By Sean Creedon
What many regard as the “real” Munster football final will be held Sunday in Killarney. True, it’s only the semifinal between Kerry and Cork, but in the minds of many football supporters, the winner is almost certain to go on and win the Munster title.
We all., of course, have our favorite sporting venues and I would put Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, at the top of my list. It’s probably the happy memories of carefree days of youth, but for me there is nowhere quite like Killarney, especially for a Cork-Kerry championship game. Maybe it’s because I could nearly see my own house at the foot of the Pap Mountains from the high terracing on the hospital side of the ground.
Back in the 1950s and ’60s, Kerry had the upper hand on Cork, or so it seemed to me. We were always confident before the games, but when the Cork team emerged from the dressingrooms in their famous “blood and bandage” red and white strip, we began to worry. In the weeks building up to the game we were brainwashed by local papers and neighbors into believing that Cork would barely be able to come up with 15 players on the day. But around 3:10 on Sunday afternoon, those red jerseys looked like they had been washed with a very strong detergent.
So much for the memories and on to Sunday when it’s expected that Cork will be making a big effort to end Kerry hopes of three in a row. Larry Tompkins was a brilliant player with Cork after transferring from Kildare and I’m sure the Cork players would love to win a Munster title in what could be Larry’s last year in charge. And, of course, it could also be Paidi O Se’s last term in charge of the Kingdom, who didn’t impress in the first-round win over Limerick.
Kerry will struggle to cope with Cork dual star Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who is expected to line out at full-forward. Seamus Moynihan had a difficult time last year dealing with another big Corkman, Colin Corkery, last year, but O’Sullivan may even be a harder man to mark.
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In Colm Cooper of Dr. Crokes, Kerry seem to have found a new star to replace Maurice Fitzgerald, but maybe it will be Cork fans who will be happiest as they head home through Glenflesk and Rathmore on Sunday evening.
The FAI have scored another own goal by announcing that they intend to have an investigation into the Roy Keane affair. FAI General Secretary Brendan Menton said that the recommendation would be put to the FAI Board of Management on July 5. The proposal is to investigate all aspects of the association’s organization and involvement in the World Cup.
Apparently Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane will be asked for their side of the story. The report will be made public when completed. But the news has apparently annoyed McCarthy, who wanted to hear no more about Keane during the World Cup and it ultimately may cause him to walk away from the Irish job.
Mick has made no secret of the fact that he misses the everyday buzz of club management. And right now might be a good time for him to get a job with an English club.
McGrath, White quit
Two GAA intercounty managers quit this jobs Saturday evening after defeats in the All-Ireland qualifiers. Pete McGrath quit after Down’s loss to Longford. A week earlier Down had gone down heavily to Donegal in the Ulster championship. McGrath led the Mournemen to All-Ireland success in 1991 and 1994.
Brian White also quit, as manager of neighboring Antrim, after losing to Westmeath.
McCullough decision due
There has been much speculation over the last year and many false hopes of a comeback by fighter Wayne McCullough. The Belfast-born “Pocket Rocket” is anxious to fight again in England, but has not been able to get a license from the British Boxing Board of control after a cyst was detected in his head during an MRI scan. But this evening, June 12, the British Board are to make a definite decision on a license for the former Olympic silver medallist.
Ruggers face All Blacks
The Irish rugby team will play their first test against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday. It’s a very weakened Irish side, which should result in an easy win for the All Blacks. Ireland’s second test against the All Blacks on their short tour Down Under is scheduled for Auckland on Saturday, June 22.
The Phoenix Park Motor Races, one of Ireland’s oldest sporting events, may cease to be. This year’s event, which was due to be held in August, has been cancelled and the centenary celebrations, due in 2003, may also fall by the wayside unless funding is forthcoming. The Centenary celebrations will not go ahead unless a major sponsor is found. Motorsport Ireland has set aside euro 100,000 for work on resurfacing parts of the Phoenix Park circuit. The resurfacing is badly needed if racing is ever to return to the famous Park track.
Gallagher a Dub?
Fermanagh star Raymond Gallagher has denied reports that he is going to declare for Dublin. Gallagher is leaving his home club Erne Gaels and transferring to the St. Brigid’s club in Blanchardstown, where he will be a full-time club coach.
“I am a Fermanagh player through and through and have no intention of declare for Dublin,” said Gallagher, who equaled the 42-year-old record of Dublin’s Johnny Joyce when he scored 3-9 in the first round of the Ulster championship against Monaghan.
After watching the Dubs struggle against Wexford in Carlow recently, I think they could certainly could do with a scorer like Gallagher.