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Irish Sports Desk Republic begins World Cup qualifier in Holland in Sept.

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

The Republic of Ireland will begin its World Cup 2002 qualifying campaign in Amsterdam on Sept. 2.

The Dutch FA last week confirmed Amsterdam as the venue for what will be a very tough opening game.

Most of Ireland’s recent away games against Holland have been in Rotterdam and this will be the first game in Amsterdam since 1934.

The Republic then heads for Portugal on October 7, before its first home game at Lansdowne Road against Estonia on October 11.

But the FAI must be worried that if the Republic loses the opening two games, it will be difficult to sell tickets for the Estonia game.

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Munster final

Any meeting of Cork and Kerry in Munster football is generally regarded as the real final. And so it is with next Sunday’s semifinal between these great rivals in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. There have been safety doubts about Fitzgerald Stadium, but the capacity has now been reduced to 33,000 and it should be a full house on Sunday.

Most interest will feature on who Kerry select at full-back. With Barry O’Shea out injured, the Kerry selectors have experimented in recent games. Rathmore’s Tom O’Sullivan was tried, but was too inexperienced, while Glenflesk’s Seamus Moynihan was not happy in the position. So Michael McCarthy or Eamonn Fitzmaurice could get the number 3 jersey.

Cork have Steven O’Brien and Colin Corkery back, but with Meath out of contention Kerry are now hot favorites to take Sam Maguire this year.

Glasgow Celtic vs. Bray

Irish supporters of Glasgow Celtic will get an early opportunity to see how new manager Martin O’Neill is shaping up in the job when the Bhoys play Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on July 9. There was speculation last week that Packie Bonner may now return to Celtic.

Carruth to retire

Michael Carruth, Ireland’s first and to-date only Olympic boxing champion, has decided to retire.

The Dubliner, who will be 33 next month, has decided that he has had enough of the professional game. His first pro fight was in February 1994 and although he won 18 of his 21 bouts, he never got the really big purses.

Boyle’s landmark

Tony Boyle will reach a landmark in his career on Sunday next when he lines out for Donegal against Fermanagh in the Ulster championship.

It will be the full-forward’s 100th championship appearance for his home county. In his 99 games to-date Tony has scored 20 goals and 206 points and Donegal will be hoping that he is in scoring form against neighbors Fermanagh on Sunday. They have already beaten Monaghan and will be no push-over.

Waterford manager quits

Gerald McCarthy has quit as manager of the Waterford senior hurlers.

The former Cork star made his decision following Waterford’s first round defeat by Tipperary in the Munster championship. But he may be forced to reconsider as it’s thought the Waterford County Board want the Corkman to stay.

A win for manager Givens

Former Irish international Don Givens had his first win as Irish under 21 manager in the recent tournament in Toulon, France, when Ireland beat Ghana 2-0.

But it’s going to take a supreme effort by Givens to improve our woeful record at under 21 level. And Givens, who was only recently appointed to the job, let everybody know just what was involved. "I was disappointed with the attitude of some of the lads, they seemed more interested in music than football. And they didn’t really want to improve their game."

Sport and business

Kerry star Maurice Fitzgerald was taken a break from teaching and has joined his father’s auctioneering business in Cahirciveen.

According to reports, the business has increased 10-fold since the star forward took to selling property. Fitzgerald has recruited Kerry colleague Denis O’Dwyer to handle the mortgage and life assurance aspect of the business. Maurice attributes much of the success of the business to the launch of their website which you can reach at www.kerryproperty.com.

Meanwhile, in Meath, full-back Darren Fay has signed a promotional deal with local company Flooring Excellence. Fay, who is a member of the Players Advisory Group, rather than the more high profile Gaelic Players Association, will, under the GAA’s rules, have to hand over part of the money from the deal to the county board and a players’ injury fund. Apparently none of the Meath squad are members of the GPA.

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