A massive brawl between Armagh and Cavan players broke out prior to their game at Armagh last Sunday. As the teams lined up behind the band for the parade, a massive punch up developed.
The home team usually has the inside position next to the crowd but apparently their flag was in the wrong position on the outside. Surely this shouldn’t be enough for such a terrible spectacle to occur.
The two teams would have been fired up for their championship clash no more so that the home team Armagh. Donegal had an unpleasant experience in the same venue this season in the National League. As the two teams entered the tunnel at the half time interval there were a few verbals between the players and next thing a few punches were exchanged, initiated by an Armagh player I have to add.
I cannot say that Armagh were the antagonists last Sunday as a full investigation is underway. It was a poor advertisement for Ulster football and the game in general. GAA games are family events and this was the wrong message to send out to any supporter namely the youngsters who witnessed this fight.
Armagh won the game and will go on to face Monaghan or Tyrone in the Ulster semi final. It would be difficult to see Armagh beating either of these two teams. There hasn’t been any upsets to date in the championship. Roscommon came close when they should have beaten Mayo in the Connaught semi-final last Sunday. Mayo struggled to impress and can count themselves fortunate to have won this game. They should improve as the championship progresses.
Still, I don’t think any team will fear them when the real championship business takes place. Dublin had a comfortable victory over Laois in Croke Park with the former never really getting out of second gear. Although the teams had an even first half it was only a matter of time before Dublin took control and eventually ran out easy winners.
The championship may have to take some what of a back seat for the next month as the soccer World Cup begins in Brazil. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and also huge business.
Billions of dollars have been spent by Brazil in preparation for staging this global event. The country has been beleaguered by strikes and rioting since the World Cup was awarded to the South American country. The people are looking for better living conditions, better education and a proper health care system. Brazil ranks 49.3 in the Gini coefficient index (the Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation’s residents), with the richest 10% of Brazilians receiving 42.7% of the nation’s income, while the poorest 34% receive less than 1.2%. (National Household Survey, Brazil).
Brazil has serious problems with crime. With roughly 23.8 homicides per 100,000 residents, muggings, robberies, kidnappings and gang violence are common. The level of poverty in Brazil is well above the norm for a middle-income country. The participation of children in the labour force in Brazil is at least twice as high as in any other country in Latin America.
For the next month, all eyes will be on Brazil as it hosts the World Cup in a competition that is expected to pull in more than six million tourists and generate estimated revenue of around £2.7 billion. Child exploitation in the sex trade is rife and those who are benefitting from such vile activity are gearing up for those tourists.
The country also has enduring racial inequalities. If there is a positive aspect to the country hosting the World Cup it is that their issues are being highlighted worldwide. This is the hidden face of Brazil which their government nor FIFA don’t want us to see.
The first World Cup that I saw took place in Mexico in 1970 which Brazil won. I watched on black and white television. It took nothing away from the wonderful spectacle that it was. This time I’m not too interested but I will watch some of it. I think that Argentina will win it but I hope Honduras give it a good lash!
More importantly Tyrone and Monaghan square up to each in the Ulster championship this Sunday. This should be a tasty encounter. Monaghan will surely fancy their chances after winning the Division 2 National League title recently. I believe that this will probably count for little when Tyrone gets a hold of them. Tyrone has already had two championship games under their belt while Monaghan have yet to start. I believe Tyrone will have the measure of Monaghan and will go on to beat Armagh in the Ulster semi-final. If we beat Antrim, we could be facing a great battle with our neighbours in the final.
Keep the faith!