Category: Archive

Irish Sports Desk Soccer takes center stage

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

This is a big weekend for Cup football in Ireland and England. In England it’s the third round of the FA Cup, where the Premiership clubs enter the race. At home it’s the second round of the Harp Lager FAI Cup, where the 22 Eircom League clubs are joined by 10 non-League clubs.

The Cup is notorious for throwing up a few surprises and no doubt this year we will have our share of Cup shocks.

The most attractive tie for neutrals is the meeting of the minnows Dublin Bus 24-time Cup-winners Shamrock Rovers. The newspapers will have a field day if Rovers are toppled.

Another of the minnows who must fancy their chances are Rathcoole Boys, who have drawn at home to Derry City. Derry, without the huge traveling support they had when they joined the League of Ireland, could be surprised. Cup holders Shelbourne should progress to the next round as they have a relatively easy home tie against Monaghan United.

Sports honors

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Some of the best-known personalities in Irish sport will be honored later this month when the 43rd Texaco sports awards will be presented.

Motor Sport winner Joey Dunlop, who was killed in Estonia last July, will be honored posthumously. Freddie Gilroy will get the Hall of Fame award. The 64-year-old Gilroy was named Boxer of the Year in 1958, 1959 and 1962.

The presentation banquet will be held in Dublin on Jan. 24.

The full list of winners reads: track, Sonia O’Sullivan; equestrian, Dermot Lennon; Gaelic football, Seamus Moynihan; golf: Darren Clarke; horse racing, Johnny Murtagh; hurling, D.J. Carey; motor sport, Joey Dunlop; rugby, Brian O’Driscoll; soccer, Roy Keane; swimming, Mairead Barry.

Manager payment

Dublin football manager Tommy Carr has called on the GAA to bring the payment of intercounty managers out into the open. Carr claims he is not one of the 18 intercounty mangers referred to by GAA President Sean McCague as being paid. He says that he gets only the official GAA mileage allowance.

"It would be better to formalize it," he said. "It would make a difference if there were guidelines there that County Board could use. From my own personal point of view, there’s absolutely no money in the Dublin job. I think that’s well recognized. What we are generally looking at is managers who come in from outside the county.

"The players are playing for their county, but the guys who are appointed manager are coming in to do a job. And there’s a lot of pressure that goes with the position of manager."

Leeds shakeout?

Robbie Keane’s arrival at Leeds United could spell the end of Ian Harte’s time at Elland Road. It’s expected Leeds will unload a few players and Irish international Harte and Darren Huckerby could be on their way as Leeds try to balance the books.

Creavin to quit

Liam Creavin to step down as secretary of the Meath County Board next weekend. Creavin has given an amazing 45 years service as secretary to the Royal County.

Papillon odds change

After his win at Leopardstown over Christmas, Papillon’s odds for this year’s Aintree Grand National have been cut to 14 to one. The Ted Walsh-trained Papillon won both the Aintree and Irish Grand National last year.

Meanwhile, three-time Cheltenham winner Istabraq suffered the first fall of his racing career in a shock defeat at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Istabraq was sent off as odds-on favorite in his first race of the season, but was under pressure when he fell at the last hurdle. The Aidan-O’Brien-trained horse had won 21 of his previous 23 outings. Now the horse will have another run at Leopardstown in the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle in three weeks before a decision is made on whether he goes to Cheltenham in March.

Despite the fall, the bookies are still making Istabraq favorite to make it four champions hurdles in a row at Cheltenham.

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