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Sports Desk: Dubs look to women to salvage GAA honor

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

There’s a great following for Gaelic football in Dublin, and while the ladies are not yet as popular as the men, Dubs supporters will no doubt turn out in force hoping to see their county win some type of national title.
This is only Dublin’s second final. TA year ago, they were beaten by a late Mayo goal by Diane O’Hora. It will also be Galway’s second senior final. The county lost to Tipperary in 1975 in what was only the second year of the competition. So we will definitely see a new name on the Brendan Martin Cup after Sunday.
Following their semifinal replay win over Mayo, Galway will probably be slight favorites to beat the Dublin women. When they last met, in the quarterfinal of the National League in March, Galway hammered the Dubs.
Dublin are managed by former goalkeeper John O’Leary and seven of their team all come from the same club, Ballyboden St. Enda’s.
In the junior final, Kildare will play Sligo.

International Rules manager Peter McGrath had gotten a boost with the news that his two Aussie Rules players have joined the squad for training. Cork’s Setanta O hAilpin and Kerry-born Tadhg Kennelly had their first training session with the Irish squad last week. McGrath has also called up Galway’s Joe Bergin to replace his captain, Padraic Joyce, who had to withdrawn due to injury. The two tests will be played at Croke Park on Oct. 17 and 24.

Roy Keane, who was in court in Manchester facing assault charges last week, has admitted that he might one day like to move into management. Keane, who already has his UEFA B coaching badge, intends to take the A coaching test next summer. Keane said that he has learned a lot from the various managers he has worked under: Brian Clough, Alex Ferguson, Jack Charlton, Mick McCarthy.
“You pick pieces from all of them, but in the end you have to be your own man,” he said. “You need a challenge in life to get out of bed every morning and be focused on something and there’s no better challenge than playing. The next best challenge would be a manager.”
And if he were to enter the minefield of management he would like to be able to decide one important power. “If I went to a club, whether it was Real Madrid or Altrincham, I would like to decide which players I bought,” he said.

Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon will not be allowed in the dugout or anywhere near his team for tomorrow’s night UEFA Cup second leg game against Lille in France. Fenlon picked up a two-match ban when he was sent off against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League.
For the first leg in Dublin, Fenlon thought he would be allowed take a seat in the press box in the upper deck of the west stand and watch the game. But the UEFA observer insisted that Fenlon sit in the VIP area, where he could keep an eye on him. Fenlon was also barred from Shels’ dressing room before the game and at halftime and wasn’t allowed to speak at the after-match press conference. It’s a change from the GAA’s bans, in which the manager can sit behind the dug out.
Meanwhile, there are, surprisingly, no Dublin clubs left in this year’s FAI Cup, the semifinals of which will be played this weekend. Derry City have persuaded the local greyhound association to switch its normal Friday night meeting at the Brandywell to accommodate the Candystripes’ home game against Waterford United. When the teams met at the Brandywell 11 days ago, the game was abandoned due to a floodlight failure. The second semifinal, between cup holders Longford Town and Drogheda United, will be played at Flancare Park, Longford, on Sunday.

While the European Ryder Cup committee is hoping to persuade German Bernhard Langer to stay on as captain for another two years, Irish golf fans are already wondering how they are going to get tickets for the K Club in 2006. It will be the end of the year before we know exactly how tickets will be distributed. As with Detroit, it’s expected that about 48,000 tickets will be made available for each day of practice and competition.
Many of those tickets will, of course, go to corporate and tourist packages. But if you want to make your own way to the K Club in 2006, you should make your interest known by e-mail to the following address: rydercup@europeantour.com. Michael Smurfit, the owner of the K Club, and his organizing team were at Oakland Hills to see for themselves the organization involved. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington summed the anticipation best when he said: “The K club is excellent, first class, and it’s great for a country like Ireland to stage the Ryder Cup. I just hope we get the weather.”

The Laois GAA County Board have ratified the appointment of Mick O’Dwyer for another two-year term. It was thought that the Kerryman might move on after a disappointing season in charge of the O’Moore County. But Micko is not quitting yet.
“We were plagued with injures and were always struggling to get our full squad together, and on top of that a few lads stepped out of line along the way, which didn’t help us,” he said. “This was a fierce disappointing season. But that is all part and parcel of the job. We will be back next year and hoping to get back on track. Football throws a lot at you, but if we get things organized again, we have a good chance. On the player front it’s good to see Beano McDonald and Joe Higgins both making good progress after serious injuries.”
In Wexford, John Conran, who led the Yellow Bellies to success in Leinster last summer, is stepping down after two years in charge. Conran’s selectors Martin Quigley and Dickie Murphy are also stepping down.
Since being appointed a selector, Murphy has had to take a break from refereeing. Up to last year he had been in great demand for big intercounty hurling games and may now take up the whistle again. Under 21 manager Seamus Murphy is tipped to take over from Conran.
Current Antrim football manager P.J. O’Hare is hoping to be reappointed for a third year. But he has one serious challenger for the post, his former St. Gall’s clubmate Mickey Culbert. Culbert, who was in charge of Cargin this season, has done well with St. Gall’s in the past. Culbert also had a spell as Antrim hurling manager.
Meanwhile, Dinny Cahill seems set to continue as Antrim hurling boss. But apparently the County Board want the Tipperary-man to change his backroom team.

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The FAI’s famous green door at 80 Merrion Square may be about to change. Last week FAI Chief Executive Fran Rooney said that the association was hoping to move its headquarters from Merrion Square to Abbotstown, the site of the infamous Bertie Bowl. Ahern’s stadium was never built, but there are ambitious plans for a Sports Campus on the site. And the FAI could move into temporary offices vacated by staff from the Department of Agriculture in Abbotstown until the new buildings are ready. Presumably the FAI will sell 80 Merrion Square which no longer can accommodate the growing number of FAI staff and the famous green door may get a new coat of paint from its new owners.

Irish soccer fans will be grateful that French star Zinadine Zidane didn’t listen to his wife’s advice. The 32-year-old French star, who recently retired from international football said: “My wife suggested I should try to carry on playing for France, but inside me I had the feeling that something had gone. It was also a generation issue, with a lot of the backroom staff retiring or moving on. I was a part of their generation which had achieved so much together, also with teammates like Thuram, Desailly, Lizarazu and some others.”
So good news for the Irish and for his club Real Madrid that “Zizou” has quit France. Some pundits now claim that for soccer players the Champions League is more important than international football. But I wouldn’t agree. While international football can be disruptive for club football, surely there can be no better feeling that playing for your country?

Nike, which last week announced a 25 percent jump in first-quarter profits, will sponsor Glasgow Celtic beginning next year. When Celtic’s current deal with Umbro ends in June 2005, Nike will take over in a five-year deal reported to be worth

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