The Dubs eventually won their semifinal against Wexford easily enough after going behind for a short period. But you would still have to fancy Laois, provided they can repeat the form they showed when demolishing
This will be Laois’ third final in a row. And when you bear in mind that their last Leinster title win prior to 2003 was in 1946, then you think of one man Mick O’Dwyer.
O’Dwyer, who celebrated his 69th birthday last month, has no plans to retire and play golf in his native Waterville. Micko clearly loves to be involved in management. He had a brilliant run with Kerry in the
1970s and 1980s and got the best out of a limited Kildare squad in the 1990s, taking them to the All-Ireland final in 1998.
True, Laois had success at minor level prior to the arrival of O’Dwyer, but his presence has clearly lifted the men in blue and white. Some people would claim that Sean Boylan is the best manager we have seen in
Gaelic football, after his ability to build several new teams in Meath.
But O’Dwyer has done it with three different counties, which I think clearly makes him the most successful intercounty manager of all-time.
UNION BOSS RETURNS TO DUBLIN SQUAD
Gaelic Players Association chief executive Dessie Farrell has made a surprise comeback to the Dublin squad. At 34 it was thought that Dessie had retired from the intercounty scene, but obviously he is willing to
help out Dublin boss Paul Caffrey, his Na Fianna club colleague, if necessary. Also back in the squad is Darren Magee, who has just returned to Dublin from a seven-month stay in Australia. Magee has postponed plans to travel to Chicago for the Summer to help the Dubs.
So Dublin have plenty of options, but the old maestro O’Dwyer would love to put another one over on The Dubs.
CASTLEBAR TO HOST FOOTBALL QUALIFIERS
Three of the third-round games in the All-Ireland football qualifiers will also be played on Sunday next, with McHale Park, Castlebar, staging a double header. Limerick, who have benefited from the new two-week
break system this season, take on Derry in a tie that’s very hard to call. Limerick are strong and I give them the vote. That will be preceded by the meeting of Clare and Sligo. The third game on Sunday will be in Clones where neighbors Cavan and Meath clash. Meanwhile Louth will be in action on Saturday evening against the winners of the delayed Monaghan versus Wexford game. If it’s Wexford the game will be played at Parnell Park, Dublin, while if Monaghan win, the venue will be Breffni
CROKER PROVIDES HIGH-TECH VIEWS
A new 140-square foot metro screen at the Hill 16 end of Croke Park will be in use for the first time this weekend. Big screens are the norm at most sports venues nowadays. Croker’s screen has been ready for a weeks, but
the switch-on was delayed due to the construction of the stage for the U2 Concerts at that end of stadium. Soon another big screen will be installed at the Canal End and the GAA are also installing 35 plasma televisions around the ground to accommodate wheelchair users. The
television screens will be hung from the underside of the premium level and will be clearly visible to the wheelchair areas at the back of the stands. In the past wheelchairs users have had their view of the pitch
blocked when supporters stood up to celebrate a score. Speaking about these final touches to the 82,000 capacity stadium Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna said: ‘We won’t see much change out of