There’s an old saying that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and Dublin supporters will be hoping that the brilliant display against Meath in the recent Leinster football semifinal was not just a once off.
Dublin had looked poor against Wexford, and after watching them in action in Carlow, I didn’t give them much hope against Meath.
It’s easy to be wise in hindsight, but looking back, Wexford were a useful side and they also gave Tyrone a close call in the backdoor qualifiers. Tommy Lyons complained that Dr. Cullen Park was a tight pitch and also made the point that the players’ heads were all over the place that Saturday as they, like the rest of the country, had been up early to watch Ireland play Cameroon in the World Cup.
Lyons made many people eat their words with a wonderful display against Meath in the wide open spaces of Croke Park. Now can they repeat the form on Sunday when they face Kildare in the final?
There have been some great tussles between these counties in recent years, especially since Mick O’Dwyer took over as manager of the Lilywhites. Micko says that this will definitely be his last year and he would love to go out with a big win. But Kildare have not brought in much new talent this year, and though Dublin will be missing influential center half back Jonathan Magee, I give them the vote.
Tipp still lacking
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In Munster we have a fairly unusual pairing, with Tipperary taking on Cork on their home turf, at Semple Stadium. Tipp have been improving in recent years, and along with Limerick they are proving to be worthy challengers to the Cork-Kerry football dominance. Still, it’s been 67 years since Tipp won a Munster football final.
Coincidentally, back in 1935 they beat Cork by 2-8 to 1-2. I don’t think we will have a similar scoreline on Sunday and Cork should be the winners this time.
Eircom player tax break
Eircom League soccer players will benefit from the new Irish government tax deal, which will allow players a 40 percent tax rebate. Players who have paid taxes since 1990 will be allowed to claim back 40 percent under the new deal.
Players who have played for longer than a decade can pick the 10 years in which they paid most taxes.
“It’s a great step because of the number of professionals in the League and hopefully it will encourage more players to turn professional and remain in Ireland,” Fran Gavin, CEO of the PFAI, said. “It also means that clubs will have to ensure the players get their P60s at the end of the year and it could speed up the growth of professionalism in the Eircom League.”
Ryan ruffles feathers
Former Limerick manager Tom Ryan has definitely ruled himself out of taking over from Eamon Cregan when he called on the entire Limerick County Board to resign following Cregan’s departure. The job is now likely to go to Mossie Carroll, who was briefly in charge earlier this year when Cregan temporarily stepped down.
O’Leary in at Wicklow
Former Dublin goalkeeper John O’Leary says he is staying on as Wicklow football manager. Wicklow were outclassed by Kerry in the Bank of Ireland qualifiers in Portlaoise recently ago when a decent club team would probably have fared better.
“We will take a bit of a break for a few months and I’ll have a look at what comes out of the club championship in Wicklow and then we’ll get back together,” O’Leary said. “We need to sit back and take a look at the video of the Kerry game. We have to learn to play like Kerry and teams like Armagh, Meath, Dublin and Galway, that’s what we have to aim for.”
Pat Quigley dead
The death occurred last week of Pat Quigley, formerly sports editor of the World and for many years PRO of the GAA. Quigley, 61, was from Wexford and was a cousin of the famous Quigley hurling family.
A plaque has been unveiled at a terraced house in Church Street, Magherafelt, to commemorate Northern Ireland soccer legend Peter Doherty.
Doherty was a brilliant inside forward and was manager of Northern Ireland at the 1958 World Cup. The plaque was unveiled by Peter’s son Paul on the house where his father was born in 1913.
Fight doc quits
Dr. George O’Neill, doctor with the British Boxing Board of Control, has resigned following the Board’s decision last week to grant a license to Wayne McCullough, who had previously been denied a license because a cyst had been discovered near his brain.
“I feel ethically and morally that I can no longer be part of boxing,” he said. “I will not discuss individual cases, but my views are quite clear.”
D.J. Carey’s intercounty hurling days may be over. The 31-year-old Carey, who has opted out of this year’s championships, says that due to the pressure of his own business he no longer has the time or energy for the demands of intercounty training. Carey has been troubled by a neck injury and then just before the summer he had an appendix operation.
“I have a prolapsed disc in my neck,” he said. “My neck goes into spasm after training or a match. I have a machine that I put on it which fractions the spasm out, but I’ll probably have to have an operation in October.”
O’Rourke for Down
O’Rourke is the new manager of the Down senior footballers. O’Rourke, who captained the Mourne County when they last won the Sam Maguire Cup 11 years ago, takes over from Peter McGrath, who quit last month. O’Rourke is currently manager of Monaghan club side Castleblaney and he will stay with them while they remain in Monaghan championship. And O’Rourke has appointed former Down star Greg Blaney as one of his three selectors. The other new selectors will be P.J. McGee and Johnny McComiskey.