It looks like the days of dual stars in Gaelic football and hurling are over in almost all counties. When Tommy Lyons took over as Dublin manager he straight away issued an ultimatum to Dublin dual player Shane Ryan, who subsequently opted for football. Then Limerick hurling manager Eamon Cregan temporarily resigned in a row over dual players. And last week, Galway’s dual star, Alan Kerins, was dropped from the hurling squad when he refused to give up hurling.
Kerins, who combined football and hurling last year, said: “It’s very hurtful and a major disappointment. When I was named in the football panel I thought we would be able to work something out. The football manager John O’Mahony was very understanding, but Noel Lane just didn’t want me playing football.”
Kerins played both codes last year, but he was poor in the All-Ireland hurling final and only made a token appearance as sub in the football final. Cork seems to be the only county able to handle the dual stars with Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Sean Og OhAilpin combining both codes.
Billy for BallyB
Bill Clinton is coming back to Ballybunion to play golf. The former president will arrive in Ireland on June 7 and will spend two days in Kerry, one of which will be devoted to playing golf at the North Kerry course. In the past he has played golf with his buddy Dick Spring, but maybe if Sinn Fein win a seat in North Kerry, we could see Bill having a new golfing partner?
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English early opening
English soccer supporters will be able to nip down to their local boozer to watch the World Cup games at 7:30 a.m. An appeal by a Bristol publican means that pubs will be able to open early for what was described by the British lord chief justice as a “special occasion of collective enjoyment.” In Ireland there are already a number of so-called “early-morning” houses, but with only one of the Republic’s first-round games having a 7:30 start, it’s not yet clear what the demand will be for early opening.
Wood staying put
Irish Rugby captain Keith Wood is staying with English club Harlequins next season, even if they are relegated from the Premiership. Wood has just returned after a calf injury and hopes to able to help the club pull away from the relegation zone.
“I wouldn’t like playing in the first division, it wouldn’t be the ideal preparation for the World Cup next year. But if that’s where we end up, I will be working my way back out of it with the rest of the lads at Quins,” Wood said.
Meanwhile Wood’s Irish colleague Peter Clohessy is unlikely to play rugby again this season. The prop forward suffered severe burns to his hands and face when an ‘rosol can exploded while he was burning rubbish in his backyard last week. The man known as “The Claw” retired from the international scene in Paris two weeks ago, but he had hoped to play for Munster in the semifinal of the European Cup later this month.
“My wife, Anna, said to go out with a bang against France, but I don’t think this is what she meant,” joked Clohessy.
St. Pat’s bid fails
Shelbourne are the Eircom League premier division champions, but that could change again in the coming days. St. Patrick’s Athletic last week failed in their bid to have the 15 points deducted by the FAI restored. St. Pats are now likely to opt for arbitration or go to the High Court to prevent Shelbourne from being crowned champions.
It’s all a sorry mess and the only good news to come out of the whole scenario is that the League plan to have a full-time registration secretary in place by the new summer season, which commences on July 7.
U-19s reach final
Brian Kerr has done it again. The FAI’s technical director has led an Irish team to a major final for the eight time. Last week’s the Irish Under-19’s drew 0-0 with Holland at Turner’s Cross, Cork, but they go through to the finals in Norway in July, having won the first leg, 2-1, in Holland.
Staunton going strong
Steve Staunton, who could win his 100th Irish cap at the World Cup Finals, says he has no intention of retiring from club football. The 33-year-old Staunton says he hopes to figure in the plans of Villa manager Graham Taylor next season.
“I feel good,” he said. “I said when I came back to Villa Park that all I wanted was a chance and I have had that chance and I’d like to think that I have taken it. Overall, I am quite pleased with what I have contributed to the club. The manager will probably be adding to the squad in the summer or getting rid of one or two.”
Meanwhile, Keith O’Neill’s injury nightmare continues. The former Irish international, who had picked up the nickname “Sick Note” because of his litany of injuries, broke his leg in a training ground accident last week. It was the Coventry player’s fist training session since recovering from a pelvic problem that had kept him out action since December.
Laois selector snafu
Further trouble in the Laois hurling camp, where the County Board have appointed a new selector without consultation with manager Pat Delaney.
County Board vice chairman Brian Allan was ratified as a third selector to serve with Delaney and selector Fr. Nicholas Flavin last week. Last month, Delaney’s two other selectors, Andy Dunne and Batt Lynch, resigned via e-mail.
But Delaney, the former Offaly hurler, says he does not have to resign and is currently doing well with the Laois hurlers.