Having used Price Waterhouse Cooper for the recruitment of former CEO Fran Rooney in 2003, this time around the association has turned to Amrop Hever, one of the world’s top five recruitment firms, to assist them in the search for Rooney’s replacement.
Interim CEO John Delaney, the Association’s honorary treasurer, has made no secret of his desire to get the job on a permanent basis, while Peter Buckley, the FAI’s current financial controller, will obviously be a candidate for the finance job. The closing date for applications is Jan. 28 and the e-mail address for your CV if you are interested is firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN CRUCIAL STAGE
Three of the four Irish provincial rugby teams are in Heineken Cup action this weekend. This is the penultimate round of qualifying games in the Heineken Cup, with the final round of games due to be played the following weekend. Ulster, still in with a slight chance of qualifying from Pool 6, play Gloucester at Ravenhill on Friday night. Stade Francais lead the group with 14 points, with Gloucester second a point behind and Ulster third on eight points. Then on Saturday, Leinster, seven-point leaders in Pool 2, travel to play Bath, who are in second place. Pool 4 leaders Munster face Neath-Swansea Ospreys at Thomond Park. Connacht are also in action this weekend when they travel to France to play Grenoble in the first leg of the Parker Pen Shield quarterfinal tie. It will be Connacht’s eighth time facing French competition in the shadow competition.
CHANGE OF PLAN
The Wexford senior hurling panel have had to cancel their proposed holiday in the sun later this month. The Leinster champions were due to fly out to Phuket in Thailand on Monday for a 10-day break, but the Tsunami disaster, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives, has meant the holiday has been canceled. The Wexford footballers holidayed in Phuket just before Christmas, but now the hurlers don’t know if the hotel is still standing. Wexford’s travel agent is trying to find alternative holiday at short notice.
AT 87 MINUTES
The Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid will host one of the strangest soccer games in history at 6 o’clock local time this evening when Real Madrid and Real Sociedad meet. The original game on Dec. 12 was abandoned with three minutes remaining when a caller to a Basque newspaper said there was a bomb in the stadium. It was the first time a Spanish stadium was evacuated because of an ETA bomb threat. With the game tied at 1-1 it was thought that the Spanish Football Association would deem the result a draw. But they decided that the final three minutes, plus four minutes of stoppage time must be played. All 70,000 ticket holders from the original game will be allowed to watch the game.
RIVALS MUST WAIT
Ireland’s Beef or Salmon and England’s Best Mate are not likely to meet again until Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival in March. Beef or Salmon, who is trained by Michael Hourigan in County Limerick, had his first win over the English-trained Best Mate at the fourth attempt at Leopardstown over the Christmas. But while Beef or Salmon is expected to run again in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in early February, Best Mate will be kept in reserve until the big Cheltenham meeting, when he will be bidding for his fourth successive Gold Cup win.
Meanwhile, Irish-born jockey Kieren Fallon has abandoned England for the U.S. scene. Fallon, who is reported to have said that he was fed up with all the hassle in Britain, is now riding at Florida’s Gulfstream Park.
Celtic’s young star Aiden McGeady said he will not let the “boo-boys” in Scottish football upset him. The 18-year-old was booed throughout Celtic’s win over Hearts on St. Stephen’s Day.
“I will have to get used to verbal abuse and let it pass over me,” he said. “I am sure it is down to my decision to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than Scotland.”
Meanwhile, despite earlier speculation that Roy Keane might end his playing days with Glasgow Celtic, the Corkman has now said that he would like to extend his stay at Old Trafford when his current contract ends in the Summer of 2005. “It’s always dangerous to look too far ahead in football, especially when you have one or two injuries like I have,” he said. “But as long as United want me and I feel as good as I do at the moment, then it would be great to stay at United. I will be 35 when my current contract expires, the big challenge is to play on beyond that and, hopefully, I can do it at United.”
The Irish international is a big Celtic fan and travels to see his boyhood heroes play at Parkhead when he is free. But obviously he has also seen how Celtic have struggled in recent years as a result of a lack of investment in the Glasgow club.
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ALL-STAR BOSSES NAMED
The GAA has named their managers for the Vodafone Football All-Stars exhibition game in Hong Kong on Jan. 22. Mickey Harte, Tyrone’s All-Ireland winning manager, will take charge of the 2003 team, while John Maughan, who took Mayo to the All-Ireland final last September, will be in charge of the 2004 team.
Meanwhile, the last remaining intercounty football management vacancy was filled just before Christmas when John Kiely was named as the new Waterford senior football boss. Kiely, who led Waterford to Junior All-Ireland success in 1999 and 2004, takes over from Billy Harty. Kiely, from the Kilrossanty club, will have Tipperary man Michael McLoughlin as coach/trainer and his selectors will be Pat Curran (Stradbally) and Tom Condon (Sliabh gCua). While women’s football is strong in Waterford, the Deise men have not won a league game for the last three seasons and Waterford’s last win in the Munster senior football championship was against Tipperary in 1989.
TEMPERS FLY IN
Kerry’s Australian Rules player Tadhg Kennelly was home in Listowel for Christmas and naturally turned out for his local GAA club Listowel Emmets in the North Kerry Championship Final against Finuge. Kennelly was on the winning team, but he got a broken nose for his trouble in what was a bad-tempered game. The injury may tempt Kennelly’s Aussie Rules club to stop him playing Gaelic football while home on holiday in future, but then a broken nose shouldn’t worry the tough guys in Aussie Rules.
Meanwhile, John O’Dwyer, a Kerry selector under Paidi O Se’s term as manager, has taken over as manager of the Tralee club Kerins O’Rahilly’s. O’Dwyer, a lawyer in Killorglin, is the son of current Laois manager Mick O’Dwyer.
Three Irish players have been named by French newspaper L’Equipe in their rugby team of the year for 2004. Three-quarters Brian O’Driscoll, out-half Ronan O’Gara and second row Paul O’Connell all made the team. Australia with four places were the only country to get more than Ireland.
MAY MAKE DATE
Arsenal star Robert Pires may be back in the French team by the time they visit Dublin for the second leg Ireland’s World Cup qualifier next September. Pires was annoyed with French manager Raymond Domenech when he was left out of the squad for the November friendly against Poland, having earlier criticized his national coach.
“I don’t make up my mind about someone from what he says, but from what he does,” Domenech said. “There is no reason for Pires not to make his comeback. When you are in charge of a national team, you cannot rule out someone for irrelevant excuses. I am not a resentful character.”