Category: Archive

Micko brings comic-book flavor to championship

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

They get through the qualifying campaign and in the final are paired against the county that the wily old manager originally came out of retirement for. In this case it’s real. Mick O’Dwyer is the manager and on Sunday next his Laois side will be favorites to beat Kildare in their first meeting in a Leinster final since 1946.
After unprecedented success with his native Kerry in the 1970s and ’80s, Micko was ousted in Kerry but was then coaxed back into management by Kildare in 1990. The Waterville man had two reasonably successful spells with the Lilywhites and led them to the All-Ireland final in 1998 where they lost to Galway. But eventually he became frustrated at Kildare’s inability to deliver and earlier this year was poached by neighbors Laois, who had done very well at minor level in recent years.
O’Dwyer has been a unifying force in Laois, bringing back players who had prematurely retired and getting the best out of young players who had just come through from minor level.
In the Leinster semifinal his side overcame old rivals Dublin to set up a final meeting with Kildare. In hindsight, Dublin were not great, but probably better than Meath, whom Kildare beat. I think the fairytale will be complete on Sunday evening and Micko will be bearing that roughish smile once again.

Gaelic games at intercounty level have traditionally been played on Sunday afternoons. Since the introduction of the backdoor qualifying system in hurling and football, Saturday evening has become popular. But tomorrow evening in Semple Stadium, Thurles, we’ll have the first-ever big game on a Thursday evening when Limerick meet Offaly in the hurling qualifiers. The game was deferred for four days to give Limerick’s dual players involved in Munster football final a rest.
It will be their first championship meeting between the counties since the 1994 All-Ireland final. I suppose it’s fitting that this historic game is being played in Thurles, where the GAA was founded in 1884. Then on Saturday next, we’ll have the first-ever hurling championship game between Waterford and Wexford when they meet at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. It’s hard to believe that these neighbors have never met in championship action. Both had successful periods in their respective provinces, but avoided one another in All-Ireland semifinals and finals. Now the “back-door” system has given us many interesting pairings.

Irish captain Keith Wood hopes to be fit for the rugby World Cup in October. Wood traveled with the Irish squad to Australia, Tonga and Samoa in June, but didn’t play.
“I took part in all the heavy training sessions and came through without any problems,” said Wood, who is now back living in Killaloe, Co. Clare, after a few years in England. “I have also been doing a bit of training with Munster and I feel I am in good shape. Hopefully, I will see some action in the warm up games against Wales and Scotland in the autumn.”
Meanwhile, Munster said that they are not ripping off their fans by introducing a new line of jerseys. Munster’s kit manufacturers, Canterbury, launched a new range of jerseys last week with a new crest.

Roy Keane and his ghostwriter, Eamon Dunphy, have been forced to do a rewrite in one chapter of his biography which is due out in paperback format in August.
Keane was fined by the English FA and banned for five games following his graphic description of the foul he committed on Manchester City’s Alfe Inge Haaland in the hardback edition published at the end of last year. Apparently part of the FA’s recommendations following the publication of the hardback was that alterations would be made to the offending paragraph. The hardback was a huge seller in Ireland and England.

George Best expects to raise over $430,000 from the sale of two of his most precious soccer mementos. He is selling his British Footballer of the Year and European Footballer of the Year trophies.
Best, who has made a good recovery from a liver transplant, said he wants to enjoy the money while he is alive rather than leave the trophies in a bank vault. “It has been a hard decision, but I have decided to sell,” the former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star said. “I thought about selling them a few years ago, but I knew people would just say he is broke and selling them for money. Now I don’t really need the money, but it would be nice to have it while I am alive.”

The 11th World Handball Championship will be held in Ireland in October, after the Special Olympics the second largest event in the country this year. Approximately 1,400 players from 10 countries are expected to take part. Carlow, Kilkenny and Laois will stage the underage master and one-wall events, while the Open, A, B and C competitions will be held in Dublin, Kildare, Cavan and Meath. “This is a great opportunity for Irish handball and the GAA to host an international event which will give added value to the sport in Ireland,” said Se

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