THE SPORTING DIARY: A new chairman for Donegal GAA - Mick McGrath

SPORTS COLUMN

THE SPORTING DIARY: A new chairman for Donegal GAA - Mick McGrath

New chairman for county

As expected the Donegal GAA Convention was something of a damp squib at the weekend with proceedings lasting just two hours - some change from the all-day event that it used to be.

Mick McGrath’s elevation to the chair was seamless and he will have his work cut out. Heading up any county board at present is a time-consuming and tricky task. Sean Dunnion walks away after putting five years of his life into the Association. His final address to Convention was an emotional one and his comments about respect were well made. One of the lasting memories of the Four Masters’ man’s tenure was the respect he showed to everyone. Even at times when he didn’t agree with comments made by the press, he was respectful in the way he approached us.

Sean Dunnion put a lot of effort into getting the Training Centre at Convoy completed. Now that the building work is close to starting, we can only look forward and hope that it will be completed and fully in use before Mick McGrath’s tenure ends.

The first official function for McGrath came on Monday when the new Donegal jersey was launched with the Abbey Hotel back as a sponsor along with KN group. The new jersey looks good and hopefully it will herald more success at all levels for Donegal teams in 2018.

Boxing in Finner

While the GAA Convention was taking place on Friday night in Ballybofey, there was a great night of boxing at Finner Camp, which hosted a fight night for the first time since 1985.

It was some time since I attended a night of boxing and it proved to be a very enjoyable occasion. It seemed to run off seamlessly, but there was obviously a lot of work done behind the scenes. Between MC Peter O’Donnell and the long list of referees and judges, the event was perfectly choreographed, each knowing their role perfectly.

Like most boxing events, I would not have agreed with all the verdicts, but that is the nature of the sport - it is decided by the judges - and their decisions are accepted.

A number of names were involved that I would have encountered on Gaelic football pitches - young Barry O’Hagan of Raphoe Boxing Club, son of former Armagh footballer of the same name, who played with Naomh Colmcille a few years ago.

Peter McDyre of St. Naul’s; Eoghan Wright with MacCumhaill’s (a first cousin of Jason Quigley); Eddie Lynch, Aodh Ruadh, a member of the All-Ireland winning U-21 hurling team this year.

The local boxing fraternity was also well represented with John Hanna from Donegal town and Paddy Doherty, Ballyshannon. Kevin Lyons, not that well known in said boxing fraternity, was also there to cheer on Pte Frank Carr, making his debut in the ring.

Overall, it was a great night’s entertainment. Thanks are due to the chief organiser C/Sgt Liam Owens, who had many roles, including corner man for the 28th Infantry Battalion team.

Klopp on

Should there be a ban on managers being interviewed immediately after football matches? If there was it would have saved Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp looking like a fool on Sunday last.

He was after seeing his team annihilate local rivals, Everton, 1-1, and couldn’t contain himself about the awarding of a penalty which deprived his side all three league points.

His contention that if a team controls a game for 95 minutes, then they don’t deserve a penalty to be awarded against them, made him look rather foolish. And by Tuesday evening he was standing over the comments!

It seems to be the thing to do now when a result doesn’t go your way. Blame has to be apportioned elsewhere, with the referee always the easy target.

Maybe the Liverpool boss (and other managers) should look within. Starting your strongest team for a local derby would be a good starting point! And finding a defender who can defend in the January transfer window might also be worth considering!

As for giving interviews after games, there may be a lesson for all managers in all sports. Might be better to take a deep breath before saying anything.