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Blame Neil Gallagher for Donegal Club Championship draw

THE SPORTING DIARY with Sports Ed Peter Campbell

Blame Neil Gallagher for Donegal Club Championship draw

Blame Neil Gallagher

If anyone in Kilcar wants to apportion blame for the draw for the Senior Championship then they should look no further than Neil Gallagher. Neil and Frankie Doherty were the men pulling the balls for the draw on Saturday last which saw Kilcar and Glenswilly drawn for the third time in as many draws.

In next year’s draw, it might make sense to just put the pair of them in the same group to make the draw more time efficient.

Not that last Saturday’s draw wasn’t efficient. Hats off to Damien O Donaill and the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta crew for getting through five draws in double quick time with great clarity.

Kilcar, Gaoth Dobhair, Glenswilly and Ardara came out in Group C and it was almost the ultimate group of death as there were only two teams left in the hat for the final team in Groups C and D - Ardara and Naomh Conaill. Without disrespecting Ardara, imagine how difficult Group C would have been if Naomh Conaill had been included.

Neil Gallagher would have surely have got the Lord’s Prayer then!

Looking coldly at the draw, Kilcar have the advantage of having both Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly in Towney.

It is just a pity that the championship is being drawn out with the first round games at the beginning of May and the other two games in August or September. That decision was made at Co. Committee with junior clubs, who have no involvement, having a vote. If the decision had been left to the senior and intermediate clubs the championship would have been put off until August/September so that the three rounds could be played in close proximity, probably in three successive weeks. Imagine the interest that would be generated in that scenario!

Rugby madness

Manus Boyle, in his column elsewhere in this issue, puts the spotlight on concussion in the game of rugby and whether or not it is being policed as it should.

Just looking at the game, at club and international level, it is becoming a cruel sport. Maybe it was always thus, but back in the day it was played at a pretty pedestrian level. Nowadays, it seems it’s all about bashing into each other at speed. The attrition level seems to increase year on year and influential players are being targeted.

Jonathan Sexton hasn’t finished a full game in a long time. And now Ireland’s other influential player, Conor Murray, is in the firing line. He finds himself being a target because he can control games. On Friday last, away to Wales, Murray picked up an arm injury which clearly curtailed his ability to pass the ball. The Irish medical team and management must be criticised for allowing the scrum half to remain on the field. They even sent him out again for the second half before he had to be withdrawn.

While he is so important to the Irish set up, it was clear that he was not able to perform his primary duty, passing the ball.

While Murray’s injury last weekend may have been accidental, the injuries being picked up by rugby players is something that the sport is going to have to deal with, if they are to retain their place in the order of things.

Rugby is a very popular spectator sport, but one wonders if the participation levels will continue if the attrition rate continues to rise!

Mané’s the man

Thanks to Champion Travel, I was a guest of Liverpool FC at Anfield on Sunday last for the Premiership clash with Burnley. It wasn’t a game to write home about. It seems that Liverpool only come out to play when they have a top six team as opposition.

On Sunday they were lucky to be on terms at the break with the back four looking extremely dodgy, unable to head the ball clear on most occasions. They improved a little in the second half, but they only had only outlet for attack, Sadio Mané. If you took the Senagalese forward out of the Liverpool team, then they might be close to the relegation battle - a bit like N’golo Kante and Leicester City winning the Premiership last year.

No team lineout

When I mentioned last week that it would be better not to release a team at all rather than managements releasing fake teams, I didn’t mean it to be taken to the extreme.

But it seems that was the case in Irvinestown on Saturday when the Donegal U-17 management refused to give the local press the starting team. I’m led to believe the motivation behind the move was not to divulge information to future opponents. It is bringing paranoia to a new level and there is an onus on the officers of Donegal GAA to step in. The players deserve the recognition of having their games reported while supporters also deserve better.