Monday morning blues as Trap tries to figure out injury crisis

8 Oct

Published by, 8 October 2012

IN HIS FOUR years as Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has certainly had easier starts to an international break.

A nightmare weekend of Premier League injuries saw the Italian arrive in Malahide on Monday morning for the first day of training armed with a growing list of knocks, niggles and doubts.

By the afternoon it had become clear that James McClean would remain in Sunderland for treatment on a hip flexor strain which rules him out of Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against Germany, while Trapattoni indicated that hamstring victims Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan will need a minor miracle if they are to be ready for the trip to the Faroe Islands four days later.


It was 30 years ago today… Seamus Darby’s goal denies Kerry an historic fifth All-Ireland on the trot

19 Sep

Published by, 19 September 2012

THE 1982 ALL-IRELAND football final has come to be regarded as one of the best ever, as Eugene McGee’s Offaly became the only obstacle between the great Kerry footballing dynasty and an unprecedented fifth successive title.

Offaly were no minnows, nor were they likely to suffer from stagefright. They had been here before 12 months previously, falling to the Kerry sword in a 1-12 to 0-08 loss.

If sides learn a lot in victory, they unquestionably learn more in defeat, both about themselves and about their opponents. As the 1982 final entered its second half, however, it appeared that any lessons which Offaly had taken from the previous year would ultimately count for naught. [...]

College can wait as McBrearty prepares for ultimate examination

18 Sep

Published by, 18 September 2012

THERE WILL BE no shortage of Dax Wax and Brylcreem on display in NUI Maynooth this week — it is Freshers’ Week after all — but one man who will be steering well clear of the assorted hair gunk, late night revelry and hungover mornings is Donegal star Paddy McBrearty.

When all is said and done and Sam Maguire goes home for the winter to the hills of Donegal or out west wrapped in the green and red of Mayo, 19-year-old McBrearty will get a taste of college living as he belatedly knuckles down to begin his Arts degree in geography and history.

It is said that the college days are the best of your life, but standing on the brink of Sunday’s All-Ireland football final, the Kilcar teen has plenty of reason to disagree. Ambitious and driven, he was a rare youngster for whom partying always came a distant second.


Murphy focused on the one that keeps getting away

14 Sep

Published by, 14 September 2012

FOR A PLAYER who has won multiple league medals, league cup medals — even a Setanta Sports Cup medal — there is one important blank on Anto Murphy’s career CV: he has never won the FAI Cup.

Not that the Dubliner hasn’t come close. In the summer of 2008, Pat Fenlon brought him home from Sligo to strengthen a Bohemians squad that was challenging for both league and cup. Bohs did the double that year; Murphy, however, was cup-tied.

When it seemed his chance might finally come with St Patrick’s Athletic last season, Shelbourne spoiled the party, upsetting the Saints in a semi-final replay.


Report: Canning holds his nerve to force All-Ireland replay

9 Sep

Published by, 9 September 2012

Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13

ON HIS FIRST appearance at the big dance Joe Canning was the coolest man in Croke Park, pointing a free deep into stoppage time as Galway and Kilkenny played out a frantic draw in the All-Ireland SHC final.

It was a moment of redemption for the Portumna ace who missed a straightforward free to level the match late on, leaving Kilkenny on the brink of sixth title in seven seasons after Henry Shefflin nudged them in front with a pointed penalty in the 68th minute.


Family matters as McHugh draws on dad’s finest hour

23 Aug

Published by, 23 August 2012

IT CAN’T BE easy growing up in the shadow of your county’s greatest footballer but Mark McHugh knows that he has reaped the benefits of being his father’s son.

Small in stature, 20 seasons ago “Wee” Martin McHugh was a footballing colossus, terrorising defences from the half-forward line as Donegal bid to bring Sam back to Tír Chonaill for the first time.

An All-Star and Player of the Year recognition came part and parcel with McHugh Sr’s deserved All-Ireland medal, a fitting crescendo to a brilliant career nearing its final act.

Now for the second time in his young career, 21-year-old Mark is just two games away from matching his dad’s crowning achievement.


‘He’s still our wee brother’: Conlan family welcome their bronze medal hero home

13 Aug

Published by, 13 August 2012

IRELAND’S BABY-FACED bronze medallist won’t stop until he’s at the top, the family of Belfast boxer Michael Conlan said as they welcomed their hero home on Monday afternoon.

One of the youngest members of the Irish squad, 20-year-old Conlan punched his way into the national spotlight by winning flyweight bronze before losing to eventual champion Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana in the Olympic semi-finals.

His father and coach John said that he was “over the moon” with Michael’s achievement while older brother Jamie, himself a professional boxer, joked: “He’s still our wee brother so we can still beat him up.”


A nation holds its breath again as Katie strides towards gold

8 Aug

Published by, 8 August 2012

IT HAPPENED SHORTLY after two o’clock. Ireland ground to a halt and again watched as one. In offices and in pubs, in shopping centres and on street corners.

The slow road into an afternoon filled with history could hardly have been further removed from the action on the ExCeL Arena canvas. A nation stood still, bursting with pride, but it was speed and agility that won the day in London.


Brady: ‘The culture of football in this country is wrong’

31 Jul

Published by, 31 July 2012

AMID THE LATEST spate of Abbotstown cost-cutting, Liam Brady has called on FAI bosses to find a man who can inspire a rethink of the country’s footballing culture from schoolboy level up.

High performance director Wim Koevermans, technical director Packie Bonner and football support services manager Eoin Hand have all left the Association as part of an effort to merge roles and drive down the wage bill.

At this month’s AGM, chief executive John Delaney said that the process of finding a replacement for Koevermans was ongoing following his departure to take over as coach of the Indian national team.

The Dutchman’s successor will focus on coach education and the emerging talent programme, Delaney said, and Brady feels that Ireland’s schoolboy system should be the first target for an overhaul.


Nothing else matters for Natalya

24 Jun

Published by, 24 June 2012

ASK NATALYA COYLE about the personal sacrifices, the early training sessions on wet winter mornings, the feeling that she’s living her life out of a travel bag in hotel rooms, and each answer invariably begins with the same response. A shrug of the shoulders and five words that make it all worthwhile.

“I’m going to the Olympics.”

Coyle is no ordinary 21-year-old. While her Trinity College classmates stressed over the results of their first-year BESS exams, the Tara native was waiting for a different type of call.

On 16 June, two agonising weeks later than expected, it finally came. She became the first Irish athlete to qualify in modern pentathlon — a multi-discipline event which combines fencing, swimming, riding, running and shooting — and the country’s first representative since Moscow 1980.