Why Roy Keane was right to issue wake-up call

For a few years now l have made no secret of the fact that I think footballers, the soccer type, are vastly overpaid, pampered and spoilt, and in no instance do any of them deserve the obscene amount of money that they are paid. However it now seems that if you criticise them, even when they play badly, you are going to be accused of being unfair and – in the case of our Irish Euro team – of rocking the boat and contributing to what the media call unrest in the camp.

  Last Tuesday evening week, Ireland played Belarus in an international friendly in Cork and put on a performance that was absolutely appalling. From what I saw, (before I went back out to the garden), most of the Irish players looked as if they had no interest at all in being where they were. Now as it was the last game before the squad was announced for France and the Euro finals, you might have thought that some lads on the fringes might have really gone for it and knocked the socks off the Belarusians, but nothing could be further from the truth and we were lucky to only lose by 2 goals to 1.

  The referee, for some reason, blew up just as our visitors were bearing down on our goal, with two forwards through the defence and only goalie Shay Given to beat, to nearly make it a 3-1 loss for the home side.  

  Anyway, true to form, Roy Keane, who is the assistant manager, didn’t mince his words when discussing the performance. He said, (jokingly maybe), that he felt like killing some of the players, added that one or two of them thought they were better than they actually were and that all who made the squad should thank their lucky stars they were in it.

  Now anyone who knows anything about football would agree with him, but the words were barely out of his mouth when people like Kevin Kilbane, who should know better, waded in in defence of the team. He said it was wrong to be critical so close to the tournament, it might affect team morale and by affecting lads’ confidence it could cause this ‘unrest’ in the camp. Ask any junior football team, where lads get nothing except abuse, if they are let off scot-free when they play badly – and I can tell you they are not. Any self-respecting manager, especially when the team looks as if it couldn’t care less, will have a go at his players and if they can’t take a few home truths then maybe they are in the wrong place.

  However, we are off to France for next week’s big kick-off and, funny enough, if they do what they are good at and work their socks off, I will not be surprised if we shock one or two of the more fancied teams and have a really good tournament. In the meantime, let them swallow their pride and realise how lucky they are to be going there in the first place and thank God they can make huge money just by kicking a football.

O’Leary’s timely warning

One of my all-time heroes, Michael O’Leary, was spot-on when he had a go at the Luas drivers and their union during the week. He said anyone could learn to drive a tram in nanoseconds and that during the summer, we could have our holidaying students trained up to keep the Luas moving.

  In these times, to look for a 50% plus increase on wages of over €50,000, is crazy.  O’Leary basically said if they worked for Ryanair, they would all be sacked. They may well have listened to his words, as since he made his comments the drivers have settled for a little over 18% and peace seems to have been restored. What a pity we don’t have more leaders, who, instead of saying the popular thing, would bite the bullet, talk straight and say what they really mean. We would all be better off if they did.

The garden – then and now!

Up to a few years ago, I used to think that a garden should have a bit of grass and a couple of goalposts and that its main function was as a mini football pitch. When our kids were small, that is exactly the way our garden was, and many a footballing battle took place there over the years. I can tell you that if you were like the Irish lads against Belarus and you didn’t put your heart and soul into it, you wouldn’t last long.

  However, a few years ago, the garden underwent a makeover and now there’s roses and lupins and all kinds of lovely things growing there, (mind you, I miss the football pitch), and even I have noticed the great growth we’ve had in the last few days. There’s colour springing up all over the place and in fairness, with the lovely weather we’ve had recently, it’s been nice to sit out and relax and enjoy the surroundings, although without the excitement of an all-out 3-a-side.

Two big nights ahead…

Finally for this week, two big local nights to tell you about.

  First of all, on this Saturday night, 13th of June, one of the main local social nights of the year, the distribution of the funds from the Barrie Harris Walk to several local, national and international charities, will take place in Mikeen’s at 9.30 pm. As usual, Bina and her hard-working team will have a great array of goodies, (Bina’s own apple pie is not to be missed), including tea, sandwiches and lovely creamy buns, and of course there will be live music on the night, so please make the effort and get to Mikeen’s this Saturday night.

  I keep saying it, only because it’s true, but the importance of the Barrie Harris Walk, in helping so many less fortunate people, cannot be overstated and I’m sure, as always, the supporters of the event will have made sure that the walk of 2015 will have been another great success.

  Let’s all get to Mikeen’s this Saturday night, have a bit of craic and fun and start looking forward to St. Stephen’s Day 2016.

  Then on Friday night, 17th of June, the highly-acclaimed Roscommon Solstice Choir are performing in the Church at Donamon Castle at 8 pm, in a fundraiser for both Creggs and Cloverhill national schools.

  Hearing and seeing this choir is one of the great musical experiences, so to have a great night’s entertainment, while also helping two local schools, make sure you get to Donamon on Friday night, 17th of June and don’t be late, as the performance will start on time. Tickets are only €10.

Till next week, bye for now!