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Best ever Gaelic games manager? It depends on your opinion

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Who has been the best ever manager in Gaelic Games – Mick O’Dwyer, Kevin Heffernan, Liam Griffin, Ger Loughnane or maybe Sean Boylan? It’s ultimately a matter of subjective opinion, so here goes…

O’Dwyer is the longest serving boss having completed 15 seasons with Kerry and nine with Kildare, but the most consistent man in intercounty football or hurling right now is Sean Boylan. The Dunboyne-based Herbalist is in his 19th consecutive year in charge of Meath.

On Sunday next (Aug 5) Boylan takes charge of The Royals for a record 75th time in the championship when they meet Westmeath in the All-Ireland quarterfinal at Croke Park. Under Boylan, Meath have won 51 of the previous 74 championship games, a truly remarkable achievement.

When the Counties met in the Leinster Championship on June 3rd Meath scraped through by a point. This time around I think they should win again and set up an All-Ireland semifinal meeting against either Dublin or Kerry.

In Connacht it’s also a case of deja vu for Galway and Roscommon who meet in the quarterfinal in McHale Park, Castlebar. When the counties met in the Connacht Championship in June, Roscommon simply blew away the Galway

challenge. Since then Galway have improved and if they can keep up the momentum for the full 70 minutes, could gain revenge.

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The winners will meet either Derry or Tyrone in the semifinal. Here again it is a repeat performance as Tyrone beat their neighbors in the Ulster Championship.

Since then Derry have improved as they came through the losers round, but they probably depend too much on midfielder Anthony Tohill and I think Tyrone should triumph again.

And if you are planning a trip home for the Dublin-Kerry game and hoping for a bed in Thurles this weekend you are out of luck. All hotel rooms in the Tipperary town have all been snapped up by delegates attending the

International Miss Macra 2001 contest which is also being held in Thurles this weekend.

Ireland heads for down under

Dates have now been set for Ireland’s Compromise Rules series against Australia in October. The Irish team, which will be managed by Brian McEniff, will play Australia in the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 12, with the second test in Adelaide seven days later.

Garry Lyons has replaced Dermot Brereton as Aussie Coach, while Dubliner Jim Stynes continues in the role of assistant coach. The Irish squad and their new sponsor will be announced in Croke Park this afternoon (Aug 1).

Nasty knee injury

British and Irish Lions center Rob Henderson has had knee cartilage surgery and is likely to be out of action until the end of the year at least.

Henderson, who recently joined Munster from Wasps, is naturally disappointed.

"When I returned from Australia I knew I needed an operation," he said, "but I didn’t realize what the damage was. It’s frustrating because I wanted to make a big impression after moving to Munster. However, the operation was a success and now it’s a question of time."

Dover-born Henderson has won 25 caps for Ireland.

Faithful flock to clubhouse for prayers

For years the GAA maintained their ban on foreign games, but Ireland’s most famous amateur association has no ecumenical problems with so-called foreign religions.

St Finbarr’s GAA club in Cork is used every Friday by around 200 Muslims who are living in the Cork area. The Muslims have been forced to use The Barrs clubhouse for their Friday prayers when the house they were using in Glasheen was closed because of the numbers of faithful attending.

Poc Fada location change

The annual Poc Fada competition will be held as usual on Monday next, the August Bank Holiday in Ireland.

But owing to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease on the Cooley Peninsula earlier this year the competition will not be held over its traditional course on the Cooley mountains.

Instead the Poc Fada, which is reputed to stretch back to Cuchulainn’s time, will be

held in Dundalk Racecourse.

Meanwhile, plans are well under way for the second annual Kic Fada competition. Provincial finals have already been held in Leinster and Munster.

The Munster Final will be held in Kilmihill on Aug 11, with the Connacht final in Carrick

on Shannon on Aug 25. The national final will again be hosted by the Bray Emmets club in County Wicklow on Sept. 15.

Friendlies fire up

As we approach the start of the soccer season in Ireland there are now a barrage of pre-season friendlies.

Among the big English clubs visiting Ireland are Leeds United and Ipswich Town. But the big game will be at The Brandywell on August 19 when Derry City plays Real Madrid.

The game was arranged thanks to the intervention of one of Derry’s most famous sons John Hume, who used his European Parliament contacts to set up the friendly, which should further ease The Candystripes financial problems.

Meanwhile, Bohemians European run in the Champions League qualifiers will probably end this evening (Aug 1) in Sweden. Bohs lost 2-1 to Halmstads at Dalymount Park last Wednesday and with two valuable away goals to their credit the Swedish side seem certain to progress to the next round.

Pebble Beach – Ireland or CA.?

A County Galway golf course that shares its name with a famous American course has been asked to change its name.

The owners of Pebble Beach club in California have written to Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara asking it to change the name of its nine hole Pebble Beach course.

The American club is claiming it has exclusive rights to the name. A spokesman for the Galway course said, "Ours is a fun course and the name has been there for a long time. This is more of the world we live in where the little man gets slaughtered all the time. I think we should stand up for our rights. We are Pebble Beach, we’re in Ireland."

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