By Sean Creedon
Attempts by the GAA to increase admission charges to National League games by 40 percent have been thwarted.
The GAA’s management committee had sought to add £2 to the current admission price of £5 for seats in all covered stand at venues throughout the country this winter, and an increase of £1 for seats on open stands.
Following strong objections from the Munster delegates, the management committee have been forced to drop the idea.
"The majority of League games are played from November to March and we should be encouraging our loyal supporters to attend our League games instead of turning them away with increased admission charges," said Cork’s Bob Honohan.
Wright back for North
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Goalkeeper Tommy Wright is back in the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2000 game against Moldova at Windsor Park tonight.
It will be the North’s first-ever meeting with Moldova, who have only been playing international football for the past four years. After losing their opening game 3-0 to Turkey in Ankara, the North bounced back with a good win over Finland last month.
However, there is still a lack of quality in the Northern squad, with only four regulars from the English Premiership.
Mahon for Derry City
Kevin Mahon is the new manager of Derry City. He takes over from Felix Healy, who resigned recently. The 42-year-old Mahon is a former Derry player and he also played for Athlone Town, Finn Harps, Thurles Town and Dundalk in the League of Ireland. He also had two spells in the U.S. with New York Apollos.
Galway, Offaly dominate
Not surprisingly All-Ireland champions Galway and Offaly dominate this year’s Guinness Player of the Year awards. Jarlath Fallon has been named Footballer of the Year, while the Young Player of the year is also a Galwayman, 21-year-old Michael Donnellan. Offaly’s Brian Whelahan was voted hurler of the year with the young player award going to Offaly goalkeeper Stephen Byrne.
Meanwhile, Galway and Kildare players dominate the list of nominations for the Eircell GAA All-Stars. Both All-Ireland finalists have 13 players nominated. The other nominations come from Kerry and Meath (four each), Offaly (3), Donegal and Roscommon (2 each) and one each from Armagh, Derry, Fermanagh and Tipperary. Tipp’s nominee is Deelan Browne, who should get an award following his great performance in the Munster championship this year.
Cahalane’s ban lifted
Niall Cahalane’s year-long ban is over, but the Castlehaven man doubts if he will ever play for Cork again. Cahalane got the heavy ban following an incident with referee Niall Barrett at the end of the Cork senior football final in 1997.
"I don’t think you’ll see anyone in their mid-30s winning an All-Ireland medal again, but I’ll never retire and I hope to have one more county medal in me," the 35-year-old Cahalane said.
Kildare goes south
Very soon many of the county and club teams who did well this year will be heading off for well-deserved holidays in the sun. Spain, Portugal and Florida are the most popular sunshine destinations for the GAA’s hurlers and footballers. But All-Ireland finalist Kildare are breaking new ground by booking a holiday in South Africa.
Women’s Gaelic football and camogie have been added this year to the schedule of scholarship sports at University College-Dublin. Meath’s Marcella Price (Gaelic Football) and Tipperary’s M’ve Corcoran (Camogie) join 16 other footballers and hurlers from 12 countries on scholarships at the Belfield campus.
Railway Cup blues
Every year we hear the same complaints about the Railway Cup competition: poor crowds and bad timing. But still the GAA persist with this interprovincial competition which was popular in the 1950s when intercounty players appreciated the honor of pulling on their provincial jersey.
Recently we appeared to have a touch of player power when the Clare players failed to line for Munster against Leinster. An anonymous Munster player told Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent that while he noticed the Kilkenny and Wexford players very friendly in the Leinster team, there was not the same camaraderie in the Munster dressing room.
"Its hard to share a dressing room with fellas you’ll be going after with a vengeance next June or July," the player said. "You’re kind of watching your Ps and Qs and not giving much away. During the game against Leinster you could sense fellas were watching their own backs, and to some extent, even passing to their own countrymen. I mean, it’s hard to be pally with someone you’ll be close to hating next summer."