Category: Archive

Irish Sports Desk Donegal concern over U.S. payments for players

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

Donegal GAA Board Chairman John McConnell claims that their players are being offer financial incentives to work in the United States this Summer. "There seems to have been a concerted effort by clubs in the North American Board to poach players from the county. I would have no problem with any player going overseas for the summer looking for work, especially students. But it’s a different situation when players are openly being encouraged and targeted to go overseas for a limited number of months and with financial carrots being dangled in front of them," McConnell said.

Donegal manager Declan Bonner agrees with his chairman. "The carrot seems to be in relation to bringing out players before April 20 in order to build up a strong home-based panel,” he said.

There have been rumors of several Donegal players going to America, but so far the only one definitely going to the U.S. this summer is Niall McCready, who will play for the Donegal team in Boston.

Bohs vs. Shels in final

When Bohemians and Shelbourne meet in the FAI Cup final on April 30 it will be the first time for the Dublin clubs to meet in the final. However, the clubs who were both founder members of the League of Ireland in 1921, met twice in the Irish Cup final north of the border.

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Shelbourne is now on course to win the League-Cup double for the first time after beating Galway United 2-0 in the first of the semifinals last Friday night.

Bohemians had a controversial 2-1 win over Cup holders Bray Wanderers on Sunday.

Best still hospitalized

Fifty-three year-old George Best is to remain in hospital indefinitely. The former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star collapsed in London last month with liver damage. Now, doctors are concerned that his blood is too thin after a lifetime of heavy drinking.

National Football League

We should know the four qualifiers for the Church and General National Football League semifinals after the final round of games on Sunday next, April 9. So far, Kerry is the only county definitely through to the semifinal stages.

On Sunday, Galway, who are in third place in the division 1A table, will be hoping that Kerry will relax as they badly need the points in Killarney. But Galway must also hope that either Roscommon or Dublin, who are both at home to Donegal and Cork, respectively, slip up.

Cork have been given a major boost with the return of Steven O’Brien and Colin Corkery. Derry should qualify from Division 1B, but here again the second place could go to three different counties, Fermanagh, Sligo or Meath.

But the scoring averages are so tight that if Meath lose to Kildare they could also be relegated.

GAA’s future

Most people would agree that it’s the fierce inter-county rivalry that makes the GAA so popular in Ireland. If soccer or rugby had inter-county teams, I have no doubt but they would be almost be as popular as Gaelic games. It’s surprising then to hear Director General Liam Mulvihill suggest that some of the so called "weaker" counties should amalgamate for inter-county competitions.

In a preview of his report for congress in Galway later this month, Mulvihill predicts that if the GAA sticks with the old local authority boundaries, they will be in danger of seriously undermining Gaelic Games. "Special status was given by central council to Leitrim, Longford, Carlow, Wicklow, Fermanagh and Kilkenny (football), Laois and Roscommon, but on reflection the scheme did not work at all. Only a tiny number of players were recruited by those counties as a result of the change in rule in relation to parentage,” says Mulvihill.

Guinness good for GAA

Guinness, which has done a brilliant job promoting hurling since it took over as sponsors of the All-Ireland hurling championship, is to continue its sponsorship for another five years. The new deal will be worth £10 million to the GAA. No wonder the players are getting restless. While they see millions being poured into the association, they are getting very little monetary reward.

Last week the GAA refused to go head to head in a debate with the newly formed Gaelic Players Association on RTE’s Late Late Show.

Eircell sponsors Clare

As expected, Eircell is the new sponsor of the Clare hurlers and footballers. Apparently, a six figure sum has been agreed and the mobile phone company will provide free phones to all the senior players and will also make a sizeable contribution to a players’ holiday fund.

Antrim rejects

Meanwhile, Antrim is the latest county to reject the Football Development Committee’s proposals to restructure the All-Ireland football championship. A total of 13 counties have now voted on the FDC’s plan and the poll currently stands at six for and seven against.

Carruth in the ring again

Michael Carruth will box Bristol’s Adrian Stone for the IBO world light-middleweight title in York Hall, London on April 15.

Carruth’s fight with Javier Castillejo was postponed when the Spaniard was injured in training, but now the Dubliner has got a great opportunity to win a world title. "I would have liked more than three weeks to prepare for the fight. But if I can’t beat Stone then I might as well throw my hat at it," added 31 year-old Carruth, who is five years old than Stone.

Aintree Grand National

Jockey Paul Carberry will have to pass an MRI scan this week before he is cleared to ride Bobbyjo in Saturday’s Aintree Grand National. Carberry was injured at Cheltenham and has been out of action since then. Bobbyjo, who is trained by Paul’s father, Tommy, became the first Irish winner of the world’s most famous races in 24 years last year.

The other main Irish interest in the Grand National will be the Willie Mullins-trained Micko’s Dream, who is owned by a syndicate of prison officers.

Equestrian Federation resignations

These are bad days for the Equestrian Federation of Ireland with a series of resignations and witholding of funding. Now the federation has lost Grand Prix League sponsors Land Rover. However, Chairman Tom Hurley is confident that the appointment of a new chief executive within the next few weeks will further restore confidence and release the Irish Sorts Council funding, which had been withheld following recent events.

Another recent blow saw Irish team horse Cruising passed over to Britain’s John Whitaker. The horse, with Trevor Coyle in the saddle, was the backbone of the Irish team in recent years. The break up of that partnership last summer, saw Eddie Macken take up the reins, but the horse and rider never gelled and Macken parted company with the horse last month.

Kudos for Keane

Roy Keane is expected to be honored by his colleagues by being named PFA Player of the Year in England later this month.

Keane should come out on top when the awards are presented at the players annual dinner in London on Sunday April 30. But there will be no award for Irish international Keith O’Neill, unless they are giving one for the most injury prone player. O’Neill, who has made only two first team appearance for Middlesbrough since Christmas, has a back injury which may need surgery. Also out for the remainder of the season is full-back Jeff Kenna, who has an Achilles tendon problem.

However, the good news for Mick McCarthy is that the Leeds trio of Gary Kelly, Ian Harte and Stephen McPhail will now be available for the game against Greece on April 26. Leeds’ premiership game against Watford, which was due to be played on April 25, has now been put back to May 3rd.

Last testimonial game

Tony Cascarino (88 caps) and Steve Staunton (83), were both in Dublin last week to announce details of their joint testimonial game on May 21 when an Irish XI will play Liverpool at Lansdowne Road.

It will be last testimonial game awarded by the FAI to international players.

Meanwhile, Staunton, who has been out of favor with Gerard Houlier this season, could be on his way out of Anfield yet again. Staunton was sold by Gr’me Souness to Aston Villa, but returned to Anfield when Roy Evans was in charge. "I want to be part of the international scene for a few more years. But I have to play more games next season and, unless the present situation changes in the coming weeks, I’ll be talking to the manager in the Summer about a move,” he said.

Cascarino is finishing with French club Nancy this Summer and there is speculation that he could be rejoining Marseille, if the club is relegated.

Hoops new grounds

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern turned the first sod in Shamrock Rovers new ground in Tallaght last week. The Hoops have been without a permanent home of their own since the Kilcoyne family sold Glenmalure Park in Milltown 13 years ago. Since then they have played at Tolka Park, Dalymount Park, the RDS and Morton Stadium.

The new ground, which is expected to be ready by October this year, will also be known as Glenmalure Park.

Special Olympic Games

The Irish government is committed to investing £5 million in the Special Olympic Games which will be held in Ireland in 2003. It’s expected that 7,000 athletes and coaches from 150 countries will take part in 19 different sports which will be held in the greater Dublin area.

Blessing or curse?

Sammy McIlroy has got off to a great start as manager of Northern Ireland. In his first game, the North went to Luxembourg and won 3-1. Last Wednesday Sammy took his team to Malta and won 3-0. But I suppose we shouldn’t read too much into these results. Lawrie McMenemy also made a good start by winning friendlies, but when it came to competitive games his record was abysmal.

Cork greyhound track

Cork’s new greyhound track in Curraheen will open for business on Saturday, April 8.

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