By Sean Creedon
Clinton Morrison, the Crystal Palace striker who is being chased by Mick McCarthy, has yet to confirm that he will declare for The Republic. Morrison could also play for England, Jamaica or Trinidad and Tobago.
McCarthy says he will name Morrison to the squad for the friendly against Denmark at the end of February, provided he has an Irish passport and that he definitely wants to wear the green jersey.
"I told Clinton last week that there are no trials, no second chances," McCarthy said. "He either wants to play for us or he doesn’t. I need to know what he is going to do by the end of January."
The FAI are badly in need of a top-class striker, but should we be chasing players like Morrision, who would obviously declare for England if he thought he would get an extended run.
We are a small nation and, of course, our emigrants’ children have a right to delcare for the land of their parents or grandparents if they so wish. In the past, English-born players like Tony Grealish, Tony Galvin, Mark Lawrenson, Tony Cascarino, Chris Hughton, Gerry Peyton, Seamus McDonagh and McCarthy himself had long international careers with The Republic, whereas they would probably have earned only a few English caps.
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Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has had his request for a transfer turned down by Newcastle United. Now the Donegalman says he plans to try to win back the No. 1 shirt at St James’ Park.
"To be perfectly honest, I am pleased to know where I stand," Given said. "My intention was simply to express my frustration at being left out of the team after I had missed the Leeds United game through injury. I have been training hard and am determined to win back both my place in the team and my excellent relationship with the fans."
History will be made on Friday when a Gaelic Football game between two Irish teams is played at the Dubai Rugby club. The 1999 Eircell All-Stars, managed by Galway manager John O’Mahony, will play the 2000 winners, under Paidi O Se. A squad of 30 players is traveling on this sunshine break and it’s expected that the games will feature teams of 12-a-side.
Challenge to Hickey
Reigning Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey will have just one challenger as he bids to extend his 12-year term at the helm of the Irish Olympic Council. Richard Burrows, managing director of drinks firm Penod Ricard, has been nominated by the Irish Sailing Association, but whether Burrows will have enough backing to depose Hickey remains to be seen.
There was a surprise last week when Hickey’s own body, the Irish Judo Association failed to nominate him.
Refereeing: A taxing job
Who would want to be a feferee? Refs are rarely popular with either team in a game whether it’s soccer, rugby or Gaelic games. Now the whistlers are being chased by the Revenue Commissioners. There was uproar when the news broke recently — after all it’s very difficulty at present to attract new recruits. But the tax man has now confirmed that he is only chasing Eircom League refs and some schoolboy clubs who may have got big payments from English clubs for young players.
Galway-born traveler Francie Barrett is finding the professional boxing game tough going. Barrett, the first traveler to represent Ireland in the Olympics, who is now living in London, turned professional last May. He has won all three of his pro fights, but since giving up his job to train full-time, he has been struggling financially.
"Before I was working as laborer, but doing both was very hard," Barrett said. "I started work at 6:30 a.m. and finished at 5:30 p.m. Then I would train in the evening. I was wrecked completely and sometimes even had to miss training. I want to be a professional and I know that if I keep training in a few years time I’ll get a big break. Only the people at the top are earning big money. I need a sponsor to keep me going and will repay them in time."
In the backdoor
Don Davis is rejoining the Cork football squad for the coming season, all because of the new backdoor system.
"The new system has encouraged me to make a comeback," he said. "Now I know that even, if say, Kerry beat us in the Munster final, we’ve still got another shot this season. Sure the weaker counties will benefit, but all I want is that All-Ireland medal and this draw gives us a good chance."
Massey named hopps CEO
Debbie Massey is the new chief executive of the Irish Basketball Association, replacing Irish American Scott McCarthy. Massey has spent most of her career with the GAA in Croke Park, where she was policy and planning manager. She was also responsible for the development of the GAA’s overseas network and affiliates.