By Sean Creedon
D.J. Carey is set to make a dramatic return to the Kilkenny team for their All-Ireland hurling semifinal against Tipperary on Sunday. Two months ago it looked Carey was finished with intercounty hurling. But on the advice of some people close to him, the Gowran star changed his mind after Kilkenny’s Leinster final win over Offaly. Carey is now back training with The Cats and could make the starting 15.
“D.J has been going very well in training since he rejoined us, and he will be in consideration for selection when we sit down to pick the team,” manager Brian cody said. “He has suffered no ill effects from taking a full part in all aspects of the training and he look 100 per cent once again. Of course it was a huge help that D.J. was in very good physical condition when he resumed training with us. This was as a result of having previously been training with this club for some time.”
Meanwhile, Meath star Ollie Murphy has got a eight-week suspension after the Games Administration Committee found that he abused Cork referee Michael Collins after Meath’s loss to Donegal in the All-Ireland qualifiers. Meath say they have been hard done by Collins in recent games and Murphy felt he was badly treated. With Meath out of the championship the ban will not effect the Royals, but it could deny Murphy the chance to play with his club Carnaross in their bid to win the intermediate championship in Meath.
Armagh-Sligo for Navan
Another hectic weekend of GAA action is coming up. The GAA has often been accused of making some strange decision, but the Games Administration Committee made an excellent choice when they named Pairc Tailteann in Navan as the venue for the replay of the Armagh-Sligo All-Ireland quarterfinal replay. Originally Clones was mentioned as a possible venue, but that would not have been fair to Sligo supporters as St. Tiernach’s Park would be considered as a home venue for Armagh. Now both Sligo and Armagh fans can travel to a ground, which is very accessible, and if any fans want to make a weekend of it in Dublin, they are still close enough to the capital to do so.
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Meanwhile, the GAA has placated the people who live near Croke Park and the other quarterfinal replay between Dublin and Donegal goes ahead at headquarters on Saturday evening at 5. Dublin will have manager Tommy Lyons back in the dugout after he watched the drawn game from his hospital bed. Also back could be Paul Curran, who missed the drawn game through injury. Curran’s experience would be beneficial to the Dublin defense. Donegal will be without center-half Barry Monaghan, who was injured in the first minute last time out. But Damien Diver did very well when called in.
Last time out Donegal had more possession. Dublin lived on scraps and got a draw. In Gaelic football, you have got to do well at midfield to have any hope of winning. Ciaran Whelan is a fine athlete who can carry the ball and kick great points. Darren Homan has improved, but they still don’t work well together. A hesitant vote for Donegal.
Roy takes swipe at Jack
It was expected that Roy Keane would have a go at Mick McCarthy in his new book, but we forgot that Keane was also not a fan of previous manager Jack Charlton. Keane says that a stopover at Harry Ramsdens fish and chip restaurant on the Naas Road on the way back to Dublin from Limerick scuppered Ireland’s preparation for a vital European Championship game against Austria in 1996. The team bus stopped at the restaurant in which Charlton had a minor share and took the Harry Ramsden challenge, which meant lots of fish and chips and mushy peas. Hardly the ideal preparation 24 hours before a big game.
Keane also says the he told Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that he was quitting after being sent off for throwing a punch at Alan Shearer last season. But Keane was later talked out of quitting by Ferguson. And Keane reveals that Brian Clough, his manager at Nottingham Forest, once punched him to the ground in the dressing room after Keane had underhit a back-pass to his goalkeeper in a FA Cup replay against Crystal Palace. Clough never apologized, but later he gave the young Corkman a few days off back home on Leeside.
O Se to miss semi
Bad news for Kerry in the run-up to their All-Ireland football semifinal against Cork on Aug. 25. Star midfielder Dara O Se got a straight red card while playing for his club An Gaeltacht against Austin Stacks in the Kerry County Championship on Sunday evening. The penalty for a straight red card is usually four weeks, and O Se is certain to miss the semifinal. But he would be eligible for the final, provided Kerry get over their Munster neighbors. O Se has been in brilliant form this year and Kerry now have a big problem in deciding who to play alongside Donal Daly. Moving Seamus Moynihan to midfield could be the answer. Moynihan always has trouble coping with Colin Corkery, but then who gets the unenviable task of trying to mark the burly Cork full-forward?
Soccer fans on move
The World Cup is only a few weeks behind us, but Irish soccer supporters are not dwelling on the past. Instead they are look to the future. It’s estimated that more than 4,000 Irish supporters will travel to Moscow for The Republic’s opening game in the 2004 European Championship, against Russia on Sept. 7.
“Within two days of our tickets going on sale we were completely sold out,” said former Irish international Ray Treacy, who now operates his own travel agency in Dublin.
Up to 1,000 supporters are expected to travel to Helsinki for the friendly against Finland on Aug. 21.
Meanwhile, we can expect to face a new-look Russian team in Moscow on Sept. 7. New manager Valeri Gazzayev has dropped many well-known names from his preliminary squad of 59. Gone are captain Viktor Onopko and experienced players like Yuri Nikoforov, Alexander Mostovoi and Valery Karpin.
“We are at the beginning of a long road, which hopefuly will take us to the European Championship Finals in 2004,” Gazzayev said at a news conference last week.
Russia play Sweden in a friendly in Moscow later this month.
The meeting of St. Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne at Richmond Park, Inchicore, Friday night is the biggest game in the second round of games in the Carlsberg FAI Cup this weekend. There was a lot of bad feeling between these Dublin rivals last season with Shels calling for an investigation in the registration of the Saints players. Thankfully, Pat Dolan and Ollie Byrne have acted like adults and have now put these matters behind them and we can look forward to games being decided on the field of play.
It’s been 41 years since the Saints won the Cup, and with the benefit of home advantage they should take a step closer to bridging that long gap. Shamrock Rovers, who knocked out Cup holders Dundalk in the first round, have been rewarded with a home draw against Cobh Ramblers. Non-league side Fairview Rangers, who beat Dublin City in the first round, must fancy their chances at home of taking the scalp of another first division club after Finn Harps were drawn away to the Limerick side.
Moynihan names captain
Kerry full-back Seamus Moynihan will captain Ireland in the Compromise Rules series against Australia in Croke Park on Oct. 13 and 20. Manager John O’Keeffe last week named a preliminary squad of 51 players drawn from 19 different counties. But O’Keeffe says there is still room for players to play their way into the squad.
“My selectors, Matt Connor, Peter McGinnity and Martin Carney, are keeping a close look on the closing games in the All-Ireland championship and the door is still open for any player who impresses even at this late stage,” he said.
Indeed, Mayo goalkeeper Peter Burke got a call-up after a great performance against Cork in the All-Ireland quarterfinal. A number of players, including last year’s captain, Anthony Tohill, say they are no longer interested in Compromise Rules. And there’s certain to be a few defections from the squad named. Dublin midfielder Ciaran Whelan says he wants a break from the game and one wonders what will happen with Meath’s Graham Geraghty, who was a surprise inclusion considering that he recently announced his retirement from intercounty football. Geraghty is also reported to be the target of Drogheda United Soccer club. But the player himself says he may join Buccaneers Rugby club.