On Monday at Tolka Park, some of the Irish players from Italia ’90 will get together once again. Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Gary Kelly, Ray Houghton and Niall Quinn will be among the stars coming to Dublin for a party sponsored by Guinness to relive the memories of Italia ’90, when The Boys in Green made history by getting to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. No doubt there will be chants of "Olé, Olé" and videos of that famous penalty save by Packie Bonner and that unforgettable penalty by David O’Leary.
John Maughan is the latest managerial casualty of the GAA’s Championship season. The Mayoman quit after just one year in charge of Fermanagh.
"I only took over the job for a year, but I have to say that after the first game against Donegal, I thought I would have been in the job for two years at least and I suppose that’s disappointing," said Maughan, who previously had success with Clare and Mayo.
Dominic Corrigan, who was Maughan’s No. 2 in Fermanagh, says he wants the job and is the frontrunner to take over the Erne County hot seat.
Meanwhile, the Kildare and Armagh County Board are not making any hasty decisions about their managers. Mick O’Dwyer is due to meet the Kildare County Board soon to discuss his future. Micko has a year of his contract left, but there’s speculation that he could walk away from the Lilywhites.
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And in Ulster, the Armagh County Board are not due to meet until early next month when the position of joint managers Brian McAlinden and Brian Canavan will be discussed.
Soccer players on move
French star Zinedine Zidane became the world most expensive footballer last week, joining Real Madrid for £50 million from Juventus.
Several Irish players were also in the news in the run-up to the start of the English season, but none in the same money league Zidane.
Alan Mahon, who joined Sporting Lisbon along with Phil Babb last season, has returned to England and joined Blackburn Rovers.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly looks like he is on the way out of Blackburn. Kelly, who has had a frustrating time at Ewood Park, will probably join Spurs as second choice keeper.
Another Irish international on the move is Rory Delap, who moved from Derby to Southampton for £4 million, a record for the Midland club. Delap is new Saints manager Stuart Gray’s first signing. Delap is not an Irish regular, and neither is Steve Finnan, but both will be playing in the Premiership next season. Finnan has just signed a new five-year contract with newly promoted Fulham.
Fast start for Bohs
Bohemians, who did well in Europe last season, beating Aberdeen and the German club Kaiserslautern away from home, must have good chance of getting through to the second qualifying round of this season’s Champions League. Last Wednesday, Bohemians gave new manager Pete Mahon a tonic start by beating Estonia side Levadia Mardu 3-0 at Dalymount Park. The second leg is
in Estonia this evening and if they succeed, the Dubliners will meet Swedish club Halmstad in the next round.
Meanwhile, there have been more managerial changes in the run-up to the start of the Eircom League next month. Donal O’Riordan, who was sacked by Galway
United last month, has moved to Sligo Rovers to replace Tommy Cassidy who resigned last week. In Limerick, Tommy Lynch quit as manager after his own wages were halved and he was told that he was only getting a weekly budget of £400 for players’ wages. Meanwhile, former Limerick manager Dave Connell has got the vacant Galway job.
Beckham, Giggs, McManaman, Neville have all played in Northern Ireland’s annual schoolboy Milk Cup competition. This year, Diego Maradona Jr. will be playing in the competition, which gets under way Monday.
Maradona will be playing for Napoli and his first game will be against County Armagh at Limavady on Monday afternoon.
Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, the majority shareholder in Glasgow Celtic, said last week that it was only a matter of time before Scottish clubs Celtic and Rangers were playing in the English Premiership.
"This will happen inevitably," he said. "The ball has already been set rolling and there have been preliminary discussions between the chairmen of a number of clubs about it."
But his words received no encouragement from Premiership spokesman Philip French, who dismissed the idea.
"It’s not on the cards," he said. "There are absolutely no plans for Rangers or Celtic to join the Premier League."
Despite that denial, to many it looks like it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.
Eircom ate $4 million
The FAI confirmed at their annual general meeting last Saturday that the expenditure on the ill-fated Eircom Park project was £4 million. That was a lot of money wasted, but the Eircom Park supporters would claim that it was money well spent because it forced the government to give millions to soccer if they accepted
tenancy at the so-called "Bertie Bowl".
Waterford delegate John Delaney, whose father was treasurer in the 1990s, was elected treasurer at the AGM in Cork and another Waterford delegate, Milo Corcoran, took over as president from Pat Quigley.