Category: Archive

UEFA penalty OK with Irish

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — The unlikely scenario of the Republic of Ireland losing three points by default following the postponement of the European Championship soccer game against Yugoslavia in Dublin was removed last week. Instead, the FAI were fined approximately $35,000 as a result of the Irish government’s refusal to grant the Yugoslavs travel visas.

European soccer’s organizing body, UEFA, stuck to its view that politics should not intrude on sport in imposing the fine, but the FAI was clearly happy with the verdict. "We have to be happy with the decision given the sanctions that might have been imposed," said FAI president, Pat Quigley.

Although a date for the rematch has yet to be confirmed, Sept. 1 is

believed to be the likely date. If that is confirmed, the Irish will have a demanding program of three games in eight dates as the games against Croatia on Sept.r 5 and Malta on Sept. 8 are already fixed.

After announcing that he, along with other members of the Irish goverment, would boycott the postponed game, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had "no problem" attending the rescheduled match. "It was the correct decision for us to make at the time and I’m now happy that Mick McCarthy and his players will have the opportunity of winning the game in Dublin," Ahern added.

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Cyclists suspended

Two Irish cyclists have been suspended for three months each after failing drugs tests. Michael Fitzgerald tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine following last month’s Prutour in Britain, while Simon Coughlan was found to have pseudoephedrine above the allowed level after the Tour of Ulster last May.

Fitzgerald said he had taken a herbal product for a number of years and all his previous tests had been negative. Coughlan said he took a cough mixture for a cold.

Michelle keeps medals

Michelle Smith de Bruin will keep the four European championship medals she won in Seville, Spain in 1997. According to international rules, competitors can be stripped of their medals if they fail a drugs test within six months of a championship victory, but De Bruin will not be asked to hand back her two gold and two silver medals.

This is because the swimmer was banned for tampering with a sample and not for testing positive. Her four-year ban was recently upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. No decision has yet been taken by Swim Ireland concerning the 32 Irish records held by De Bruin.

Ruggers finish strong

Ireland finished their tour of Australia on a positive note when they were narrowly defeated by one of the favorites for the World Cup. Australia ran out winners by 32-26 in the second test in Perth, but the Irish were able to take heart from what was their best performance under coach Warren Gatland.

Ahead by 14-9 early in the second half, the tourists looked to be heading for one of the shock results of the decade when the Aussies finally got their act together to score 23 points in quick succession. However, Ireland came back strongly in the closing stages with tries by Justin Bishop and Kevin Maggs.

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