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Overtime win 29-23 January 9, 2012

Posted by yourcousin in Sport.
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I wanted to broaden the horizon of some folks who might otherwise get an opportunity to watch American football.  Who am I kidding?  I only know one Steelers fan and I already texted her to gloat.

From Killarney to Kazan November 6, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Sport.
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Today sees the last act of the Domestic Season as Shelbourne and Sligo Rovers battle it out for the FAI Cup in Lansdowne Road. Of Course Rovers still have two games left in their European adventure…
A season that started on the 1st of February with a friendly game in Kerry against Killarney Celtic ends on December 15th with a Europa League clash against Tottenham Hotspur in Tallaght. In between the club have won the Setanta Cup for the first time, the League for the seventeenth time and made history as the first Irish club to qualify for the group stages of a European Competition and all done without breaking the bank or putting the future of the club in jeopardy.
In short its been an incredible achievement.

The other night in Tallaght , my son and I saw Rovers lift the title. It was my eleven year olds second time seeing Rovers lift the title in the flesh and it was my third time seeing them lift the title (apart from winning the first division down in Cobh).

It really has been the best season ever. The first real season where going to domestic games I had an expectation, rather than a hope, that Rovers would win. That night in Belgrade will live long in the memory of every Hoop and the European adventure has brought Rovers to the attention of football fans all over the world. Indeed the largest TV audience ever for a League of Ireland team was Rovers game against Spurs where almost a million people tuned into TV3 at some stage during the match. Strangely enough it hasn’t got them flocking to Tallaght in huge numbers yet with both the Kazan and PAOK games failing to sell out.
However we are now known more at home and abroad , via live broadcasts and the highlights show of the Europa League. Another positive from all the exposure is that I’m no longer greeted with ‘Up Celtic’ when I’m wearing my Rovers shirt.

The Europa League has shown us the huge gap there is between Rovers and the clubs we are trying to compete with on a European Level. Whilst Rovers players are good, there’s a reason they are playing for Rovers and not at a much bigger club in the UK or beyond. PAOK would have average attendances around the 20,000 mark, an annual budget of €20 million or so and players worth over 20 million. Rubin Kazan backed by oil money would have an average attendance of 13,000 and an annual budget of around €30 million. Spurs budget would be multiples of that and an average attendance of over 36,000 . There would be a lot of players at some of those clubs earning far more than Rovers annual budget.
Given the club has almost disappeared before, Rovers wont be throwing mad money at players to attract them. Instead the money being made from the Europa league will be reinvested in Training facilities for both the first team and underage teams in Kiltipper. In time players will go through the Youth Academy and hopefully provide a conveyor belt to the first team and beyond. If some of the local footballing talent can be kept at home and developed rather than going to England at an early age then both the players and Rovers will profit.

There is still uncertainty about manager Michael O’Neills future but he is supposed to be signing a new contract. On the playing side Enda Stevens is off to Aston Villa in January for a decent fee and the fear is that others may follow to earn better money over in the UK. Most players would have been on part-time 42 week contracts, because of the European involvement these had to be extended. Hopefully the board managed to get some players to sign longer contracts and that the talent such as Ryan Thompson, Craig Sives, Conor McCormack and Karl Sheppard don’t get tempted away (or at least without Rovers getting a decent fee). It will be interesting to see if recent signings Jim Patterson and Rohan Ricketts hang around after the season ends.
O’Neill’s transfer policy has seen Rovers look outside the usual League of Ireland merry go round. With Rovers now known on the wider European stage it may well attract a higher calibre of player who is trying to get noticed.
To finish off the season it would be fantastic to even see Rovers get a point or three from their remaining two Europa League Games….. Gary Twigg scoring a late winner against Spurs would do me just fine 🙂

Looking to Europe …. July 12, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Sport.
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As I know the site is packed full of Shamrock Rovers well wishers 🙂 ….

Its a big night tonight as Shamrock Rovers European adventures start for another year. This time though it’s The Champions League. Our first time in the competition under its current guise. Flora Tallinn of Estonia are the opposition with kick off at 8 tonight in Tallaght.
Its our turn to dream of the Champions League Group Stages, which given the clubs recent form isn’t much of a possibility but we can still dream.
Dreams do impinge on daily life though. For instance wanting to keep a few extra days holidays just in case 🙂 which as you can imagine is highly appreciated at home. I was looking forward to the away trip and had even put money aside…. but like the best laid plans they were sabotaged by a leak in the roof.
Its hard to argue against “Do you honestly think spending 500 euro on a holiday for yourself to watch a football match is more important than the roof?”
“No but……”

Ah well, there is always the next round…..

On Thursday both Bohs and St Pats are also in action in the Europa League. Pats travel to Kazakstan for their first leg against FC Shakhter Karagandy whilst Bohs travel to Slovenia for their game against Olimpija Ljubljana.

You’ll find the match programmes for some of Rovers Previous European Encounters Here.
Opposition included Celtic, Manchester United, Honved Budapest and Linfield.

Italian Footballers to Strike November 30, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in Sport.
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Good to see a bit of industrial militancy. Even if it’s from a bunch of multi-millionaires from Serie A. Likely to have more success than the 100,000 on the streets of Dublin perhaps.

“Sports is Like a War without the Killing” June 19, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in Sport.
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Another bloodless performance from England tonight. Not so Algeria. This story might explain why.

At the insistence of their manager, England’s World Cup opponents prepared for the match against Algeria with a private screening of The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo’s harrowing 1966 film depicting scenes from their country’s war of independence.

The acceptance of dishonesty February 21, 2010

Posted by Tomboktu in Ethics, Ireland, Irish Politics, Judiciary, media, Sport.
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RTÉ’s Sunday Miscellany (on Radio 1) is listed as entertainment by the station. The worst emotion you might expect the programme to raise is nostalgic sadness for times now passed. This morning’s programme [I don’t know how long this link will last], however, contained an essay that produced in me frustration at the acceptance of dishonesty in our society.

The essay was by the John O’Donnell telling about his participation in the Irish Times’ Debate competition [as the paper dubs it] in 1979. In his essay [at the 44 min mark in the webcast], he says:

I learned just how inventive speakers could be. In the out-of-town semi-final, one team spewed out an impressive array of statistics from a survey which they claimed had been carried out by two researchers named Termin and Tyler. All the statistics supported the team’s argument on the motion that women’s liberation did not mean equality. The duo duly roared on into the final. Only later did we discover that Termin and Tyler were the names of two shoe shops our heroes had driven by as the drove through the town of Naas en route to the venue.

I am not surprised that some competitors in the debating competition would pull strokes. All competitive sports have cheats: competitors who take performance-enhancing drugs in physical sports like athletics or cycling, or somebody who assaults a wife’s competitor, as famously happened in skating. However, would a sports writer or former competitor expect to get away with describing those tactics as “inventiveness” or refer to the outcome as “duly” roaring into the final? The only way I could see it being acceptable is if it were clearly with sarcasm or irony. [As the sport discussed in the Sunday Miscellany essay is debating, I probably don’t need to tell this morning’s contributor that ‘duly’ is defined as: “adv properly; fitly; at the proper time” (The Chambers Dictionary, New Ninth Edition; 2003).]

Two things sadden and irritate me about this morning’s broadcast. The first is that nobody in RTÉ said rewording of that part of the essay would be needed to make it less accepting of the cheating. The second is the arena in which that cheating occurred and what that tells us about problems elsewhere in our society. Many of the winners of the Irish Times Debate competition go on told key roles in our institutions: in the legal system, medical establishment, in broadcasting. If participants like this morning’s essayist recount without criticism that cheating has occurred in the speeches delivered by competitors, should we be surprised that speeches made in other fora, such as the Dáil by a government minister, contain assertions that are, as Professor Karl Whelan put it recently,“well (… looking for polite term for it) not correct”?

When is a strike not a strike? November 18, 2007

Posted by franklittle in Culture, Gaelic Football, Ireland, Sport, Trade Unions.
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There are certain principles drummed into the Little family from an early age. Included among them, and devoutly and passionately held is, that regardless of whether you agree with the issue or not, or support the decision or not, there is never, ever any excuse for crossing a picket-line. Those who do so to work are scabs and those who do so to avail of the services of scabs are not much better. I’m not sure Pa Little was familiar with Jack London’s The Scab, but he would surely have agreed with the conclusion that “a scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.” Not much room for a middle ground with Mr London either.

Yet from next January I face the possibility of not merely crossing the picket-line, but applauding those others who do so if the dispute between the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), the GAA and the Government is not resolved. Members of the GPA voted earlier this month to take industrial action setting itself on a collision course with the GAA and sparking what has the potential to be an internal row within the Association that would be so divisive and bitter that we would look back with nostalgic affection for the days when we were lectured by the ‘great and the good’ about Rules 42 and 21.

The vote in favour of strike action was overwhelming. 1,881 members of the GPA were sent ballots and 1,348, or 71.6%, returned them with a Saddam like majority of over 95% in favour. Under the strike action GPA members are allowed to continue playing with their clubs and can continue to train with the county squad, but cannot play inter-country from January 1. At first glance the dispute centres over funding for inter-country players to defray the expenses incurred by playing at that level. Time away from work and family, medical and health expenses, gym memberships, extra training and so on. The Government promised a sum of 5 million Euros that would be split between the 64 inter-country senior panels with a limit of 2,800 Euros per player per annum. The deal was hammered out between the Government and the GPA directly.

The Government then decided that the GAA should pay the money out of the structural funds earmarked for the development of pitches and stadiums. The GAA, not wanting to lose money set aside for the support of the game to back a deal they were not involved in negotiating, refused and so to an impasse. Ironically, the first competitions to be affected by any strike action will be those in which the proceeds go into the GAA fund used to support injured players. GPA members have deliberately, and provocatively, adopted the language of the industrial dispute, referring to people who ‘might cross the picket line’ and players who would take up their space on the team as ‘scabs’.

Broadly speaking, few people would argue with the need to provide some sort of compensation to amateur players who are required to play and train to a professional standard. But many GAA members, including myself, are more than a little wary of this. The GAA, whether those on the left who percieve the organisation to be a bulwark of reactionary Catholic nationalism appreciate it, is the closest to a working and successful socialist organisation in Ireland that exists. Thousands of people play its games every week without compensation. Thousands more work in administrative and support roles. From the time I was under ten up to minor level I played hurling for my club. The men who trained us never got a penny out of it. Nor did the women who washed the kit, nor the lads who lined the pitch and put up the net. Nor the people who mowed the pitch, reseeded it and took care of it. Nor the people who turned up to the dull, dull, club committee meetings or who sold the raffle tickets round the town or did whatever else was necessary to keep one of the few aspects of Irish culture that is unique in this increasingly globalised world, ticking over, and thriving.

Inter-county players have accomplished something that hundreds of thousands of men and women around the country can only dream of, to put on the jersey and go out to play for your county. All of us wanted it; the overwhelming majority of us weren’t good enough or lacked the commitment. And it is a hard job playing at inter-county level, but it also has its rewards. No-one is asking the captain of the Junior team in Vincents in Dublin to pose on television with a well known sports drink. No-one offers a new car or a holiday to the captain of the U-21 camogie county champions. County players are admired in their local communities in a way that it is hard for people outside strong GAA areas to appreciate. They bring respect not only to themselves, but to their local club because there is an understanding that the athlete that is the finished article is the product of two decades of work and more by the club in training and encouraging him. The fear though is that the introduction of these grants, which as I said I would broadly support, is another part of the process of paying for play at the elite level. Of professionalising the sport, delivering a body blow to the basic ethos of the GAA and Irish cultural sporting life. So when we hear of ‘strike action’ and threats to ‘withdraw labour’ (Labour? If they see it as labour now, stand aside for the couple of dozen of young men who’d fall over themselves for every senior inter-county jersey)  we wonder is the GPA fighting for these grants, or is it part of a wider agenda. And I write as someone who was one of the few GAA members who welcomed the establishment of the GPA.

The core of this is that inter-county players are not employed. They do not receive a wage. They are voluntarily playing a sport that they love and enjoy. They do not have a job; they have an opportunity to live out the dreams of others and of themselves. The GPA is not a union, and the people who will play for their county teams if and when the strike goes ahead are not scabs. And, once hurling had been properly explained to him, I think Jack London would have agreed.

Mayo not as light as predicted… August 28, 2006

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Gaelic Football, Sport, Uncategorized.
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I wasn’t able to get a ticket to yesterday’s semi-final. On the other hand the opportunity to see it in all it’s gory detail on the television was perhaps some slight consolation. The score was a disappointment, one knows that in a parallel universe it went the other way.

But a great game, played by two great teams, one of which was clearly better on the day. Congratulations to Mayo.

I’m looking forward to the final.

We still don’t do sport round here…but some of us go to the matches August 13, 2006

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Gaelic Football, Sport, Uncategorized.
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Okay, was at the Dublin Westmeath match yesterday [see here]. And have to say it was a disappointment. Sure, the result was good for Dublin, but as the crowds left Croke Park there was an unmistakeable sense of the underwhelming.

The match started late, the stadium was frozen as a little bit of Autumn came to Dublin, and perhaps it was doubly cold for hard-pressed Westmeath fans who had little to clap about.

The first half saw some fine football, and a real sense that Dublin was in full control, but the second saw an almost shambolic melt-down enlivened only by occasional bursts of spirit and life. Neither side appeared to actually grasp where the goal was with a bizarre succession of wides. And although few would have considered Westmeath had any chance of returning in the last twenty minutes or so there was a strong impression that a different team could do so and that Dublin would be unable to counter them.

The half-hearted attempts at Mexican waves just before the second half and the usual procession of fans from both sides leaving the grounds long before the end of the match only added to a sense that all was not as it should be. And that’s a personal gripe of mine. What is with paying money for a game and then getting out as soon as humanly possible? Why not save money and time and just have someone text the result to the pub?

Uneasy anticipation would best describe where this journey leads next and much depends on the replay of the Mayo Laois game where both teams appeared more impressive than advance publicity and previous form had indicated.

Sport – we don’t do sport round here – most of the time anyway… July 16, 2006

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Ireland, Sport, Uncategorized.
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We’re not that sporty around the Cedar Lounge Revolution, as some of you may have gathered – well most of us, although mbari is I understand something of a soccer fan. smiffy has already written eloquently about the World Cup, I watched the final, but not a whole lot else the matches being on various televisions in the background where I was…

However, I had the pleasure of being at Croke Park today to watch the Dublin Offaly game in the Leinster SFC. A superb game with Dublin convincingly annihilating Offaly 1-15 to 0-09.

A leaden first half performance by Dublin (yep, I’m slightly partisan) was succeeded by a sparkling, even, – dare I say – mercurial second half with Dublin actually scoring an almost perfect goal. in fact for the first half I actually thought Offaly had the edge. For those of you interested in the details they’re [here].
The crowd invasion of the pitch from Hill 16 at the end actually occurred three or four minutes before the final whistle… leading to the brilliant PA announcement “Gardai and Stewards, Plan B, Plan B…”. Hmmm, a little late perhaps.

Whisper it quietly but after three or four years where Dublin has clearly failed to deliver this year is the first where I’ve thought they might have a convincing shot at the All-Ireland. And the portents are reasonably good, the last team to win the Leinster was Dublin eleven years ago. Who also went on to win the All-Ireland…

I’m waiting and seeing…

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