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Sports Desk: Keane emerges a kingmaker in manager search

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

If the officers who will interview the prospective managerial candidates were listening to the Corkman being interviewed on a radio station in Dublin last week, they might be leaning that way, assuming they truly want Keane back.
In Dublin to lend his support to the Special Olympics World Games, which will be held in Ireland in June, Keane said he would wait until a new manager is appointed before he would decide whether to wear the Irish jersey again. Keane said he would have to discuss the matter with his family in Cork and also with Alex Ferguson, his manager at Manchester United.
Most commentators agree that Keane was probably correct to question some of the World Cup preparation in Saipan last May, but surely it would have been wiser to wait until after the finals to make his complaints. After the debacle in Saipan, opinion was divided on who was to blame for Keane’s departure from the team, Keane himself or McCarthy.
Many reasonable people thought Keane was wrong to walk away from the World Cup, and it would have been better to hold his tongue until after the finals. But to others, it looked like McCarthy may have backed his captain into a corner.
Now Keane is telling us that he is not prepared to play for his country again unless he is happy with the man the FAI appoint. Forget it, Roy, who needs that type of commitment?

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien says he would like to have a go at the Kentucky Derby in May with the promising 3-year-old Hold That Tiger.
O’Brien, one of the most modest people involved in Irish racing, was speaking at the Bisquit Cognac/Irish Independent Racing awards for 2002 held in the old Jameson Distillery in Dublin last week.
Hold that Tiger is doing really well and we would love him to run in Kentucky,” O’Brien said. “Other 2-year-olds from last year who are shaping up well this year include Brian Boru, Spartacus and Van Nistelrooy. We should have a better idea of what way the season will shape up in about six weeks.”
O’Brien had a great year in 2002, winning seven Group One races with Rock of Gibraltar and success in the English and Irish Derby. But his trip to Arlington Park in October ended in disappointment with defeats for Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk King, but a win for High Chaparral.

With Bohemians already crowned champions and Bray Wanderers relegated from the premier division, there’s only the Intertoto Cup place and a relegation playoff spot to be sorted out when the final games in the Eircom League 2002-03 are played on Sunday. Shelbourne are assured of the UEFA Cup spot and the remaining European place rests between Shamrock Rovers and Cork City. Waterford United are virtually certain to be promoted from the first division. The second-to-last club in the premier division will play off against the second, third and fourth clubs from the first division to decide the final promotion/relegation decision. Drogheda United look like they will be the club facing the trio of clubs from the first division.

Thanks to the Internet, people can now vote for various awards from the comfort of their own homes and offices. Recently we saw the Wolfe Tones’ song “A Nation Once Again” win a BBC World Service poll to decide the most popular song in the world. Now it looks like Irish people everywhere are voting for soccer star Damien Duff in an web poll being conducted by UEFA. The body which governs European soccer is compiling its team of 2002 and if you want to vote for the Irishman, log on to www.uefa.com.

The “Fields of Athenry” is a popular song among Irish and Glasgow Celtic supporters. Now the classic, which was written by Dubliner Pete St. John, is being recorded by Irish group Foster and Allen and a group of jockeys in time for the Cheltenham Festival. Tony McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald and Adrian Maguire will sing a new sport-orientated chorus on the popular ballad. Proceeds from sales of the record will go toward the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Kildare GAA officials have denied reports that Dermot Earley could be about to leave the Lilywhites and declare for Galway or Roscommon. The star midfielder is studying at Galway University and would be great addition to the Galway squad. But new Roscommon manager Tommy Carr also said that he would love to have the strapping young player in his squad. Dermot’s father, Dermot Sr., was a Roscommon hero for many years, but for the last 20 years or so he has been living in Kildare where he is now a Colonel in the Irish Army. Young Dermot could declare for Galway, but he couldn’t play for Roscommon unless he was living in the county.

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The partnership that clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe last September is to break up. Ireland’s Paul McGinley, who sunk the winning put at The Belfry, is
parting company with his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald. The parting will be amicable and a friendship, which begun back in the 1980s when they were both Leinster junior teammates, will reportedly continue.

Soccer may not be a big spectator sport in the U.S., but one American-based supporter goes to great lengths every fortnight to see a soccer game. Tottenham supporter Ian MacDonald travels from his home in Rhode Island to White Hart Lane in London to see all of Spurs home games. Every second Friday the 41-year-old computer analyst leaves work at 4 p.m. and drives to a nearby bus station to catch the 5 p.m. shuttle to Logan Airport. Ian takes the 7:30 p.m. flight to Heathrow, where he arrives at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. In London. he is met by his mother, who drives him to her home in Farnborough for a quick freshen up before he catches a train to the Waterloo and then a Tube to the Spurs ground in North London.
The return trip starts immediately after the game and MacDonald is back home with his wife, Sandy, in Rhode Island by 10 p.m. Sunday. MacDonald, who was born near White Hart Lane, has been making the fortnightly trek back to North London since moving to the U.S. in 1998.

When Roger Casement arrived in Banna Strand many years ago with a cargo of guns there was nobody there to meet him but the British police, who promptly arrested him. And it was also a “lonely Banna Strand” last Saturday as the Kerry team failed to show up for training on the famous North Kerry beach. Manager Paidi O Se, in an interview from Capetown, said that John O’Keeffe, who didn’t travel to South Africa on holiday with the Kerry squad, would take the training session. But back in Tralee, in a terse statement O’Keeffe said that he would not be taking the training. The Kerry County Board were due to meet last night to discuss the row caused by O Se’s interview with the Sunday Independent just after Christmas.
Meanwhile, the knives are out for O Se in Kerry, particularly around Tralee, where many are jealous of the dominance of players from West Kerry. If O Se quits, expect O’Keeffe to step in. Another former Kerry star waiting in the wings is Eoin “Bomber” Liston, who has just quit as manager of county champions Kerins O’Rahilly’s.

Formula One is to give its two smallest teams, Jordan and Minardi, a $2 million bailout to keep the grid from shrinking to eight teams.
“Without this money, we would have needed Houdini at his greatest, pulling lots of rabbits out of hats,” Eddie Jordan said. “This means we can go to sponsors and tell them we are definitely in business. I can now say, hand-on-heart, that we are in a position to fight in the championship again.”
Jordan are still looking for a main sponsor after DHL pulled out, costing the team about $15 million. But last week tire manufacturers Bridgestone confirmed that they would back Jordan for a fifth consecutive year.

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