City have the players and the power to fend off all challengers.

  I am not ruling out Liverpool but they will have to go to places like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and win if they want to keep up with City. They are capable of doing that but if they drop many more points then City will run away with it.

Dundalk on the double!

I enjoyed the bit of the FAI Cup final that I saw on Sunday last. I was rooting for Cork City because of Johnny Caulfield but they were very unlucky on the day. Stephen Kenny has done a great job with Dundalk. He is a very capable manager. I got to know him when he was over Longford Town and at that stage they won the cup and got to two finals in a row. There was incredible excitement in the Longford area at the time. I see where he is being touted as a possible replacement for Martin O’Neill as the next Irish manager. If that were to come about it would be a remarkable rise to the top for the Dubliner.


Clann squeeze past the exiles


I expected that Clann na nGael would win by four or five points last Sunday but I certainly didn’t expect the struggle that it was for them. Tir Chonaill Gaels were well organised and they had a number of very good players who gave Clann plenty of headaches for three quarters of the game. But Donie Shine and to a lesser extent, Ciarán Lennon kept Clann alive when they were struggling, and the Johnstown men can be very happy with their contributions.

  Graham Pettit’s goal came at just the right time for the Roscommon champions and they pulled away in the last ten minutes. Clann will not need me to tell them that if they play like that against Corofin on Sunday then they will not be going any further. But last Sunday’s game and result could be the ideal way for Clann to go into this game.

  Corofin will be the hot favourites but I am of the firm opinion that Clann have a great chance in Dr. Hyde Park. They will certainly have to tighten up in the full-back line and improve at midfield but with Donie Shine and Ciarán Lennon able to get the vital scores they can give the All-Ireland champions plenty of problems.

  Remember in last year’s championship St. Brigid’s took Corofin to extra-time and probably should have beaten them too – it can be done! I am really looking forward to this match.

  Good luck to Fuerty who are in Sligo to face Shamrock Gaels, and also to Kilglass Gaels who travel to Tuam to face Clonbur. It’s a pity that all three games are on Sunday. There are a number of people who would love to have seen all three Roscommon teams in action.

  A special mention to St. Brigid’s who won their second Connacht minor title in a row last weekend beating a really good Westport team in the final. You have got to admire St. Brigid’s as a club. They are setting the standard that everyone else should aspire to. The future sure looks good for them!