By Pierce O’Reilly
If Maurice Fitzgerald were to move lock, stock and barrel to New York and line out for the green and gold home side, it would be one of the biggest GAA coups ever in the history of the exiles’ game.
And though there is no need to push the panic buttons yet, it was suggested earlier this week that Fitzgerald is fed up with Paidi O Se and ready to pack his bags for the Big Apple. It was subsequently reported that the men had made up, but who knows?
O Se and Fitzgerald supposedly had words after Fitzgerald returned from his sojourn in New York as guest of honor at the recent Kerry dinner dance.
Fears that the 1997 Player of the Year was ready to quit the game he has graced since 1988 surfaced when he didn’t travel to Roscommon for a recent League game after failing to make the Kerry starting 15.
While O Se admitted he should have consulted Fitzgerald before the team was announced, he revealed that discussions have taken place and believes the matter to be now at an end.
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"Contrary to reports, there was never any animosity between myself and Maurice," remarked the manager. "I spoke to him by phone and told him I regretted not discussing the matter with Maurice prior to the selection of the team to play Roscommon. All of that is in the past now. We had a very amicable chat and I’m delighted he was upbeat about it."
O Se disputed media reports suggesting that the Cahirciveen sharpshooter may leave the county panel and follow in the footsteps of Eamon Breen and Bingo Driscoll to New York. Fitzgerald’s father, Ned, lived and played in New York for several years. A Kerry official in New York said that Fitzgerald was very impressed with the setup in the Big Apple and would be available for further GAA junkets later in the season. Don’t be surprised if "Fitzie" is back sooner than expected.
Carroll, Caulfield make cut
The Irish squad for the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Lisbon has been announced and U.S. based Irish runners Mark Carroll and Daniel Caulfield have being included. Carroll will compete in the 3,000 meters and is expected to be one of the favorites for the event.
Carroll, who has disappointed his fans in most of his recent races, has recovered fully from a hamstring injury that curtailed his performance in the Wanamaker mile at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden earlier this year.
Meanwhile, little known Roscommon native Daniel Caulfield has hit all the headlines recently after his magnificent performance in the 800 at the Millrose games, where he finished second to American veteran Johnny Gray. A week later, Caulfield set an Irish indoor record for the 800 at Boston University. He breasted the tape in 1.47.21, five-hundredths of a second better than the previous best time by an Irishman.
The bad news for the Irish team is that Breda Dennehy-Willis and Sinead Delahunty have withdrawn from the 3m and 1.5m events, respectively, due to injury, while Paul Brizzel is considered doubtful for the 200 event.
Here is the full list of Irish runners:
Men: 200, Paul Brizzell; 400, Tomas Coman; 600, Peter Coughlan; 800, Daniel Caulfield; 1,500, James Nolan; 3,000, Mark Carroll.
Women: 60, Ciara Sheehy; 400, Karen Shinkins; 1,500, Sonia O’Sullivan; 3000, Sonia O’Sullivan.
The IAAF announced on Tuesday last that the World Cross-Country Championships set for March 24/25th have being moved from Leopardstown Racecourse to Brussels because of the current foot-and-mouth disease scare. The Republic has not hosted the World Cross Country Championships since 1978. The 1500 competitors set for Ireland will now have to rebook their flights.
Miley just won’t go away
There was uproar in Ireland recently when RTE’s longest-running soap drama, "Glenroe," got the chop and Miley Byrne and Dinny Byrne departed the screens for good after almost 20 years of primetime scheduling.
RTE director Cathal Goan said the show no longer reflected the rapidly changing Irish society and it was time to say a "fond goodbye." All eyes will now focus on the show’s replacement and it’s about another rural Irish parish.
The new series revolves around the exploits of a parish hurling team. It is set to hit the screens after the summer vacation.
Tentatively titled "All-Ireland," the show will follow the exploits of a club trying desperately to reach the All-Ireland club championships.
I can imagine just now the typical team talks and the thick-looking manager psyching up his troops before they take on Ballygobackwards before the first round of the county championship. Sure, wouldn’t Miley make the perfect candidate for the job? You’ve never know, we might see him back sooner than we think.
No Irish horses for Cheltenham
Irish racehorse trainers have decided not to travel to the Cheltenham racing festival because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association at the Curragh over the weekend.
The trainers have also recommended that racegoers not travel to Cheltenham, if the festival goes ahead at all.
The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners has called for the management of Cheltenham racecourse to reconsider the decision to go ahead with the festival. The managing director of the Cheltenham racecourse, Edward Gillespie, said he regretted the decision of the Irish trainers, but said he understood why the difficult decision was taken.
More than 25,000 people employed in the racing industry in Ireland are this week facing a bleak future as the sport prepares for months, rather than weeks, of inactivity.
GAA fans call a spade a spade
GAA supporters are renowned worldwide for their colorful use of the English language. They speak their own unique dialect, which requires years of nourishing attending parochial pitches from an early age. Make so mistake, everyone involved understands it.
These often comical phrases aren’t to be found in the English dictionary, yet they slip off the tongue at Gaelic Park every Sunday as if they where handed down from generation to generation and indeed many of them have survived a long time.
Over the next few weeks, with the help of the loyal and honest GAA supporters in New York, we’ll explore some of the terms, phrases and words that are to be found ringing around the trees at Gaelic Park every Sunday afternoon.
"Give him plenty of timber" is a phrase only heard in relation to the hurling fraternity. It is used mainly to intimidate a hurling opponent and is usually heard from the sideline. Timber is used in reference to the caman, or hurley, and give him timber often means "lay into him," ie. don’t be afraid to "shkelp" him or "lamp" him if you get the chance.
"A shamozzle" is generally a group of players shkelpin’ one another, but not exactly hitting anyone at the same time. When Mayo and Meath players started throwing punches during the 1996 All-Ireland Final, it was generally described as a shamozzle afterward. A bit of "flakin" could result from the shamozzle, but usually it’s only a bit of "joshellin" or "joultin."
"The back door" is a term introduced to the GAA dictionary for the All-Ireland hurling championship some years back. It’s reported that it originated from a drunk GAA supporter arriving home from a championship game and trying to sneak into the house via the back door without his wife knowing. Teams that lose in the hurling championship were initially allowed to reenter the competition via the back door, but Croke Park have now extended the procedure to include the footballers as well. The back door will, therefore, get a lot of use this season.
Price hike at Gaelic Park
As the controversy surrounding the decision to raise admission prices to National League games by 40 percent lingers in Ireland, the GAA in New York are now reportedly planning a price hike to Gaelic Park later this year. Fans can expect price increases of $2, to $10, for all Sunday games, while recent reports suggest that championship games involving visiting teams may be as high as $20.
The price increases are certain to enrage supporters, but the GAA can legitimately point out that their tickets are still cheaper than most other sporting events in New York.
While there are certain to be complaints from supporters, New York GAA can easily point out that tickets to GAA games are still much cheaper than most other sports.
€ "To me playing in Gaelic Park was like playing in Croke Park."
Eddie (Tatler) O’Sullivan from Kerry, who won a New York senior championship with the Carlow team in 1971. Carlow beat Conamara Gaels on that occasion.
€ "He’s pulling him off! The Spanish manager is pulling his captain off!"
George Hamilton (RTE commentator) on Spain manager Luis Swarez’s substituting of Emilio Butragueno during their World Cup qualifier with Ireland in Seville in 1992.