Like most I viewed the second test between Ireland and Australia, not because I like the game but just to see whether the Aussies would come out of there shell and give the Irish a game of it. Would it be a better spectacle than that of the first test in Cavan?
It wasn’t. It was over before it started. If there here people from either code who wanted to keep the series alive it was certainly on life support after the Croke Park showing.
The Aussie players looked totally out of their depth while many of the Irish lads looked as if they could have stepped it up another gear or two if it was needed.
Rumours of the Australian players enjoying the night life that Ireland has to offer and that many of the players that travelled to play in the series had not been involved in playing Australian rules football for a number of years, would certainly account for their overall performance.
While I would have no problem with the series being done away with for good, many of the players that get the chance to play the game and travel Down Under are totally committed to the competition but I would suggest that if the series is to have a future the idea that the A.F.L. can send over a half-rate outfit who have no interest in competing is an insult not only to the Irish players but also for the supporters who went to watch both games.
We had county boards under pressure to rearrange fixtures around the series; we had people from all around the country calling for county finals to be called off because of the status of this series yet the Aussies were on the beer.
Have the poor club players not suffered enough at the hands of the fixtures committees without this sort of carry on. I have no doubt that the Irish players are delighted and proud to get the chance to play for their country and rightly so, but it can’t be made a joke off.
If the G.A.A and the A.F.L. are serious about the series then I suggest they have to take a number of steps. First of all the GAA need to tidy up how long it takes to run off the All-Ireland championship and set aside two dates for the series, one on a Wednesday evening and the other on a Saturday evening thus only taking up one weekend in the calendar.
They should also consider one test with the round ball the other with the oval ball so neither side can use the excuse of the shape of the ball being the factor for losing the series.
They need to draw up fewer rules as not to stop the ebb and flow of the game and they need to let a bit of the physical nature of both games go and if there is a row so be it. Suspend those who step over the line and move on.
During the week Colm Begley, the Laois player, suggested that too much of the physical nature of the game had disappeared and that is why the interest in the series has dropped. Well he could be right but what does that say of the watching public?
Does it take a bit of fisticuffs to get us interested? Whether or not the series continues will come down to officials from both codes agreeing on how to go forward from here.
I have no doubt that the Irish players would love for the game to continue as they get little enough out of the game and for the best players this is a great junket but as a spectacle it has to improve and both codes have to commit if it is to have a future.
Ferguson in the news
Alex Ferguson has always been a larger that life sort of character. I never liked him, not because he was manager of Manchester United, but because he had a manner that did not endear many people to him. Since his retirement from his post he put his memories in a book that true to his nature upset a lot of people. He has had a go at many of his ex players and at other managers that he has crossed paths over the years but it’s his criticism of Roy Keane, while not surprising, caught my attention.
I know people will put all sorts of stuff into books just to generate sales but surely Ferguson could not be short of a pound.
Keane was the reason United were the force they were; he was Ferguson’s enforcer on the field and there was nothing the Cork man would not have done for Manchester United.
Ferguson has a right to say what he wants but there are some things that should not be said; there is a line that should not be crossed. Ferguson crushed Keane in his criticism and I have no doubt will have harmed his future job prospects - a nice return for giving your all for a man that demanded loyalty above everything else. This happened in a time when soccer players are chastised for kissing the crest on their jerseys one week and looking for a transfer the next week.
Congratulations to Jason Quigley on taking home a silver from the World Amateur Boxing Championships. He is a credit considering the lack of funding for sports not alone in Ireland but especially in Donegal.
What Jason has achieved is immense. I know maybe he might be disappointed in not going the whole way and taking back gold; he is certainly a world champion in the eyes of Donegal people everywhere.