In the junior final Dublin will be bidding to bridge a 30-year gap when they play Clare. The Dubs last Junior All-Ireland success was in 1975. Camogie is not as popular in Dublin now as it was back in the 1950s and ’60s and Dublin no longer have a senior team. Between 1948 and 1966, Dublin won 18 of the 19 All-Ireland senior Camogie finals, with the late Kathleen Mills figuring in 15 and Una O’Connor in 13 of those wins.
Also being played on Sunday next is the All-Ireland under-21 hurling final between Galway and Kilkenny. It goes ahead at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
KURTEN EYES VEGAS
Irish sporting eyes will be on Barcelona on Sunday next for the final round in the Samsung Super League where Ireland badly needs points to avoid a drop to showjumping’s division two. We are currently bottom of the table and need points to move ahead of Holland, who are in second last position. The team selected for Sunday is: Shane Breen, Capt. Shane Carey, Billy Twomey, Dermott Lennon and Cian O’Connor.
Earlier both Jessica Kurten, who objects to O’Connor’s inclusion, and Harry Marshall said they would not ride for Ireland again under the current selection regime. However, Marshall changed his mind the day after the deadline for entries and he will now have to settle for a place in the reserves for Barcelona.
Meanwhile Kurten plans to ride Quibell and speed horse Libertina at the Las Vegas World Invitational on Oct. 14 and 15. The show is the only event in the U.S. to get a five-star rating. The County Antrim-born rider, now based in Germany, received her invitation to showjumping’s richest event due to her 11th place in the current world ranking. Last April, Kurten was the only Irish rider at the World Cup Final in Vegas when she finished 14th overall. A confident Kurten said: ‘I am privileged to be among the best in the world. I jump against all the top riders every week, so I wouldn’t discount my chances. I rested Quibell for two months after the World Cup Final, so she is ready and is accustomed to the Vegas arena, while Libertina is turning out to be a sensational horse.’
EURO GAMES TAKE TOLL
Cork City, the Eircom League premier division leaders, play the first leg of their UEFA Cup third round tie against Slavia Prague in the Evzena Rosickeho Stadium tomorrow night. It’s good for the domestic league to see Cork do so well and financially it’s also very good for the Leesiders. But participation in Europe means that Cork will have to postpone two more of their league games and ironically the extra demand of European competition could yet cost them their first domestic championship since 1993. In addition to their heavy League program, next weekend, Cork are due to play Sligo Rovers in the quarterfinal of the FAI Cup.
O’MAHONY DECLINES JOB
With favorite John O’Mahony declining the offer, there appears to be no clear favorite to replace John Maughan as Mayo senior football manager. Martin Carney, who now works as a match analyst for RTE, has also ruled himself out. Names now being mentioned include former Limerick manager Liam Kearns, Swinford’s Kieran Gallagher, Eamon Clarke, Denis Carney, Martin Trench, Sean Finnegan and Tommy Jordan, who led Crossmolina to All-Ireland club success in 2001. Interviews have been put on hold until after the All-Ireland finals where Mayo face Down in the minor decider.
But one man who is not interested is former Mayo minor and under-21 manager Declan Donaldson, who said: ‘I don’t know who would want to put their family through that. We all have developed thick necks, but I wouldn’t be prepared to put my family through the abuse that John Maughan and his family have taken over the past few months. That’s the reality of the situation.’
CHOOSE TO FLY
Kerry-born writer Con Houlihan tells a tale of the times past when supporters traveled on the “Ghost Train” from Tralee and Killarney to Dublin for the All-Ireland football final. The train would leave at 11.30 p.m. and arrive in Dublin around 6 a.m. There was no bar in the train in those days and supporters usually slept. The Ghost Train stopped at nearly every station along the way and one Sunday morning the halting of the train in Sallins, Co. Kildare awoke a fisherman from Portmagee, who looked out the window and said to his traveling companions: ‘Don’t some people live a fierce long way away.’
That story came to mind last week when I read that all flights from Farranfore Airport to Dublin for Sept. 24 and 25, the weekend of the All-Ireland football final, have already been booked out. Indeed such was the confidence in Kerry that most of the seats were booked before the All-Ireland semi-final with Cork. A spokesman for the Slattery Travel Agents in Tralee, who hope to put on two extra flights from Farranfore said: ‘It’s a long way to drive from somewhere like Portmagee in South Kerry. And the traffic coming out of Dublin on Sunday night is crazy, you could be on the road for seven hours.’
Changes times indeed, but some people do still live a fierce long way away.
GAA HOTEL OPENS
Meanwhile Croke Park is now complete as a sporting venue with the opening last Thursday of the Jurys Croke Park Hotel on Jones Road. The GAA were refused permission for a footbridge connecting the hotel to the stadium, but that may come in time. The All-Ireland football final weekend is already booked out and after that the next big event will be the All-Ireland club finals on St. Patrick’s Day next year, which is also booked out. But there are still rooms left for March 16, if you are planning a visit to Dublin for the Big Parade in 2006.
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TAPPED FOR FINAL
Kildare referee Mick Monahan will take charge of this year’s All-Ireland senior football final between Kerry and Tyrone a week from Sunday. This will be the first final for the Raheens clubman, who only joined the intercounty panel seven years ago. In the past he has taken charge of the 2003 All-Ireland semifinal between Armagh and Donegal and last year refereed the All-Ireland club final between Caltra and An Ghaeltacht.
BOYLAN MAY MAKE
Don’t be surprise if you see former Meath football manager Sean Boylan making a comeback, with the Meath hurlers. When Boylan took over the Meath footballers in 1982 they were in disarray. Well disarray is an appropriate summary of where Meath’s hurling is now. The hurling board has seen a raft of resignations and earlier this year they also lost their manager John Hunt.
Elsewhere John Kennedy has quit as Clare senior football manager. But the Kerry-born boss could be among the candidates for the Limerick job where fellow Kerryman Paidi O Se is also reported to be a candidate.
In Monaghan Seamus McEneaney has been re-appointed senior football manager. It was a reasonably good year for Monaghan, who won division two of the National Football League and went out of the All-Ireland race to finalists Tyrone.
And it looks Mickey Moran is going to have difficulty holding on to his job in Derry. Among the candidates nominated to oppose Moran are: former under-21 boss Liam Bradley, John Brennan from Slaughtneil, Paddy Crozier of St Canice’s and Bellaghy’s Chris Brown.
In Waterford, Justin McCarthy has indicated that he may be willing to stay on for another term. It was thought that the Corkman might have been willing to quit the Deise.
Another man not quitting is D.J Carey. The 34-year-old Gowran clubman has said that he will make himself available for Kilkenny again next year.
DUNNE TO BOX
ON HOME TURF
Dublin boxer Bernard Dunne will top the bill at a six-fight Brian Peters promotion at Dublin’s National Stadium on Oct. 14.
He’ll take on Noel Wilder for the IBC title at the new weight of super bantamweight, following an unbeaten run of 16 wins at featherweight. Dunne said that shedding four pounds to make the new weight will not be a problem. ‘I’ve a good team of people around me and I’m working with a nutritionist now. I don’t see any problem and I’m just delighted to be fighting for a title.’
Also on the card is Jim Rock, who will contest the vacant IBC middleweight title against Welsham Alan Jones, a fighter who has previously beaten him on points. Belfast supermiddleweight Brian Magee is also on the card, The Belfast man boxes Scotland’s Tommy Cannon.
Meanwhile Wayne McCullough has become an American citizen. The Belfast-born boxer who has been living in Las Vegas since 1993, was along with 90 others, sworn in at a ceremony at the Lloyd Geroge Courthouse two weeks back.
BROGAN IS OUT
Dublin’s Alan Brogan is the latest player to withdraw from Peter McGrath’s provisional panel of 43 for the International Rules tests against Australia next month. Brogan recently underwent surgery to remedy an ongoing ankle problem. He is the second Dublin player to withdraw from the squad after Ciaran Whelan earlier announced that he was unable to travel as his wife is due to give birth during the period of the tour.
LONG KICK TITLE
The All-Ireland Kick Fada competition will be held at the Bray Emmets GAA club in Bray on Saturday next. Four times champion Mark Herbert from Kildare is competing once again, as is the holder, Offaly goalkeeper Padraig Kelly. This year there will be three competitions: men, women and schools.