By Sean Creedon
Before he hands over the Presidential Medal to Monaghan’s Sean McCague at the GAA Congress in Galway this weekend, Joe McDonagh has to oversee a crucial vote. McDonagh has to decide whether to opt for a straight majority or go for the traditional two-thirds majority when the delegates decide on the controversial Football Development Committee’s plans.
The GAA is slow to make changes to their rules and games structure and even if McDonagh opts for a straight majority, it’s likely that FDCOs plans will be rejected by delegates on Saturday, before McCague formally takes over on Sunday. So far, 18 of the 26 counties who have voted have said no. But FDC Chairman Noel Walsh is still not giving up hope that the they will carry the vote on Saturday.
"Units like the schools’ bodies, past presidents and members of the Management Committee could well have a significant influence on the voting,” he said.
However, Walsh knows that it’s going to be very tight and admits that the opposition expressed by all four provincial secretaries and the chairmen in Leinster and Ulster didn’t help their cause.
If the FDC’s plan to scrap the National League and seriously alter the provincial championship is defeated, it’s likely that a "milder" motion from Cork may be carried. Their motion includes a round-robin system and a losers group.
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Irwin to play
Denis Irwin will be free to play in the second leg of Manchester United’s Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid on Wednesday, April 19. Irwin was booked in the 0-0 draw in Madrid two weeks ago. Irwin’s fellow Corkman Roy Keane, who had yet another great performance in the first leg, will captain the current holders of the European Cup once again. Keane needs just one more goal to equal the European record of Johnny Giles, who scored 13 goals in European football.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland under 18’s are looking good for yet another European Championship Finals. Brian Kerr’s team drew 0-0 with France in Brest last Wednesday. The second leg is in Tolka Park, Dublin, next Wednesday, April 19.
Munster vs. Stade Francais
After the excitement of the Six Nations Championship, it’s back to the European Rugby Cup this weekend. And already Munster’s European quarterfinal against Stade Francais at Thomond Park has been sold out.
There were lengthy queues outside sports shops last week when the Munster Branch of the IRFU put 2,000 of the 13,300 tickets on general sale.
Dutch boxers withdraw
Holland’s boxers have withdrawn from Friday’s scheduled international against Ireland at the National Stadium, Dublin. The Dutch were unable to select a team after the recently Olympic qualifiers. However, the international against Poland, fixed for April 26, goes ahead.
Meanwhile Cork’s Michael Roche will be Ireland’s only representative at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Roche made sure of his place in the recent qualifying tournament.
Kerry’s Murphy dies
The death occurred last week of former Kerry star Seamus Murphy. From Camp, in West Kerry, Seamus won All-Ireland senior medals in 1959, ’62, ’69 and ’70. He was 62. And the GAA has also lost one of its most prolific authors in Raymond Smith. The Tipperary man wrote several books and contributed to the Sunday Independent for many years.
Coleman in charge
Eamonn Coleman will be in sole charge of the Derry senior football team for the upcoming Ulster championship. Adrian McGuickian, who was joint manager with Coleman last year, is taking a break. Coleman will be assisted by selectors Damien Cassidy and Brendan McRory.
Bryan Hamilton has been appointed manager of English club Norwich City on a permanent basis. The former Northern Ireland manager has been acting as caretaker boss since Bruce Rioch resigned on March 13.