By Sean Creedon
Galway-born boxer Francie Barrett, who thought he might have to abandon his professional ambitions, has had his career saved by three London-based Irishmen. Business partners Anthony and Mark White and Mick Cox, who run the Lula’s bars in the Harlesden area of London, will provide the Galway-born Traveler with a weekly wage so that he can concentrate on boxing.
"Now that I don’t have to work, I can
concentrate on my boxing, I am really grateful," said Barrett, who moved to London so that he could pursue his professional dream.
Attractive FAI ties
Following their third round replay win over Derry City Shelbourne have now lined up a most attractive FAI Cup quarterfinal tie against old Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers. Rovers manager Damien Richardson, who had a spell in charge of Shelbourne, says he is looking forward to going back to Tolka Park, which he considers the best pitch in the Eircom League. The attractive tie and the other three quarterfinal ties are due to be played on the week-ending March 4.
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Club football semis
The All-Ireland club football semifinals will be played Sunday, Feb. 18. Nemo Rangers, the Cork and Munster champions will meet Carlow and Leinster winners O’Hanrahans in Dungarvan. O’Hanrahans success is amazing. Carlow are poor at intercounty level, yet Eire Og have been one of the best club sides in the country in recent years.
Now Eire Og’s great rivals from Carlow Town, have made the breakthrough. The other semifinal between Connacht champions Ballinrobe and Ulster champions Bellaghy will be played in Enniskillen.
OCI vote due
Feb. 15 is decision day for the Olympic Council of Ireland as outgoing President Pat Hickey faces a challenge from sailing’s Richard Burrows. Hickey, who has been president since 1988, is facing serious opposition this time around, but with the likely backing of the 10-man executive, he will probably hold on to his job.
Also, Burrows does not live in Ireland at present. Because of his job as managing director of drinks company Pernod Richard, he has to live in Paris.
Supporters of Hickey say he is prepared to make changes to the Irish set-up following the publication last week of a report that criticized many aspects of the running of the OCI.
The question of refugees seeking asylum in Ireland is an emotive subject right now, but Kilkenny star D.J. Carey is doing his bit by sponsoring at 24-year-old Cambodian student for a year.
On a golfing holiday in Bangkok last October, Carey met Phaniang Jaroanram and decided to give her a better chance in life. She is now studying English and Computers at the Carlow Regional College and Ballyhale College while staying with the Careys at their home in Gowran.
Non-EU residents have to be given sponsorship by local families or firms before they are allowed to live in Ireland.
World Cup tickets
Soccer fans around the world will be able to purchase tickets for next year’s World Cup tournament in Japan and Korea beginning Thursday, Feb. 15.
Soccer fans can buy tickets from the official website: www.fifaworldcup.com
Republic of Ireland manger Mick McCarthy says that he will be looking at some fringe players in the friendly against Denmark at Lansdowne Road on Feb. 28.
Middlesbrough’s Keith O’Neill and Tottenham’s Gary Doherty can expect a call-up, and perhaps Mark Kennedy, provided he is fit. Kennedy and Phil Babb were sent home three days before the opening World Cup qualifier against Holland last September following their court appearance in Dublin after they damaged a car owned by a policewoman.
McCarthy has been impressed with O’Neill’s recent form. "When I first took the Irish job five years ago, I looked on Keith as one of the potential maintstays of the future of Irish soccer," he said. "And believe me it has disappointed me more than anyone that Keith hasn’t lived up to that billing. He hasn’t been helped by a disastrous run of injuries. Hopefully, now that he is back to full fitness, we can begin to see Keith to deliver on that early promise."
O’Neill won the last of his 13 caps against Macedonia in October 1999. McCarthy says will give Tottenham defender Gary Doherty a run out at the center of the defense. All three of Doherty’s caps to date have been won as a striker. Wimbledon’s Kenny Cunningham, who has missed all of the games this season, should also be fit to return for the Denmark game.
Cashman at helm
Tom Cashman, the new manager of the Cork senior hurlers will have his first competitive game in charge on Sunday, Feb. 18, when Cork travel to play Laois in Portlaoise. The Rebels’ opening game with Kilkenny was postponed and they had a bye last Sunday. It will be Cashman’s first competitive game since taking over from Jimmy Barry Murphy.
There has been much criticism about playing hurling games in February, but the counties wouldn’t agree to play two rounds of the League before Christmas. The fact of the matter is that there are not enough Sundays in the year for the GAA. Two years ago, when they decided to play the hurling League in the same calendar year, they were blessed with excellent spring weather.