READ THE REID: A wonderful ambassador for sport

London Marathon success for Eliud Kipchoge

Donal Reid

Reporter:

Donal Reid

READ THE REID: A wonderful ambassador for sport

Supporters at Dungloe v Kilcar on Sunday last.

Eliud Kipchoge rises just before 5a.m. each day. The sun has yet to rise over the dusty, ochre-red roads of Kaptagat, a village in the Kenyan Rift Valley.

Kipchoge is joined by a dozen others as they set out on their first training run of the day. He consumes milk from cows that roam the fields near his camp and his meals centre around rice or the Kenyan staple of ugali, with an occasional helping of beef.

When Kipchoge returns to camp each morning, he showers and eats before surveying what chores he’s due to complete that day. Sometimes it will be chopping vegetables for the communal dinner or even cleaning the toilets.

It’s hard to believe that this 33-year-old Kenyan is the best marathon runner in the world. Kipchoge won the London marathon for a third time last Sunday.

As a child, Kipchoge could never have foreseen the success that awaited, but he was unwittingly honing his talent from an early age, running two miles to school each day.

Coming from a farming background, he had no aversion to hard work, and often made the long cycle to Kapsabet as a kid, hauling several gallons of his family’s milk to the town market. He has a litany of athletics achievements, too many to detail here.

I believe that this modest Kenyan athlete is a tremendous ambassador for sport. He has often said that he wants to be an ambassador for young people and the discipline of athletics. He ison his way to achieving his ambitions.

Closer to home, the GAA is to write to all 32 county secretaries across the country, informing them that the organisation should have no involvement in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

I understand that they are incensed with an event called ‘GAA Athletes for a No Vote’ held at Ballyfermot GAA last weekend involving a group of GAA members, including Antrim footballer Patrick Gallagher, former Meath player Joe Sheridan, Tyrone senior football manager Mickey Harte, Derry camogie player Aoife Cassidy and Galway player Anne Marie McDonagh.

The GAA said they do “not take a position, or comment in any way, on either elections or referenda.”

The GAA did say that its members may take whatever stance they like. Indeed, we will, since this referendum is like no other. It is a matter of life or death. Every child should be given the chance of dreaming to play for his or her club and county.

As the country’s inter-county footballers are preparing for the forthcoming championship, there’s currently little action except for club fixtures.

While the GAA aren’t happy with some of its members at this time, the CPA (Club Players Association) aren’t happy with the GAA.

A recent survey of approximately 4000 of its members has identified that 58% of club players have not received a master’s fixtures list for 2018.

The CPA Chairman, Micheál Briody said “We are releasing the latest survey results in their entirety in the interests of transparency before we engage with the new Director General and his team.

“We will also publish them on our website and through social media so anyone that wants to can view them.”

Briody added, “The responses show that as an Association we are still failing to provide the most basic requirements for our members: a programme of regular meaningful games.”

I totally concur with the CPA. The GAA is faced with a major issue here. For them, club football and club players as a unit is a dead economic duck. Yet, where are the elite inter-county players nurtured and matured?

GAA clubs are the heartbeat of the GAA where youngsters and adults alike immerse themselves in the Association’s values, traditions and culture. The GAA realises though as a corporate entity, money can only really be generated through inter-county football.

Of course, the clubs must pay their obligatory fees to Croke Park but that’s where it ends. County boards are constantly fundraising to feed the inter-county bear that requires vast financial food to enable their teams to compete at a respectable level nowadays.

One cannot blame inter-county managers for wanting to have their players rested for inter-county games either. Many clubs depend on these players and are not willing to play games without them.

This too is a very understandable position. This story won’t go away any time soon. If anything, the issue will only intensify.

Donegal will taper off shortly as the clash against Cavan soon approaches. The Provincial Football Championships will begin on May 6th with two matches in the Connacht Championship as Leitrim play New York and Sligo play London.

Donegal will take on the Breffni men a week later, May 13th. Cavan seem to have gotten their act together this season having lost by only four points to Roscommon in the Division 2 League Final at the beginning of the month.

Former Tyrone player Mattie McGlennan has been at the helm with Cavan for two seasons now and will be confident of causing an upset. Declan Bonner will have other plans though.

I hope that the coming weeks and months will prove fruitful for Donegal. A new beginning awaits.