PADDY WALSH ON WEDNESDAY: FLOODS, STUBBORN STUDENTS, ULSTER KNOCK-OUTS AND ENGLISH-MEN!

first_imgDONEGAL SET TO STAGE A KNOCK-OUT IN ROUND FOURMichael MurphyDing-a-ling a-ling. Round Four. And the one guarantee is there’s going to be a knock-out in this one and the one sprawled out on the canvas will be heading home and no climbing back into the ring again this year.Donegal or Galway? A couple of months ago you would have confidently put your bottom dollar on Rory Gallagher’s men to overcome the Tribesman. But they’ve already tasted Ulster blood this year in the form of Derry and Armagh and won’t mind piling more misery on the Province.In Kevin Walsh – no relation but I’ll uncover one if Galway go on to win the All-Ireland – they have an emerging manager who has helped transform the county from basic also-rans to proper contenders.And yet, I don’t get a sense of real fear coming out of Donegal. Not over confidence but a measured approach that suggests they’ll be well up for it and won’t be sweating buckets in the dressing-room beforehand. The fact that it’s a C roke Park dressing-room won’t make any difference to this Donegal team who’ve been there before and worn the jersey, much more so than their opponents in recent times.The thrill of lining-out at G.A.A. headquarters is gradually being eroded with every passing year given that it was once the preserve of semi-finalists and finalists and is now open to the Round Four back door qualifiers which, I believe, is not particularly good for the game or the Championship but that’s a story for another day.Yes, Donegal will be without one of the most inflential players of his generation, Karl Lacey, and that does represent a bit of a blow to the solar plexus. And, yes too, they haven’t quite lit up this Championship series as yet in the manner we know they can.I still don’t believe they have the winning of the All-Ireland in them this year but they surely should have the beating of Galway particularly if they can start deploying Michael Murphy where he’s most effective – right up in the full forward position which can damage even the most hardy of defensive formations.Mayo await the winners in the quarter-finals – an added motivation for the Galwaymen who owe their Connacht rivals a beating or two. But they’ll have to wait for next year’s Championship to get that opportunity even if they’ll look back to 2001 when they became the first team to win an All-Ireland having come through the back door to get there.YOUTH HITTING THE HEIGHTS – AND THE LENGTHS The eyes and ears will be carefully focusing on far-off Tiblisi tomorrow, Thursday, but whatever the outcome from the Youth Olympics, our local athletes have already done us proud.Arlene Crossan – through to the Final of the Long Jump with a leap of 5.98.Sommer Lecky – through to the Final of the High Jump having achieved a jump of 1.72 m.Aaron McGlynn – through to the Final of the 800 metres, having coming home second in his heat in a time of 1:57:77.Little wonder Finn Valley A.C. hold the title of best club in Ireland.Cork athlete, Ciara Neville, has already claimed a gold medal for her country in the 100 metres at the event. Can the F.V. trio follow suit? It shouldn’t surprise any of us if they do.ULSTER SAYS YES! So how to beat Monaghan in an Ulster Final? How indeed? Ah yes, send the ladies out to do it.A couple of weeks after Rory Gallagher’s men saw their title wrestled from them, Davy McLaughlin had better joy – you couldn’t say luck because this was far from fortunate – when his charges created their own piece of Provincial history in the decider at Clones on Sunday.It may have been tight in the early stages but with Donegal heading in out of the rain at the half-way stage holding a three point advantage, it was put up to Monaghan to claw their way back into proceedings. And they found their opponents in no mood to surrender their lead or their grip on that coveted title.Once again, Geraldine McLaughlin wrote her way into the headlines, scoring 2-7 of her side’s total of 2-12 in typically deadly fashion.Coincidentally, the sports supplement of Monday’s ‘Irish Times’ carried a full-page feature on women’s football highlighting just some of the stand-out players in the game at present. No mention of the Termon woman who, earlier in the year, had helped inspire her club side to an All-Ireland title but it surely can’t be long before the national media start taking note of this remarkable sportswoman.As far as our county team is concerned, that talent isn’t just confined to the lively McLaughlin. Naomh Conaill star, Aoife McDonnell was named player of the match on Sunday after an inspirational performer but every single member of this team and additional squad deserve credit for the manner in which they disposed of favourites, Monaghan.It’s a pity the game didn’t get the television coverage it deserved but to be fair to TG4, who have done a great job in promoting the women’s game in recent years, they were committed to the Tour de France and certainly couldn’t have afforded to miss the closing stages of the event on Sunday afternoon.I didn’t make it along to the Final in Clones and instead listened to Oisin Kelly go close to occasions to leaping out of my radio into the kitchen so excited was the Highland Radio commentator as the match wound its way to full-time.FLOOD OF CONGRATULATIONSSuccess also at the weekend for Donegal’s under-21 hurlers who edged out neighbours Tyrone to claim All-Ireland glory in the C Final at Celtic Park.Paddy Flood’s team won by a goal that came courtesy of the influential Eddie Lynch late on. Not exactly a thing of beauty – that’s the goal, not Eddie! – but nevertheless a thrilling way to help win your team a title.Manager Flood reckons quite a few of his charges will be challenging for places in the county’s senior team and who can argue.HARPS MUST NOT CONFUSE PASSION WITH INDISCIPLINEStudents. Just when you expect them to be out demonstrating on grant cuts and following that up with a couple of bevys in somewhere like the Cottage Bar on Letterkenny’s Main Street (where those of us who once occupied lecture hall space in the old Regional Technical College used to congregate of an afternoon), they go and take up football and prove pretty useful at it.Not that the students of University College Dublin might have counted the Cottage as among their pinting dens but they sure know how to play the beautiful game even so far as getting through the first round of the Europa League this season.We thought the second round second leg tie last Thursday might have taken the sting out of them but, no, there they were battling for all they were worth and proving a class above Finn Harps if only on the scoreboard.On Highland Radio on the day prior to the game at the Belfield Bowl, Ollie Horgan had warned of the influence of Robbie Benson and how he could change a game. And change it he did, around the time Packie Mailey had been forced to depart from the action with an injury, Benson rifling the ball past Ciaran Gallagher midway through the second half to ultimately seal the deal.It wasn’t enough to dislodge Harps from the top spot but it allowed U.C.D. back into a race they had been edging out of, albeit with matches in hand due to their European commitments, and will also have relieved Wexford Youths who threw away the opportunity of leap-frogging their Donegal promotion rivals by slipping up in Athlone.And that 3-1 win for the midlanders will steel them with firm resolve for their visit to Finn Park this Friday night where Harps will hope to have central defender, Mailey, back from that injury.Once again, however, the Harps disciplinary record is being called into question after the promise of improvements in the early stages of the season following a glut of red cards in the2014 campaign. Five yellow cards in the opening half alone at Belfield tells its own story and now Horgan – himself prone to the occasional tangle with officialdom – must line up without some key players for the key clash away to Wexford Youths the weekend after next.It may have some of the regular reserve players straining at the leash to be given the chance for inclusion but in the crucial run-in, Harps can ill afford to be without the likes of Kevin McHugh, Damian McNulty, Ciaran Coll, and Tommy McMonagle, who was dismissed – somewhat harshly it has to be stressed – near the end of Sunday’s game in Dublin.But without them they will be for that game in Wexford where Harps won by the only goal earlier in the campaign.BACK ON TRACKMark EnglishIt’s not just footballers that U.C.D. produce though strictly speaking the college can never say it produced Mark English even if he is a member of the athletic club there.The Letterkenny man showed something of his best at the Anniversary Games in London at the weekend when he not alone ran a season’s best in the 800 metres but in doing so had his entry form for the Rio Olympics officially signed.English emerged from the chasing pack to claim fourth in the race in a time of 1:45:49 and book his flight to Brazil next year.The only disappointment was the failure of the B.B.C. commentary team to even given him a mention during their live coverage of the race. To be fair, they’re normally not adverse to giving Irish competitors due recognition but despite his late burst at the finish the man who claimed bronze in the European Championships last year and silver at the European Indoors this year wasn’t deemed worthy of reference.Hopefully they will be talking about him at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing next month. TOO QUICK ON THE DRAW?Roy KeaneHere, hold hard there. Did someone suggest we’ve been presented with a “favourable” World Cup draw?For all I’ve heard and read on the subject that appeared to be the general consensus among the footballing pundits here after the balls were pulled out in Zurich.Balls indeed. Wales? Going very well under Chris Coleman – and with one Gareth Bale in their ranks – and looking almost certain qualifiers for the European Championship Finals which is more than can be said for our lot. And Austria? Unbeaten home and away against the Republic in the equivalent qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, albeit courtesy of a painful stoppage time equalizer at the Aviva Stadium which just about did for our hopes. And Serbia? One of the most improved sides in Europe and certain to sternly test us both in Belgrade and Dublin. Heck, we can’t even dismiss Moldova as an also-ran in Group D such is the measure of our own performances of late in attempting to make the boat for France.True, it could have been much worse given our fourth seed billing but it’s not exactly the picnic some have been portraying it as.Favourable indeed. To the Welsh, the Austrians and the Serbs. And the Moldovans might be having a good laugh as well.PREMIERSHIP PROMOTIONVery clever advertisement doing the rounds on television – remember it, the screen in the corner of your sitting-room you used to get all your kicks from before iPads, iPhones and social media arrived on the scene? – featuring Thierry Henry promoting SKY Sports pending coverage of the English Premiership.You catch snatches of some of the best moments from the self-styled “world’s best league” including Sergio Aguero’s last ditch title winner for Manchester City (er- did I say best moments?); Eric Cantona’s wonderful chipped goal against Sunderland at Old Trafford; the infamous spat between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira in the Highbury tunnel; and a handful of other classic images besides. And in all of them, there’s Mons. Henry lurking in the goalmouth or watching from the stands or indeed standing a yard away from Mr. Keane during that heated pre-match exchange.Technology, huh? Amazing what it can do. And how you can so realistically place someone at a location where they weren’t.Of course, many of us are looking forward to SKY Sports doing a promotion of, say, World Cup qualifiers and having Mons. Henry standing near the goal-line watching himself hand the Republic of Ireland an exit pass at the Stade De France on November 18th, 2009.No, sorry, despite teams of psychologists continuing to treat me, I still can’t forgot. CAMOGIE GIRLS TAKE A BOW!In recent months this column has been following the fortunes of the Donegal Under-14 girls squad who were narrowly beaten by Tipperary in the All-Ireland Final after a replay but still can lay claim to an Ulster title.Time for camogie to get a mention this week and specifically the Letterkenny Gaels Under-14 girls who clinched the County Shield at the weekend.The girls were convincing winners over Four Masters at Tir Conaill Park on Friday night, putting in an impressive performance to take home the trophy.Well done to all and indeed to their opponents. Any team who reaches a Final is fully deserving of the credit that goes with it.My thanks to Gaels P.R.O., Mark McFadden, for forwarding on a report on the match and for acknowledging the driving force been the team, camogie coordinator Aideen Quinn, a native of Antrim.Indeed, I’ve seen Aideen’s commitment to the girls under-age teams and to the Gaels and this is due reward for her efforts over the years. And not forgetting coach Ann Marie Gibbons who put this team together.SPOT ON JOSEI love the story of the Mexican football fanatic who, not content with screaming at his T.V. set as the rest of us might do when watching his country concede a dubious penalty against Holland in the last World Cup took to twitter to declare: “no era penal”.But our hero, Josesomor26, wasn’t happy to leave it at that. And every day since the summer of 2014 he has tweeted that message to the Dutch F.A., FIFA and the Mexican Football Association.He finally, 392 tweets on, got a response from the Dutch authorities recently who insisted it was indeed a penalty.But it hasn’t stopped our Jose. He’s sticking to the spot on this one. No penalty. Or as they say down Mexico way: no era penal.MARATHON MANI’ve been asked to run the Dublin Marathon this year. But I’ve turned them down – it’s just too big an event to organise….PADDY WALSH ON WEDNESDAY: FLOODS, STUBBORN STUDENTS, ULSTER KNOCK-OUTS AND ENGLISH-MEN! was last modified: July 29th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal DailyPaddy WalshSportlast_img

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