Category: Archive

All eyes on Cats, Tipp

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Obviously some Kilkenny supporters got fed with the sign, which had stood for many years. Tipp may have won the first-ever All-Ireland final in 1887, but of course Kilkenny are “Top Cats” in recent years and they now have 27 senior titles, two more than Tipp and only one behind all-time leaders Cork. But there is nothing wrong with healthy rivalry — it’s the interparish and intercounty rivalry that makes Gaelic games so popular in Ireland.
Kilkenny, after a relatively easy campaign in Leinster, will be hot favorites to qualify for another final, while Tipperary have come through the backdoor, having lost heavily to Clare in the first round of the Munster championship. The back door can be very useful for a new manager who wants to get to know his team and it certainly has allowed Michael Doyle to experiment. He brought Tommy Doyle back to center half-back where he is playing very well. And the powerful John Carroll, who was dropped for the Galway game, was brilliant in the quarterfinal win over Offaly. Tipp’s wins over Galway and Offaly will have given them much-needed match practice, while Kilkenny have been idle since they beat Wexford in the Leinster Final on July 6. Kilkenny have so much class and even if someone like D.J. Carey is well marked, there are still plenty of other match-winners. I don’t think anybody in Tipp will be rushing out to put up that sign up on the road near Urlingford for a while yet.

Mick O’Dwyer said he is going to continue with Laois for another year at least. After winning the Leinster senior football championship for the first time in 57 years O’Dwyer’s Laois team were unlucky to be paired with reigning All-Ireland champions Armagh at the quarterfinal stage and went down by two points. “This year has been a roller-coaster ride for all the lads, but I think they will have learned a lot from the campaign and I would like to think that experience will stand to them next year,” said the 67-year-old Kerryman, who shows no sign of slowing down. And Dominic Corrigan said he is not walking away from Fermanagh despite their embarrassing defeat by Tyrone at the quarterfinal stage. “What we saw against Tyrone was not the true Fermanagh team. We were hoping to go out on a high, to cause a shock. We were certainly hoping we would perform. But I’m in this for the long haul and won’t be running away,” Corrigan said.
In Cavan there is much speculation as to who will replace Mattie Kerrigan as manager. Former Cavan stars Stephen King and Damien O’Reilly are reported to be in the running, but the favorite could be former Derry manager Eamon Coleman, who is now coaching the Gowna club in Cavan.
And in Waterford, former player Jim Greene makes no secret of his wish to take over from Justin McCarthy as the county hurling manager. “My hat is definitely in the ring. It would be the fulfillment of a very personal ambition were I to land the job. From the day I retired as a player I have set my sights on managing the county senior team,” Greene said.

The English Premiership kicks off on Saturday next and we will see a few Irish internationals begin a new lease of life in the top flight. With Mick McCarthy going down with Sunderland, David O’Leary is the sole Irish manager in the Premiership. Damien Duff has been the highest profile Irish player transferred during the summer, moving from the relatively quiet life in Blackburn in the North of England to the bright lights of London and Chelsea. Duff should be in the Chelsea starting XI for their opening game away to Liverpool on Sunday. But Duff’s Irish colleague Steve Finnan is unlikely to start for Liverpool. Finnan has just had a hernia operation and Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier reckons that his new full-back will not be fit for the opening league game of the season.
Two Irish players who joined Premiership clubs during the summer were Matt Holland and Steven Reid. Holland, who moved from Ipswich to Charlton Athletic, had previously played at the top flight before Ipswich were relegated, but Blackburn Rovers is a big step up for Steven Reid, who has spent all of his time with Millwall. But of course Manchester United are the big boys in the Premiership and much focus will be on Roy Keane, to see if he has fully recovered from last season’s hip operation. United, who are traditionally slow starters, open with a home game against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Most of the Irish first team squad are now playing in the Premiership, but many Irish people will be looking out for one result from the third division every Saturday evening. The outspoken Dubliner Roddy Collins is the manager of Carlisle United, which is now owned by Dublin-born John Courtenay, the franchise holder in Ireland for Umbro. Last season, Carlisle were almost relegated to the Conference, but Courtenay said he’s confident that Carlisle will make it into the first division in three years.

Mick McCarthy was always loyal to Gary Breen when he was Republic of Ireland manager. In fact Breen played more games under McCarthy than any other Irish player. Now the former Irish boss, who is manager of Sunderland, has rescued the player from the scrap heap after he was released by West Ham United at the end of last season.
“I have been looking for a center-back and Gary is a vastly experienced defender, who I am sure will do well for us,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy has also signed Northern Ireland international Jeff Whitely from Manchester City, but has been forced to sell his star player Kevin Phillips to Southampton.

Skerries Town, who play at the elegant-sounding Park Lane near the sea in North County Dublin, are one of two non-league clubs through to the second round of the FAI Carlsberg Cup. Skerries, who beat first division Monaghan United in the first round, now will face reigning premier division champions Bohemians at Dalymount Park in the next round which will be played at the weekend.
“We are only four games from Europe,” was the jocular reaction of Skerries player-manager Alan Sweeney.
The non-leaguers run will probably end this weekend, but Cherry Orchard, the other non-league club through to the second round, should have a much better chance against first division Kildare County. Cup holders Derry, who needed a replay to beat Cobh Ramblers in the first round, are away to Galway, while premier division leaders Shelbourne travel to Sligo Rovers.

GAA president Sean Kelly is holding off on his plans to hold a poll among GAA players to elect a new Croke Park controlled players body.
“A number of players have contacted us and expressed their concern at the plans to start the group in such close proximity to the end of the hurling and football championship. Obviously there were also concerns with the GPA’s stance on the issue,” Kelly said.
His predecessor Sean McCague appointed former Armagh full-back Jarlath Burns as chairman of the players body two years ago, but there were no elections. However Gaelic Players Association Chief Executive Dessie Farrell said that 1,200 of his members voted at their AGM last year to boycott elections for a Croke Park-controlled players body.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese