The Sporting Diary

with Sports Editor Peter Campbell

The Sporting Diary

Dunphy’s rant

Is there any pleasing Eamon Dunphy? And why is it that the rest of the RTE soccer panel just bow to his perceived greater knowledge?

After watching last Thursday night’s game between Ireland and Georgia, if you didn’t know any better you would think that Ireland were performing at a level that was threatening to see the game of soccer becoming extinct.

Dunphy is paid to be a critic, but he needs to get some perspective. Before a ball was kicked, he was heavily critical of the team management for the team selection. He wanted to use two 34-year-olds while Martin O’Neill wants to build a team that might compete if they were to qualify for the World Cup in two years’ time.

O’Neill has been successful as a player, both at club and international level, and he has already taken Ireland to the Euros,

Dunphy wants Ireland to play like Brazil or Spain and says they have the players; and he went on to point to players like his fellow pundit, Liam Brady, who could play the ball around midfield. What he fails to say, though, is that none of those teams that played like that (with Brady, Giles, etc.) ever qualified for any championship, Euro or World Cup.

Ireland never had and, most likely, never will have enough quality players to play that sort of game at international level.

Liam Brady, to be fair, has tried to point that out on many occasions, but Dunphy seems to get the airtime to repeatedly espouse this total football which he says he wants Ireland to play.

On Thursday night we saw an old fashioned have-a-go attitude from Seamus Coleman which yielded a winning goal.

Ireland were poor in the first half on Thursday night; even Martin O’Neill admitted that. But they were much improved in the second half and got the result. With a second win away to Moldova on Sunday evening, they are right in the mix for a qualifying spot.

Thankfully, RTE had a new panel for that game and it was a breath of fresh air, with Didi Hamann and Damien Duff giving a more balanced analysis.

I wonder if qualifying for the World Cup finals will be enough to satisfy Dunphy. I doubt it.

Big day upon us

The flags are up in Kilcar and Glenswilly for Sunday’s showdown. Kilcar carry the favourites’ tag and have a team that are peaking at the right time. Glenswilly, no doubt, will have plans in place to frustrate the men from the South West, and I’m sure Kilcar will also be making plans to have plenty of men in the general area of any high ball in Michael Murphy’s direction.

Glenswilly will want to make it a dogfight; Kilcar will be looking to open it up.

There will be novenas said; fingernails will be shorter; the long range weather forecast will be checked each day. Very little will be left to chance.

And after that you can expect something unplanned for to happen. After all it is county final day.

May the best team win.