Category: Archive

Sports Desk: tourism has a lot riding on Ryder

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland have both stressed the importance of the Ryder Cup golf tournament, which is due to be played at the K Club in County Kildare in late September, in promoting Irish tourism overseas. The minister said: ‘The Ryder Cup is one of the top three media sporting events in the world. This is an unique opportunity that must be totally exploited.’

Kerry and Mayo will kick-off the 2006 National Football League campaign when they meet under the Austin Stack Park floodlights in Tralee on Feb. 4. The remainder of the football fixtures get under way the following day, Sunday, Feb. 5, with the hurling campaign due to start on Feb. 26. The football League final will be played on April 23, with the hurling final seven days later.
And it looks like Clare hurling manager Anthony Daly may have to plan without stalwart fullback Brian Lohan for the league and championship campaign in 2006. Lohan has not made any official announcement but Clare County Secretary Pat Fitzgerald hinted in his annual report that Lohan, Brian Quinn and David Forde are all likely to retire.

TG4 are running an online and text competition to find the goal of the year and it could very well be won by a ladies Gaelic footballer. Huge volumes of votes are reported to be coming in from Armagh for the penalty goal scored by Cork’s Valerie Mulcahy in the ladies All-Ireland football final against Galway. The reason the Armagh fans are voting for the Mulcahy’s goal is to prevent Tyrone’s Eoin Mulligan winning the award. Mulligan’s score against Dublin in the All-Ireland semifinal is without doubt one of the best goals of the year, but fierce inter-county rivalry might prevent him winning. You can vote for your choice by logging on to: www.tg4.ie.
Having text and Web site polls to decide winners of competitions can be dangerous. A few years back the Wolfe Tones song “A Nation Once Again” was the winner of a BBC Web poll looking for the best song of all time. And Irish-born soccer player Ronnie O’Brien topped the poll for a while in Time’s Person of the Century, before being removed from the list by the magazine’s Web site.

Ever wonder what happens to jerseys and soccer memorabilia that are left outside a soccer stadium when a big name player dies? Well the family of George Best is going to donate the hundreds of jerseys, hats and scarves that were left outside the family home in East Belfast to children in South Africa. I presume somebody also collected the various scarves and hats that were thrown on to the hearse carrying Best’s coffin and they will also probably go to children in the third world. I’m sure it’s what the great man would have liked.

Ireland may not be a major power in the world of professional tennis, but we can now boast of one of the top umpires in the world. Dubliner Fergus Murphy was recently promoted to the elite group of ATP umpires. He is now one of only 23 in the world to hold the top category of Gold Badge. The 34-year-old, who abandoned his legal studies to take up umpiring, is based in Sydney for the winter months.

We are coming up to that time of year when GAA club and county teams are going to be rewarded for all that dedication to training by getting a foreign holiday. All-Ireland hurling champions Cork are heading for South Africa after Christmas, while beaten finalist are Galway have opted for a much different location, they will travel to China. Galway will head for the Orient on Dec. 28 where they will visit Beijing and Shanghai.
When they get home several of the 2005 All-Ireland finalists will have the another opportunity of another short break. The 2004 and 2005 All-Star hurling teams head for Singapore at the end of January for a holiday and exhibition game.
Looking ahead to 2006 neither Cork, the reigning All-Ireland hurling champions, or Tyrone, the current football holders, are favorites to retain their titles. Kilkenny are 13/8 favorites for the McCarthy Cup, while Kerry are 2/1 to win the Sam Maguire Cup.

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The AIB Rugby Cup is being revived this season and the first round proper will be played next Saturday and Sunday. No doubt about the tie of the round, which is the meeting of Shannon and Munster rivals Cork Constitution. Other interesting ties see junior club Cashel travel to play Galwegians and Buccaneers at home to Ballymena.
In March next year an AIB Club international team will play Scotland at Donnybrook, Dublin. This game will give our non-contract rugby club players an opportunity to win representative honors for their country. Former international Mick Galwey will manage the Irish team and Geoff Moylan and they will be assisted by Gerald McCarter.

Irish Olympic Council officials have been pleading with the government to make some concrete plans to improve our sports facilities if we are to have any hope of encouraging international athletes to use Ireland as a training base for the 2012 Olympics in London. Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, said: ‘There is a great interest in pre-Olympic camps. I’ve been asked about bringing teams here by many countries. But these kinds of camps will never happen in Ireland unless we get something like the promised sports center in Abbotstown up and running. If the government goes ahead with Abbotstown, it would lead to opportunities. Otherwise countries would be selective about coming to Ireland. They might send an equestrian team or something like that, but the rest of the teams would go somewhere else where they had the proper facilities.’
Even Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, agrees that Ireland is an ideal location for a pre-Olympic training base. Speaking at a recent European Olympic Committee meeting in Dublin, Rogge said: ‘I think Ireland is perfect. It’s has the same culture, the same language and the same climate as London.’
The government announced last week that work is expected to commence on the Sports Campus in Abbotstown next year, but will it ever be finished? I suppose we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that an election is coming up fairly soon.

Great celebrations in my hometown club Rathmore on Sunday last as they beat Kilcummin by one point in the East Kerry final. So the famous O’Donoghue Cup returns to the village on the Cork border for the first time in 21 years and for only the fourth time in its history. Kerry corner back Tom O’Sullivan was the man of the match as Rathmore beat Kilcummin, the club of GAA President Sean Kelly, by 0-8 to 0-7 in the final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

Shelbourne’s Irish international striker Jason Byrne seems set to join Swedish club Djurgardens this week. Djurgardens, who played Cork City in this season’s UEFA Cup this year, are expected to pay an Eircom League record of

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