Category: Archive

Munster football no longer a Cork-Kerry duopoly

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Limerick, Tipperary and Clare have come through in recent years to challenge the traditional setup in Munster football and, on Sunday, Limerick will not be underrated by Paidi O Se and his Kerry selectors when they meet in the final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.
This will be Killarney’s first big game in 12 months. It’s a shame that this magnificent stadium does not host more. Fitzgerald Stadium is right up there with the great stadiums in Ireland: Thurles, Clones and Croke Park.
Limerick made everybody sit up and take notice when they beat Cork in the first round. They then struggled a bit against Clare in the semifinal. Meanwhile, Kerry have had only one game, beating Tipperary in Tralee. If Tipp full-forward Declan Browne had any decent service or support he would have beaten Kerry on his own that day. But the Kingdom will probably have improved since then and should beat Limerick, but it will be tight. Kerry have a major doubt with regard to midfielder Dara O Se, who injured his ankle in training last week.

Cork’s O hAilpin brothers, Sean Og and Setanta, are certainly the main talking points among hurling supporters this summer. Sean Og has been playing senior for a few years, but an injury in a car accident last year kept him out of action for almost a year. Younger brother Setanta has been a revelation since breaking into the Cork senior team this year.
On the same day that the brothers lined out for Cork against Waterford in the Munster senior hurling final in Thurles, younger brother Aisake played for the Cork minors against Tipperary in the Munster final.
The O hAilpins get their unusual Christian names from their Irish father and their Fijian mother.
Sean O hAilpin was born in Roslea, Co. Fermanagh, and at 19 immigrated to Australia. There he met Emeli from the small Fijian Island of Rotoma. The couple later moved to Ireland and settled in Cork. They have two other Australian-born children, Teu and Sarote. Etaoin, the youngest of the family, is the only native Corkonian.
The brothers play for the Na Piarsaig club in Cork.

The GAA is great for committees and new president Sean Kelly has now created a so-called “super committee” whose brief will be to solve the fixture crisis engulfing Gaelic games at all level.
The Kerry mman has invited the chairmen from each of the GAA’s existing committees to formulate a workable playing schedule which can accommodate intercounty, club and colleges fixtures at senior and other levels for both hurling and football.
Padraic Duffy, who was chairman of the Games Administration Committee under Sean McCague’s reign as president, will chair the new body.
“I have given the committee a very open agenda,” Kelly said. “I’ve asked them to look at all aspects that are impacting on games scheduling at the moment and to come up with a workable solution for the overall good of the association. I know it’s not going to be easy. We hope to have recommendations by August and we will try to come up motions that can be put before congress next year.”
The main target for the current criticism with the back-door system in hurling and football is the lack of rest, six days in most cases, for teams who are knocked out of their provincial championships. Kelly is clearly unhappy with the current fixtures mess.
“I have concerns over the length of time it takes to play our intercounty competitions,” he said. “I would have reservations about having a minor competition the exact same length as the senior competition. I would consider moving the minor age limit down to 17 to allow a little bit more freedom for the colleges. Then the junior competition can be all over the place and the Under-21 competition starts at different times in each of the provinces.”

Glasgow Celtic striker John Hartson could be fit for the start of the new season. Hartson, who missed the UEFA Cup final against Porto in May, has made a good recovery from back surgery and could be ready to challenge for a place in the starting 11 against Dunfermline on the opening day of the Scottish season on Aug. 9. Celtic’s first league game against Rangers next season will be at Ibrox on Oct. 4. And the traditional New Year Old Firm Derby is being revived next season when the clubs meet at Celtic Park on Jan. 3.

Local residents have, as expected, lodged objections to the new hotel proposed by the GAA for Jones Road. Pat Gates, chairperson of the Croke Park Residents’ Association, said that residents are not opposed to the hotel, but want concerns, including privacy and shadowing of homes, to be addressed by the GAA. To me that sounds like a deal can be struck between the GAA and the residents.

O’Neill’s, who are famous for their Gaelic footballs, have introduced a new, livelier sliotar this year. They have introduced a rubber core to the sliotar, which accounts for its increased bounce.
Leinster’s GAA president, Nicky Brennan, said: “One of the problems we have in hurling is that we don’t have a standard ball to play with. Manufacturers can change the specifications, when ideally there should be a standard core and standard specifications, as there is in football, where every game is played with a six-five O’Neill’s ball. The quality varies, but the O’Neill’s sliotar would be seen as top brand and it was always my choice as a player and manager.”

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Now we all know David Beckham will wear No. 23 with his new club, Real Madrid. But did you know that the numbers for Beckham’s Real jersey will be made in Kinsale, Co. Cork?
Chris Kay Ltd. has just signed a contract to make the kit numbers for the Spanish giants. The special new lettering is designed to make copying the jersey more difficult. The new jersey will have two versions. The white one will have black letters outlined by a gold-colored line. The away kit will have white letters outlined in black. Each number will also carry the club crest.
Meanwhile, the Kerry senior football team are unlikely to be wearing Nike boots in Sunday’s Munster final against Limerick. The proposed boot deal was proposed some weeks back and County Board Chairman Sean Walsh said that he expected the Kerry players to wear the new boots in the semifinal against Tipperary. But last week Walsh said: “We haven’t talked to Nike in the last fortnight and it doesn’t look good.”

Munster proved last week just how serious they are about trying to win next season’s European Cup when they signed All-Black fullback Christian Cullen on a three-year deal. The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the best fullbacks in world rugby, despite being discarded by current New Zealand coach John Mitchell. Cullen is the All Blacks’ record try scorer, with 46 touchdowns in 58 international appearances.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to play with one of the most successful sides in European Rugby,” said Cullen, who will link up with the Munster squad in the autumn.

Former Republic of Ireland international Niall Quinn had a new role last week at the Smurfit European Open in the K Club in County Kildare. Quinn, who now lives in Kildare, caddied for Dubliner Philip Walton. Quinn, who plays off a 10 handicap, said: “It was an unforgettable experience. Philip was great and I have to say that his playing partners Mark McNulty and Dave Carter were also very kind to me as well.”

Luke Dempsey is still manager of Westmeath, despite a vote of “no confidence” from the players. The squad met recently to discuss the season, which ended in disappointment after they once again failed to dispose of neighbors Meath.
Dempsey, who like most managers, already has a fitness coach, kept the players happy when he said he would bring in a football coach next season. But ultimately Dempsey’s fate will be decided by the County Board.
Meanwhile, Limerick hurling manager Dave Keane is still hopeful that he may be able to persuade Ciaran Carey to return to the squad. Carey walked out on Limerick when he failed to get a starting place in the recent game against Kerry.
Now Barry Foley, another player who has not figured much under Keane, is reported to be immigrating to the U.S. Clearly, there are difficulties in Limerick with friction reported between the senior and Under-21 players.

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