Category: Archive

Cork, Kerry kick off Friday night football

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Floodlights were introduced to the GAA 30 years ago when Down played Armagh in a challenge game at the Burren’s ground. But there was very little interest in installing floodlights at major venues until two years ago. Then Cork pushed ahead with lights at Pairc Ui Rinn, which was formerly known as the soccer ground Flower Lodge, though it never had lights even then. Kerry followed suit at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, and Dublin will play their first competitive game under lights at Parnell Park on Saturday night, when Mayo visit the Donnycarney venue.
Last month, we saw a McGrath Cup football game between Cork and Limerick played on a Monday night, yes Monday night, at the ground of North Cork club Newtownshandrum. Kerry and Dublin will play a few more of their league games of the new league campaign under lights, but it looks like hurling is not really suitable for floodlights.

An instruction issued from Croke Park stated that team managers must restrict squad sizes to 24 players for the league and championship this year, but already Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has defied the authorities by naming a panel of 30.
Meanwhile, Tipperary, who play Cavan on Sunday, have gotten a boost with the return of Brian Lacey from Kildare after a six-year absence. Lacey, who works in Dublin, opted out of the Kildare squad before Christmas. Now the 31-year-old right fullback has been persuaded to wear the blue and gold again. Lacey says the decision to appoint Seamus McCarthy as Tipp manager convinced him to return to his native county. McCarthy was in charge of Tipp when Lacey made his senior debut in 1995.

The Republic of Ireland may now play China in a friendly soccer international at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday, May 29, three days after our World Cup qualifier against Israel in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, the FAI expect to have no trouble selling all of the 3,500 tickets they should get from the Israeli FA for the game. But Irish supporters hoping to make the trip to the Faroe Island for the World Cup qualifier in June will find tickets difficult to come by. The capacity of the Torshaven ground is only 7,000 and that means that the FAI will get only 700 tickets. Already some Irish travel agents are talking of hiring ships that will sail from Dublin via Scotland and on to the Faroe Islands. But unless they have tickets the Irish fans may be better off watching the game on television in the boat.

None of the 22 Eircom League clubs managed to get a UEFA license last week. The clubs will appeal this decision and should get their houses in order by the start of the league on March 18.
Meanwhile, Stephen Lally is the new Galway United manager. Lally, a former player with the club, takes over from Tony Mannion, who has been appointed managing director. Mannion will also have responsibility for the development of Galway’s impressive new development at Drum, west of Galway city.

Ireland’s two most famous soccer goalkeepers, Packie Bonner and Pat Jennings, made the draw for the inaugural Setanta North-South Cup last week. Glentoran, Linfield and Longford Town are in Group One, while group two comprises Shelbourne, Cork City and Portadown. The honor of hosting the first game in the competition on March 15 goes to Glentoran, who take on Longford Town at the Oval, Belfast. The final is set for May 21.

Derry City are hoping to welcome hundreds of Linfield fans to the Brandywell for their friendly on Feb. 22. It will be Linfield’s first visit to the Brandywell since the 1969-70 season when Derry City played in the Irish League. With the Setanta Cup cross-border competition starting next month, it will be interesting to see how the rival supporters react, though Derry are not in the Setanta Cup this year.

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For the first time in years Ireland are favorites to take rugby’s Six Nations Championship. The intense seven-week competition gets under way this weekend: on Saturday France play Scotland in Paris and England travel to Cardiff to play Wales. Then, on Sunday, Ireland travel to Rome to play Italy. John Kirwan, the former All Black star now in charge of the Italians, said: “Ireland are going to be hard to beat and I think the jostling is good fun. I think it could be a four-way contest between Ireland, England, France and Wales, with hopefully Scotland and Italy also contributing as well.”

Good news for Irish boxing with confirmation last week that Limerick’s Andy Lee is to continue as an amateur until the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Last August, Lee was Ireland’s only boxing representative in Athens and proved his potential before being stopped just short of the bronze medal bout. Any sort of natural progression over the next few years would make the 20-year-old southpaw a real medal contender for Bejing. Now thanks to a generous grant from the Irish Sports Council, Lee has resisted offers from the professional ranks and will stay amateur. He had been tempted to turn professional and link up with American promoter Emanuel Steward, who wanted the Limerick boxer to join his Kronk Gym in Detroit.

Paul Given, 17-year-old younger brother of Newcastle and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay, has been called into the Irish schoolboys squad for the upcoming international campaign. Given, who is also a goalkeeper, is a pupil at St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar, and already has had trials with Sunderland. The Republic schoolboys play Scotland, England and Wales in March and complete their schedule with a game against Northern Ireland on April 8.

The 56-year-old Eddie Jordan is happy to be selling his Formula One team to a younger man. Last week, Russian-born Canadian Alex Shnaider, who’s 36, concluded a 100 percent takeover of the Jordan team.
“We always punched above our weight,” the Dubliner said. “We’ve done things that BAR, Sauber, Toyota, Jaguar and Minardi could only dream of. We’ve won races and scored pole position and I’ve really enjoyed being a pirateer putting it up to the big team. We’ve done that successfully, but now it’s time to hand over to a younger man.”
Shnaider has pledged $100 million per annum to his F1 operation to help it gain a foothold in the highly competitive racing circuit.

Belfast journalist Malcolm Brodie was one a group of people recently honored by FIFA. Brodie, a former sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, was presented with the Jules Rimet award for having covered 13 World Cup Finals.

Golf must be one of the most forward planning sports in the world. Last week it was announced that the Whistling Straits course in Wisconsin is to host the 2020 Ryder Cup.

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