Seamus Duke on sport – October 18th




Pádraig Pearses’ historic day at the Hyde

Sunday, October 13th 2019 is a day that will go down in the annals of the Pádraig Pearses GAA Club as the day they finally ascended to the top of the Roscommon club football tree. Since their formation 57 years ago and particularly over the past 15 years, they have been knocking on the door, and on Sunday it opened wide for them. I don’t think there is anyone who would begrudge them this marvellous victory and they were the better team on the day.

  However, they almost let it slip. When the magnitude of what they were about to achieve dawned on them, they froze and allowed Roscommon Gaels back into the match. It doesn’t matter now, but they will be wondering how they were hanging on at the finish having been in control for so long.

  Overall they have had a super campaign and they have some really fine players. The Daly brothers have been outstanding, Davy Murray, Mark Richardson and Shane Carty too. Niall Carty, played in his 6th final – what a servant to the club he has been!

  There are new heroes too like Paul Carey, Hubert Darcy and Conor Payne and of course Tom Butler, who has made a huge contribution off the bench.

  Having spent a lifetime in Roscommon GAA, I know many of the Pearses people very well. Out on the pitch after the game I met several stars of the past as well as people who served the club over the years and they were crying openly as the Fahey Cup was being presented. That’s the beauty of club football. Family and the parish are what it’s all about.

  But sport is cruel. Not far away from the ecstatic Pearses people stood the Roscommon Gaels players and mentors who were devastated. Having being involved at a lower level in the club this year I know the massive effort that they put into this championship. Under Liam McNeill no stone was left unturned and I know many of the lads personally and they will be hurting this week.  

  However, it has to be admitted that Pearses were the better team, they played the better football and they deserved to win. Too many of the Gaels players played poorly on the day.  

  One thing that really annoyed the Gaels however were the two red cards late on. Gaels mentors and players felt that there were two teams involved in the incident and yet Pearses escaped any sanction, which was unfair. It is hard to argue with that view but it certainly didn’t affect the result. The best team won on the day by a long way.

  It was also good to see such a healthy crowd. It was the biggest that I have seen at a county senior final in many years which is very positive.


Intermediate and junior finals this Sunday


This Sunday there will be more excitement when the intermediate and junior finals are played in Dr. Hyde Park.

  In the intermediate final, Tulsk have been knocking on the door for the past number of years and they will surely hope that they can get across the line this year. They have a good all-round team and will be the deserved favourites to win. But they will take Oran lightly at their peril. The outsiders are plagued with injuries yet they have some very talented younger players.

  In the junior final, Ballinameen will be hoping to win the title for the ‘junior’ clubs. It would signal a great end to the campaign for them if they were to win but Brigid’s will have something to say about that. They faltered against Clann in the first match in the semi-final but they put up a huge total in the replay. A lot of the talented young players that we saw in the minor final last Sunday will be in action. The Kiltoom men will be very hard to beat.


Two-tier or not two-tier…


The GAA Special Congress this Saturday will consider whether to introduce a two-tier football championship and there are a number of new playing rules up for debate as well. The so-called ‘weaker counties’ are divided over whether the competition should be established and the players in those counties are divided on it as well.

  Personally I think that it’s a good idea, and as long as teams get to play in the main competition first then I would be all for it.


Can Schmidt’s men shock the world?


It was always going to come down to a clash between Ireland and the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup and the reality of the situation will mean that no one will give Ireland a snowball’s chance in hell of beating the All Blacks, which makes Joe Schmidt’s men dangerous opponents. Whether they are capable of pulling off a shock is another thing altogether however!

  New Zealand look a class apart and the most impressive team in the championship so far. Ireland have been very mediocre so far although they produced their best performance against Samoa last weekend.

  They will have to play better than they have for the past twelve months if they want to have any chance. They will be able to take inspiration from Japan who have been a breath of fresh air in this competition and their frantic all-action style has been fantastic to watch. It’s doubtful, however, if any Joe Schmidt team will deploy such tactics. It’s probably too much to hope for that Ireland would win it but let’s hope they put in a big display.


United fans fearing the worst this Sunday


This Sunday most Manchester United fans will be watching their Premier League game against Liverpool from behind the couch. United are just so poor at the moment it is hard to see anything other than an easy Liverpool win. There was a time not that long ago when United relished playing Liverpool because they usually had their measure but how times have changed. There are always shocks of course but United fans will be clutching at straws and hoping for the best.


Dominic’s clinch first title in 28 years


If Pádraig Pearses made history last Sunday then St. Dominic’s camogie side were not far behind them in terms of achievement when they won the senior title, upsetting Four Roads in the final.

  This championship has been dominated by Four Roads and Athleague over the past two decades and it is a marvellous achievement for Dominic’s to come in and win a title in such style. Well done to all concerned!


An astonishing feat in Austria…


On Saturday, in Austria, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in 1 hour 59.40 seconds, becoming the first human being to run the 26 ¼ miles in under two hours which is some achievement.

  Some of the statistics are truly astounding. Every mile he ran was under five minutes. It also meant that every 100 metres was run in about 17 seconds. Just think about that for a minute. It’s truly astonishing.


Abseiling Croke Park for a worthy cause


I travelled with my daughter Syrea to Croke Park to take part in a charity ‘Abseil for Breast Cancer Research’ on Saturday last. It was a great success and over 90 people took part when they came down from the roof of Croke Park onto the pitch and they raised money in their own local area. A big thanks on her behalf to everyone who contributed.


Another wonderful county final programme


Congratulations to County Board PRO Hugh Lynn on his efforts for the county final programme. Last year’s programme was an award winner and this year’s was even better. Programmes of the quality that we saw last Sunday are not cheap to produce and a lot of them lose money. There is a mountain of work involved too so credit where it is due.