Category: Archive

Irish Sports Desk Keane may rest against Andorra

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

It now looks like Irish manager Mick McCarthy will rest Roy Keane for the World Cup qualifier against Andorra at Lansdowne Road on April 25.

Keane got a yellow card in the away game against Portugal last October and the fear is that he would be booked again against Andorra. That would rule the Corkman out of the vital home game against Portugal on June 2. Keane has been outstanding in recent games, but Ireland should be able to beat Andorra without the influential midfielder.

"I’m aware of the position of yellow cards against key players such as Roy and the implications for the Portugal game if they were cautioned against Andorra," McCarthy said. "It’s something I’ve got to think about in the coming week."

Keane is the most important man in the Irish squad right now and his criticism of the travel arrangements for the players and the training facilities near Dublin Airport were listened to by the FAI.

The Republic’s chances of qualifying are now looking very good. The team is at the top of the table on goal difference and four of the five remaining games are at Lansdowne Road.

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Many worry, however, that central defenders Gary Breen and Kenny Cunningham are inaqequate to cope with the class players that Holland and Portugal have. Ireland caught Holland at a time when they were very much under strength in September and then lived on nerves in Lisbon until that magical late strike from Matt Holland.

GAA to try paging system

The GAA are to introduce a paging system between referee and linesmen on a pilot basis beginning April 21. In a scheme similar to soccer, the linesman will buzz the referee if he sees an incident off the ball. And as in soccer, the GAA are introducing the standby linesman (fourth official in soccer). At the end of the game the standby linesman will be advised by the referee how much stoppage time is to be played. He will then hold up an electronic board advising the players and spectators as to how much extra time is to be played. The units will cost £300.

Also, temporary substitutes will be allowed for players who may suffer bleeding, but the subs will have to come on to the pitch from a designated zone near the center of the field. This zone will be controlled by the standby linesman.

McCullough ready to return

Wayne McCullough is hoping to make a comeback to the boxing ring in Dublin in June. McCullough is confident that he will receive a license to box from the Boxing Union of Ireland.

"Dr. Jack Phillips, the union’s chief neurosurgeon, says he can find no medical grounds to stop me fighting," McCullough said. "Dr. Phillips has studied brain scans of mine from as far back as 1999 and has discovered that the cyst which the British Board of Boxing Control claimed to have discovered last year was actually there two years ago. He is on the opinion that I would be at no more risk than any other fighter when I step into the ring. In fact, he feels the cyst may have existed since I was born."

Racing’s return

Providing there are no further cases of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland, it’s expected that horse racing will resume in Ireland on Easter Saturday. By then racing will have lost 22 meetings.

If all goes as planned, the Fairyhouse Grand National meeting should go ahead. Fairyhouse manager Dick Sheil is optimistic.

"We are still going ahead with all our preparations on the assumption that the Grand National meeting will go ahead," he said. "The track is in magnificent condition following the recent rain and the ground on the hurdle course has not been used since November, while we will have three strips available on the chase course."

Meanwhile some Irish jockeys have been offered rides in next Saturday’s Aintree Grand National. But the rearranged Cheltenham Festival, due to be held after Easter, has now been cancelled because of an outbreak of FMD within five miles from the course.

Foot and mouth fallout

Following the outbreak of foot and mouth, Louth are unlikely to play any further part in this year’s hurling and football leagues.

Meanwhile, Carlow decided it was best not to travel to play Down in Ballycran, while Wicklow cancelled their trip to Keady to play Armagh and their game against Roscommon in Athleague.

"With so many involved in farming, it would be very irresponsible for us to take any risk in traveling to Keady or Athleague," said Wicklow’s chairman, Pat Fortune.

O’Reilly dead at 71

The death occurred on Sunday of former RTE sports presenter Brendan O’Reilly. From Granard in County Longford, O’Reilly, who was 71, studied in the United States and was Irish high jump champion. He was selected for the Olympics, but due to lack of funds didn’t get to represent Ireland.

British ash

With a shortage of ash trees in Ireland, hurling manufacturers have been forced to import ash from England. Tree stumps from Saverlake Forest, near Wiltshire, are being imported to make the famous caman.

There has been a shortage of ash in Ireland for the last decade and Caoilte, the Irish Forestry agency set thousands of ash tree in the early ’90s. But they will not be ready for another 10 years.

Galway’s Clancy hurt

Galway half-forward Paul Clancy is sidelined for three months after breaking his ankle. It’s an unfortunate setback for the 24-year-old, who missed on Galway’s All-Ireland success in 1999 due to injury. Clancy picked up the injury playing for his club Moycullen against Clonbur.

Offaly retirees

Offaly have lost two of their long-serving hurling stars with the announcement that Joe Dooley, 37, and Michael Duignan, 33, are to retire.

"There comes a time when you have to let go. It’s time to start following my family around, rather than they following me," said Dooley.

Better news for Clare, who expected Anthony Daly back training in the next few weeks.

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