Dismal weather - dire football
What were the Kerry Gaelic football team doing last Sunday
afternoon. Maybe they were all out on a light training exercise,
honing their skills and fitness levels for the 28 September
final. A more likely scenario is that they were ensconced
somewhere more dry and cosy than Croke Park watching the second
semi-final between Offaly and Mayo.
They might even have allowed themselves a quiet smile as two
mediocre teams played out a dire game of football. If the
all-Ireland champions emerge from this second semi-final it will
be a major upset.
Offaly 0-7, Mayo 0-13
So I tipped Offaly to go all the way and yes, disappointing is
one word you could use to describe their display in Croke Park.
Abysmal would be another more realistic term. I had tipped Kerry
as likely winners last May when the championship started but
office gossip claimed that Martin Ferris was tipping Offaly so
allegiances switched (I am from Dublin) and bets were placed on
Yes, the conditions were difficult with a saturated pitch and a
continuous downpour. But that does not explain the ineptitude of
Mayo forwards who squandered 17 wides during the game. Kerry will
hammer such inconsistency.
If Mayo's performance was bad, how do you gauge Offaly's? At
times they had good possession and ran with verve and skill only
to fizzle out in front of goal. They scored seven points out of a
meagre total of 11 attempts.
All in all it was a miserable afternoon for the Leinster
champions and Mayo roll on to a second consecutive final. It
isn't pretty to watch, but no-one in the Connacht champion's camp
seems too worried.
Golf is not really what one considers a sport. Yet it holds a
fascination for millions who will watch badly dressed men stroll
through carefully coiffured lawns week in week out. Golfing focus
this month is on the Ryder cup selection process. It is a
biannual tournament where the top 24 golfers in Europe and the
USA play a series of match play games.
Whatever you think about golf, when the fate of an Irish sports
star is at stake you have to overcome your prejudice and show
support. Padraig Harrington found himself just beyond Ryder cup
qualification when he finished joint ninth in the BMW
Harrington is the 12th highest earning player in Europe this
year. However, Ryder cup selection means that only the top ten
players are automatically chosen while the team captain Seve
Ballesteros picks the final two players. It looks as though
Harrington is not on the wild card list and will not join Irish
compatriot Darren Clarke on the team. It seems a strange claim
that the top twelve European players are not actually the top
earning players. The inequality of the selection process is made
all the more apparent by the lengths Ballesteros is going to
choose the 11th player in the ranking list; fellow Spaniard
Jose-Maria Olazabal as one of the wild cards.
Celtic 1, Rangers 1
You might have thought that the Rangers-Celtic match was
cancelled last Monday as part of the over the top reaction to
Diana Windsor's death, but Celtic and Rangers reserves played out
a one all draw at Ibrox on Saturday. The reserves match attracted
the fourth highest crowd in Britain of any soccer fixture last
weekend as 33,800 people turned up.
Rangers reserves had six internationals in the squad worth £6
million but could not overcome the Celtic team with not one
player over 20. Rangers coach John McGregor summed up the match
commenting ``The young Celtic players absolutely deserved their
draw because they worked hard. Some of our players don't know the
meaning of hard work''.