Category: Archive

Irish Sports Desk Not everyone thrilled with Tour’s Irish visit

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

A hectic weekend of sports awaits us with two of the biggest sporting events in the world on the menu. The soccer World Cup reaches its conclusion in Paris on Sunday evening while at home history is being made with the first-ever visit of the Tour de France in Ireland. The Prologue is around the streets of Dublin on Saturday with the first stage on Sunday around Wicklow, finishing back in the Phoenix Park. But surprise, surprise, not everybody is happy. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce is not at all happy with the idea that Dublin will practically close down on Saturday and Sunday. The streets of the city will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eight-foot bridges are being erected to facilitate pedestrians and apart from the loss of business for the shops, others who will be affected include churchgoers. On Monday. the Tour travels to Cork via Enniscorthy and Carrick on Suir.

Meanwhile, Pat McQuaid, the man who has played a huge role in bringing Le Tour to Ireland, is under pressure. McQuaid is president of the Federation of Irish Cyclists, an organization whose numbers have dropped significantly since 1987.

When international stars Sean Kelly and Steven Roche were at their peak, the number of cyclists in Ireland rose to more than 6,000, but it has now fallen to 2,000. McQuaid blames computers for the drop off in interest.

“All sports, and not just cycling, have been affected by the sale of computers and computer games,” he said.

When the tour came to England in 1994, the British Cycling Federation gained about 300 new members at a time when England had two riders in the race. With no Irish riders in the race we don’t have much hope of new recruits. But it should be a great show for B=rd F_ilte, if the weather improves. It’s estimated that there is a worldwide television audience of 95 million for Le Tour and the Irish economy should benefit to the tune of _35 million.

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Anger at Clare’s Ger Loughnane

The star of “Le Tour” means that there is only two big GAA game this weekend.

Clare and Waterford will meet in the Munster hurling final at Thurles. Clare’s manager, Ger Loughnane, has incurred the wrath of many GAA writers by putting out false team selections. In fact, Loughnane seems to court controversy, but, of course, the Clare supporters don’t seem to mind as long as he brings them success. However, great teams in the past, in football and hurling, have won All-Irelands by being honest with the media and public and this behavior of naming players in midweek and not playing them on Sundays does not do anybody any good.

Clare will be hot favorites to beat Waterford. But win, lose or draw, Waterford know that they are guaranteed a place in the All-Ireland quarterfinal through the back-door scheme introduced last year.

In the West, Galway hurlers should have no difficulty against Roscommon in the Connacht final, which will be played at Hyde Park on Saturday evening.

O’Keefe steps down

Former Kerry star John O’Keeffe has stepped down as Clare manager. O’Keeffe made his decision following Clare’s defeat by Tipperary in the Munster football semifinal.

“I’ve been four years in the job and I felt it was time for a change. The only way I wouldn’t have changed my mind was if Clare won the All-Ireland,” O’Keeffe said.

Morrissey out in Carlow

Paddy Morrissey has quit after only four months in charge of Carlow. The Tipperary man took over following the departure of Bobby Miller and had only one championship game in charge, a first-round loss to Westmeath.

Meanwhile, Eamon Cregan is to continue as manager of the Limerick hurlers. In fact, the County Board want Cregan to stay until the year 2001. This is Eamon’s first year in charge of his native county and he was terribly disappointed following their first round defeat by Cork.

Staunton back at Liverpool

Republic of Ireland defender Steve Staunton returned to Liverpool last week. Staunton had been released by Liverpool when Gr’me Souness was manager. Now he returns to Anfield on a free transfer under the Bosman Ruling.

Meanwhile, Mark Kinsella, one of the many young players coming through, has committed himself to newly promoted Charlton Athletic for five years.

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