Last weekend, three Limerick players, Owen O’Neill, Peter Lawlor and Eugene Mulcahy, were refused entry and were thus unable to help the New York Limerick club reach their third consecutive Senior Hurling final. The club went on to lose to Connecticut, 2-16 to 0-14.
O’Neill said it was clear that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is getting tough on GAA players.
“We tried everything to get by but they knew where our tickets were purchased, who got them for us, how long we staying and all our details; it was clear they had their homework done, they even knew who we were playing”, O’Neill said.
Recently, two Kilkenny intercounty players, Derek Lyng and Michael Kavanagh, were turned back by immigration officials at Shannon.
Players say they are being told that they need a professional athlete/entertainer visa, because people were paying to watch the games and that things have changes since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“The official seemed to have her mind made up in advance,” Kavanagh said. “She told another lad to take our bags off the plane that we weren’t traveling — that was before we produced any papers. We were told we required a special visa because we would be playing in front of a paid attendance in the U.S.”
A U.S. Embassy official confirmed the story to the Daily Star in Dublin.
“If there are fees being charged, tickets being sold, if someone is making a profit, they are not allowed to go over without the appropriate visa,” the officials said. “It doesn’t make any difference if the individual is not making money. If they are playing for an organization that’s making money, then that organization has to petition for them and they have go in as a temporary worker.”
Bohemians, who moved into an 11-point lead at the top of the premier division of the Eircom League a week ago, had their hopes of a League-Cup double dashed on Sunday. Bohs went down 2-0 to old Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup semifinal at Tolka Park. The Hoops, who have won the Cup a record 24 times, will now meet Derry City in the final on Oct. 27.
Derry traveled to Cork and won 1-0 on Friday last in the other semifinal.
There are few transfers in Gaelic Games except for the odd intercounty player who moves to Dublin for work reasons and is snapped up by one of the better off Dublin clubs. But there is certainly plenty of activity in the managerial merry-go-round. During the last year 13 counties have either sacked or lost their football managers. There has not been as much movement in hurling, but right now seven counties are without a senior manager. The GAA claim to be an amateur association, but obviously mangers are getting generous mileage expenses. In fact, it’s often claimed that managers of club teams who have to do a fair bit of traveling probably make even more money than intercounty mangers.
The latest changes see former Kildare footballer Mick Condon take over from Pat Roe as Carlow manager. Apparently current Kildare star Glen Ryan rejected Carlow’s offer of a move into management.
Meanwhile, in Tyrone joint managers Art McRory and Eugene McKenna have been confirmed for another term in charge. And former Meath star Colm Coyle is the new Monaghan football manager, replacing Jack Carville.
AUSSIES ON THE WAY
The rules of Gaelic football may be a bit ambiguous, but for me no other field game can compete, not even hurling. Plenty of action and at 30 minutes, (35 for championship games) periods of play that have just enough time to hold my interest. But, of course, the big criticism of Gaelic football is the lack of an international outlet. In 1968, the GAA initiated a link with Aussie Rules, which has been revived in recent years and now we have a regular home and away Compromise or International Rules series. This year, it’s the turn of Australia to visit Ireland and the first test will be at Croke Park on Sunday, Oct. 13. The advertising slogan for the tests is “There is No Compromise in International Rules.”
True, the Aussies like a bit of ‘aggro’ and their heavy tackling usually results in a few flareups. But to be fair to the Aussies, they seem to compromise a lot. They switch from an oval to a round ball, which is not familiar to them, and overall the rules seem to be tilted in favor of Gaelic Footballers. But then I suppose the Irish sides would be hammered each time if they had to try to adjust to an oval ball. Former Kerry great John O’Keeffe, who has worked with former
Irish manager Colm O’Rourke is the Irish manager this year. He has been hit with a few withdrawals of big name players, but these series often throw up a new star from a lesser known county. Normally the touring team in these series tend to do well as they have spent a fair bit of time together. The hope is that the first test is a tight game to ensure that we a cracker in the second test on Oct. 20.
KEANE ON THE MEND
Roy Keane could be back in action for Manchester United by Oct 19. Keane, who underwent hip surgery last month, is reported to be making excellent progress and could be in the team for the away game against Fulham on Oct. 19.
United assistant manager Carlos Quieroz said: “The way Roy walks into the training ground you would hardly believe he is injured. We believe he will be back soon as the recovery process has been fantastic. Manchester United without Roy Keane is like Read Madrid without Luis Figo or Arsenal without Thierry Henry. He is our soul and of course we miss him.”
Meanwhile, Neil Lennon has as expected been left out of the Northern Ireland squad for the upcoming games against Spain and The Ukraine. The IFA have left the door open for the Glasgow Celtic midiflder if he wants to return, but it looks like Neil’s decision to quit after receiving death threats is final. In Lennon’s absence the captain’s armband will go to Steve Lomas.
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