By Sean Creedon
Gerry Murphy, the man who scored Kerry’s controversial goal in the first-round win over Tipperary, could be on the bench when Kerry play Clare in the Munster semifinal in Killarney on Sunday. Murphy, who was taken off in the second half against Tipp, was also substituted in a recent challenge game against Laois. And the first Rathmore man since D.J. Crowley in 1970 to score a championship goal for Kerry could be dropped in favor of Billy O’Shea, who has made a full recovery after breaking his leg against Mayo in the 1997 All-Ireland final. Eamonn Breen is also back in the Kerry squad and says he is amazed at the furor his recent trip to New York caused.
Kerry should make yet another final, where their opponents are almost certain to be Cork. The Rebels play Limerick at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening in the other semifinal.
In Wexford, the hurling squad have denied that there is unrest in the camp in the build-up to their Leinster semifinal against Offaly at Croke Park. Since their All-Ireland final win in 1996, Wexford have not been impressive. Last week, the players issued a statement denying reports of trouble in the camp.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny star D.J. Carey is hoping to have recovered from a back injury and should be able to line out against Laois in the other semifinal.
Barrett still an amateur
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Despite reports a few weeks back that he was turning professional, Francie Barrett is still amateur. The Galway-born Traveler has been selected on the Irish team, which will box in New Zealand next month. Barrett lost the National Light Welter title to Seanie Barrett in April, but the Cork boxer is not available to travel, so Francie steps in. But Francie is not in the six-man Irish team who will compete in the World Championships in Houston from Aug. 17-28.
FAI want hearing
The FAI should know by the end of this week what UEFA intend doing as regards the postponed game against Yugoslavia. The European governing body could fine the FAI or order the game to be played at a neutral venue. The FAI will request a personal hearing and point out that it was the government that refused to issue visas to the Yugoslavs. The players and the FAI didn’t want the game to go ahead, but, ultimately, it was a government decision to postpone the game.
De Bruin pregnant
Some good news at the end of a bad week for disgraced Irish swimmer Michelle Smith De Bruin. The Dublin-born swimmer has revealed that she is three months’ pregnant and says that this is the best thing to happen to herself and husband Erick in the past year. Speaking to Ireland on Sunday Sports Editor Cathal Dervan, De Bruin said: "There will be some cynical people out there who will say that I became pregnant because I knew my swimming career was over. That’s absolutely not the reason. I had an illness and I was advised that the only thing that would sort the illness out or keep it away for a number of years, would be to start a family."
De Bruin’s cause has caused a major split between journalists in Ireland and even between newspapers in the same group. From the start some of the top writers like Eamon Dunphy, Tom Humphries, David Walsh and Paul Kimmage were skeptical of her sudden improvement. Others, like Dervan and former swimmer Chalkie White, supported the triple Olympic champion. White has acted as a spokesman for De Bruin in the daily Irish Independent, while Kimmage has always doubted her in his Sunday Independent column.
Also last week the testers, husband and wife team of Al and Kay Guy, went public for the first time and explained their side of the story on radio programs.
Meanwhile, De Bruin insists that she has never taken any illegal drugs and maybe illegal is the key word. However, she also denies that she ever took Andro even though traces were found in her sample!
Tony Cascarino equalled Paul McGrath’s all-time Irish record of 83 caps when he came on as sub against Macedonia last Wednesday. It was Big Tony’s 44th appearance as a sub, which in itself is probably a world record.
Also, Irish manager Mick McCarthy has changed his mind about burning the "I Had a Macedonia" jersey. Since Ireland’s poor display against Macedonia in Skopje in April 1997 the worst player at Irish training sessions has had to wear the "I Had A Macedonia" jersey. McCarthy said he would burn the jersey if The Republic beat Macedonia at Lansdowne last week. But now he has changed his mind. "I will get the full squad to autograph the jersey and will auction it for charity," Mick said.
Omagh Fund soccer
Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have all agreed to play in Omagh in aid of the town’s appeal fund. The games have been arranged by Omagh Town Manager Roy McCreadie and will be played at the club’s St. Julian’s Road ground. Temporary seating will be erected to increase the stadium’s capacity to around 7,000. McCreadie says that they have asked former German star Jurgen Klinsman to guest for the club against Chelsea and they are hoping that French star Eric Cantona will be their guest for the game against United. Chelsea are first up on July 28, United on Aug. 3 and Liverpool on Sept. 14.
O’Neill staying with Leicester
Former Northern Ireland international Martin O’Neill is staying with English club Leicester City. O’Neill, whose name is always linked with vacancies in England, has now signed a three-year contract with Leicester.
Shels back in action
What closed season? That could well be the question the players of Dublin club Shelbourne are asking themselves this weekend. Shels, the Irish representatives in the Intertoto Cup, play Swiss club Neuchatel Xamax at Tolka Park in the first leg on Sunday. There is very little interest in this competition, which has been nicknamed the "Interwobob Cup." However, if you progress in the competition, it could be financially rewarding if Shels get by Neuchatel.
Argentine club for Dublin
Argentinian club Boca Juniors will visit Dublin next month and will play Shamrock Rovers at Morton Stadium in Santry on July 25. It will be Rovers first game at their new base, which they are using while their new stadium in Tallaght is being constructed.