By Sean Creedon
Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star George Best has been hospitalized in Belfast. The 54-year-old was admitted to Belfast City Hospital on Friday suffering from pneumonia.
Last year Best was seriously ill in London with a liver complaint, but this is not a repeat illness.
When you hear about Best you immediately think of drink problems, but he is apparently no longer drinking.
Best’s manager, Phyl Hughes, said Best is feeling "poorly," but that his condition is not life threatening.
Best is expected to be detained in hospital for the rest of the week.
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McCarthy passes on Morrison
Mick McCarthy says that he will not include Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison in the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly against Denmark on Feb. 28.
McCarthy said he feels that the player "is not in the right frame of mind" to play for Ireland after a television interview where Morrison said he was waiting for a call from new England manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
"I don’t’ feel that Clinton is in the right frame of mind to play for Ireland at this moment," McCarthy said. "If he wants to play for the Republic, he has got to be 100 percent committed. I don’t want to be his second choice."
Kelly to miss Denmark
Gary Kelly will miss the Denmark game on Feb. 28 and must be doubtful for the World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Andorra next month.
The Leeds United defender had a groin operation last week and will struggle to be fit in time for the World Cup games.
Paul Butler, who was capped against the Czech Republic last February and has not featured since then, has left Sunderland for Wolves.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland have lined up a friendly against Norway at Windsor Park for Feb. 28.
New park option
The FAI at their meeting in Dublin on Monday decided to talk to Davy Hickey Properties, who apparently are willing to build Eircom Park for free. The proposals will be reviewed by the FAI’s Management Board at their next meeting on Friday, Feb. 9.
Hurling ticket increase
The GAA increased the admission price for division one games in the Allianz National Hurling League last Sunday from £5-7. Several counties said they were not happy with the increase, but the Clare County Board did something about it — they refused to implement the new charge and only took £5 at the gate for the visit of Meath to Ennis.
This year’s Irish Snooker Masters will have a new home and new sponsor. After many years in Goffs Sales Ring in County Kildare this year’s tournament, which will be held from March 27 to April 1, will be staged in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel on the Naas Road. Long time sponsors Benson & Hedges have been replaced by the Department of Health and together with the hotel, they have guaranteed the competition for another three years at least.
Newly crowned Welsh open champion Ken Doherty said he feared for the future of the competition.
"I thought we weren’t going to have it this year," he said. "And if that was the case, it would have been very hard to get it back."
Minister for Health Micheal Martin said: "We banned the sponsorship of tobacco products, but were of the opinion that we didn’t want to undermine sport. We’ve a very simple message in mind. That’s quite simply that smoking is bad for you."
Football, hurling plan
The Allianz National Football League resumes this weekend with games on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile Donal Bollard, customer relations manager with Allianz, has suggested that the hurling and football semifinals and finals be played on alternate weekends.
"Imagine playing the hurling league semifinal in Thurles on a Saturday and the final on Sunday," he said. "It would be a wonderful festival of sport and would be followed a week later by the football equivalent at another venue."
Kernan quits Crossmaglen
Joe Kernan has quit as manager of Crossmaglen Rangers. Big Joe led the Armagh club to three All-Ireland club finals in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Crossmaglen also won five Armagh county tiles under his reign.
Finals for Meath
This year’s Community Games Finals will once again be held at Mosney Holiday Center in County Meath in September. It was thought that a government decision to house 500 asylum-seekers at the site would mean that the Community Games would have to find a new site. But now a compromise has been reached at the Games will go ahead at their traditional venue.
Kinnear leaves Oxford
Former Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear, who was once in line for the Irish job, has quit Oxford United after less than four months in charge. Kinnear says he wants to spend more time with his family, but it’s thought he was unhappy that promises made about cash to buy new players, were not kept.