By Sean Creedon
The GAA has given the go-ahead for the experimental use of a communications systems before the referee and his linesmen for the upcoming National Football League campaign. And about time, say all of us. I wish they would do something similar with the umpires. There are two linesmen and four umpires in each game, but they see very little.
One of the biggest problems the GAA have is admitting that soccer has some excellent rules.
After many years of "taking names," the GAA partially adopted the yellow and red card system. But a player can still get one yellow card in every game he/she plays and not be suspended. They should take a leaf out of soccer’s rulebook where players are banned on a points system picked up for yellow and red cards. A few years back soccer introduced a system where the referee and his assistants were in contact over incidents and time. Now the GAA are following suit.
Soccer have also introduced an excellent system where the fourth official holds aloft a gadget at the end of the game telling players and supporters just how much injury time is to be added on. If the GAA copied this system, we would have no more arguments about injury time and referees allegedly playing for draws.
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Bohemians manager Roddy Collins is a journalist’s delight, always quick with a quote. Collins made no secret of the fact that he hoped to get either Glasgow Celtic or Chelsea in the next round of the UEFA Cup following their win over Aberdeen.
When Bohs were paired with German club Kaiserlautern Collins reaction was, "I’ve never heard of them. They tell me French player Youri Djork’f plays for them, but I’ve never heard of him either. Anyway, I always claim that names are only for tombstones. Initially I was raging that we didn’t get a big name. But a Cup draw is like a woman — if you don’t get the one you want, you have to make do with the one you’ve got."
Derry bid fails
Derry’s bid to have their All-Ireland minor semifinal replayed has failed. It looked Derry had a good case when one of the Cork players got two yellow cards in the semifinal, which meant he should have been sent off. However, The Games Administration Committee turned down Derry’s appeal and Cork will now play either Mayo or Westmeath in the minor final on Sept. 24.
Roy Keane is certainly a marketable commodity in England and the Corkman will shortly have his own brand of Walker crisps. Squeaky clean Gary Lineker has been promoting Walkers for the last few years and Keane appeared alongside Linker in a special Walkers ad for St. Patrick’s Day. Now Keane will have his own brand and will feature in a new TV ad campaign promoting the aptlynamed "Keane-ly Salted" brand of crisps.
Pat McEnaney will be the Irish referee for the Compromise Rules series against Australia in October. Normally there are two referees in charge, one Australian and one Irish.
It has been a long road back for the Monaghan man, who was in charge of the controversial 1996 All-Ireland final between Mayo and Meath. He broke his leg in a club game, but he has come back this year to take charge of some major games.
Eye on Fitzgerald
I not a betting man, but if I did fancy a flutter I think I would have a few bob on Maurice Fitzgerald being in the Kerry starting XV in the All-Ireland football semifinal replay against Armagh on Saturday.
Fitzgerald was the Kerry hero when he came on as a sub two weeks ago. He scored a brilliant goal and converted that injury-time free that sent the game to a replay. If Fitzgerald takes over the free-taking from Daire O Cinneide, Kerry could make it to the first final of the millennium. And Kerry folk would just love that as their All-Ireland-winning team from 1975 will be honored at halftime in the final this year.
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that it’s a quarter of a century since Mick O’Dwyer’s youngsters burst on the scene, but it will be their turn to wave to the crowd on Sept 24.
Roy for the defense?
With Kenny Cunningham ruled out through injury, don’t be surprised if Mick McCarthy decides to use Roy Keane as a central defender in the World Cup opener against Holland in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Gary Breen is certainly not world class and neither is Phil Babb, so clearly we are very short of talent in the center of the defense.
There are plenty of midfielders available, so McCarthy may be tempted to use Keane as a sweeper.
Meanwhile new Dutch manager Louis van Gaal has five uncapped players in his squad. Missing will be Dennis Bergkamp, who has retired, and Edgar Davids, Arthur Numan and Winston Bogarde, who are all injured.
U-21 players dropped
Republic of Ireland under 21 manager Don Givens has dropped four players from the squad who took part in the Toulon tournament in June for the game against Holland in Nijmegen on Friday.
Givens, who said at the time at some of the players were more interested in listening to music than preparing for a football game, has had another go at the youngsters.
"The form and attitude of certain players was not the best," he said. "It’s not an army camp in the under 21’s. I don’t put down too many rules and I’d like to think the players have time for a laugh and the craic. At the same time, I expect players to take their responsibility seriously. I’m trying to give them the best chance of progressing to the senior team."
Maughan for Fermanagh
John Maughan is the new manager of Fermanagah senior footballers. The Mayo man, who led his native county to Connacht success and Clare to a Munster title, takes over from Pat King, who quit during the summer.
Celtic, Derry friendly
Glasgow Celtic will help crisis club Derry City by playing a friendly at the Brandywell before the end of September. Martin O’Neill has confirmed that he will bring his team to Derry to save the Candystripes from liquidation. Derry were in the High Court in Belfast recently to fight a winding-up order, but they had the case adjourned for four weeks. They owe money to the Inland Revenue and their bankers.
Northern Ireland play their first World Cup qualifier on Saturday when they meet Malta in Belfast. However, the IFA say that they will not be able to bring top teams to Windsor Park unless attendances improve.
For the recent friendly against Yugoslavia there was an attendance of just over 6,000. Unlike The Republic, where there is always a good attendance for friendlies, the Northern supporters are more selective.