SPORTSWITE: Ice Cold in Paris

Paddy Walsh

Reporter:

Paddy Walsh

So nil all in Paris then. Good result despite all the doom and gloom merchants telling us this Irish team would be skating on thin ice when it came up against their French hosts.

So nil all in Paris then. Good result despite all the doom and gloom merchants telling us this Irish team would be skating on thin ice when it came up against their French hosts.

Like many others I switched on the T.V. to watch the ‘live’ coverage of the Six Nations encounter on Saturday evening.

Talk about a freeze frame. The word ‘farce’ has been bandied about regularly in recent days and with good reason.

Blame has been duly apportioned but the tournament organisers knew, like every chien in the street, that the weather predictions weren’t good and yet there never appeared to be the hint of a suggestion that they reschedule the game for an afternoon kick-off instead of 9 o’clock at night when temperatures would be dropping like a lock in a line-out.

And now, despite being party to this astonishing miscalculation in terms of organisation, the French have both demanded a March 4th rescheduling and been given it despite Irish opposition to the date. Not that it’s likely too many will be travelling from here given the money that has already been spent for last weekend’s non-event but the Sunday kick-off will surely mean the lowest ever visiting Irish support for an away Six Nations match.

French clubs actually wanted it refixed for early June - possibly in the knowledge that the pitch should be safely defrosted by then.

Ireland are meanwhile in negotiations with the Belfast Giants ice-hockey club to host next year’s fixture against France...

Donegal game; Cassidy takes to the pitch

Had I managed to prise myself from the old armchair at one end of Letterkenny and got the length I might have managed to watch Donegal in action in their O’Donnell Park clash with Laois.

As it was, I still managed to see them ‘live’ - courtesy of TG4’s coverage. Disappointing performance it must be said, hardly glossed over by the two goals that brought them to within touching distance of a lively Laois team. Disappointing, too, to see in the background, prior to those two goals hitting the net, trickles of spectactors heading off into the evening though they might argue that at least they turned up in the first place.

But you see it frequently on cross channel televised matches - fans, or whatever they call themselves, drifting away long before the final whistle with their team trailing and all hope lost. Can’t say it’s a part of the game that heaps any credit on them. You either follow your team or you don’t. Anything outside that is fair weather territory.

One man who did feature during Sunday’s televised game was Kevin Cassidy and we might never have thought in view of his recent comments that we’d be saying that. Of course, he was only doing some punditry work for TG4 but there was an interesting moment when Micheal O Domhnaill was interviewing Jim McGuinness post match and the suited Cassidy was standing a matter of a few feet away staring at his own - feet that is.

After being pressed on a few occasions on the issue of the Gweedore man’s comments days before, Jim, not surprisingly, decided enough was enough and took his leave from the interview spot. But if performances continue as they are, it might not be fanciful to suggest that Cassidy will be out of the suit and back in Donegal colours before too long.

Legends

The Match of the Day panel were waxing lyrical about Thierry Henry after he netted a late winner for the Gunners against Sunderland. Legend. Outstanding footballer. A credit to Arsenal and the Premiership. Etc. Etc.

Funny, any time the English media, broadcasting or otherwise, give a mention to one Diego Maradona, THAT goal is always raised followed quickly by the word ‘cheat’.

Mons. Henry’s infamous effort against Ireland was equally blatant but it seems he’s on a different planet where legends are concerned.

Loan Rangers

As if the Scottish Premier League wasn’t already the most predictable annual two horse race on the footballing planet, now comes the news that Rangers have been deducted ten points after entering administration leaving them fourteen points behind their sole title rivals from across Glasgow.

Race over. Should be a thrilling run-in. Yawn.

European success

Meant to mention this last week. A recent winner of 300 euro in the Finn Harps 500 club draw was none other than M.E.P. Jim Higgins.

Could this be put down as Harps first ever win in Europe?