Monthly Archives: June 2018

  1. Hurling Tiers of Happiness or Frustration?

    Hurling Tiers of Happiness or Frustration?

    And then there were two. Six counties started out in the Joe McDonagh Cup back at the start of May - Antrim, Meath, Westmeath, Kerry, Carlow and Laois. Two remain to slug out the final on Sunday. Antrim face a relegation/promotion play off with Kildare in Armagh that already has generated rumblings of discontent and Meath are relegated. Next year under the current format, Offaly will join the ranks of the Joe McDonagh with Carlow or Westmeath promoted.
    The competition by all accounts showcased some high quality hurling which unfortunately didn’t receive the broadcast coverage it deserved.
    The final on Sunday clashes with the Munster hurling final which hasn’t endeared the fixture planners to hurling fans, and with Meath already relegated the hurlers of Antrim face off in Armagh on Saturday against Kildare, the winners of the Christy Ring Cup.
    Asking a Cup winning team to play again to secure promotion or relegation has always smacked of afterthought and the

  2. Hurling Super Sunday Beckons

    Hurling Super Sunday Beckons
    By: Enda McEvoy

    The scheduling of the two matches leaves much to be desired – no way should the Munster and Leinster finals be taking place on the same afternoon, end of – but no matter. Super Sunday beckons.
    Clare versus Cork in Semple Stadium at 2pm. Galway versus Kilkenny in Croke Park at 4pm. Unless you’re a hurling fan blessed with the gift of bilocation, a large-screen TV will be your only man.
    Are we in for two crackers? Probably not. The reader is long enough on the road at this stage to know that most highly anticipated matches tend not to live up to expectations. Then again, to assert that both of these are highly anticipated matches may be overdoing it.
    Granted, Clare/Cork was sold out by the middle of last week, a natural postscript to the roaring success of the inaugural round robin in Munster. The fixture is a repeat of last year’s provincial decider, so it’s not as though there’s a fresh item – such as a
  3. Back to the Future in Donegal?

    Back to the Future in Donegal?
    By Declan Bogue

    THE recent appearance of Jim McGuinness across the media is bound to cause a flutter of annoyance for the Dublin football project.
    There had been whispers and rumours that he had been involved in the current set-up, but the current evidence is compelling. A photograph doing the rounds of a Belfast hotel lobby of McGuinness standing up, talking to the seated Donegal manager Declan Bonner and selector Paul McGonigle - who served in the same role for McGuiness in 2014 - had been intriguing, but the other day those suspicions were put to him.
    "No, no coaching sessions," he said. Asked had he given a talk to the group, he smiled and repeated, "No coaching sessions." Which leaves things as obvious as you can get them.
    He said during an interview with Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball that a number of senior players had a drink on Monday and decided to call him up for a chat, enthusing that the Ulster final win had "felt like the
  4. In Conversation with Lee Chin, O’Neills Ambassador

    In Conversation with Lee Chin, O’Neills Ambassador
    We spoke to our O’Neills ambassador Lee Chin who’s getting himself into Championship mode with Wexford. In his first conversation with O’Neills, Lee shares his memories of growing up in Wexford, starting out in his hurling career with his hurling club Faythe Harriers and his thoughts on trying to balance hurling and football in the modern game.


    Wolfetone Villas
    I played all sports growing up. It wasn’t any different to any other childhood that any person had I suppose. I grew up in Wolfetone Villas in Wexford, it was a very family oriented estate, and pretty much everyone that lived there when I was grown up was born there. You could head away for a holiday for a weekend and leave your front door open it was that kind of place. My mother grew up in the estate. Growing up there we got up to everything out on the street hurling, football, soccer, tennis basketball, my childhood memory is that you would be out on the street with your friends organis
  5. When County Coaches Coach

    When County Coaches Coach
    By Declan Bogue


    THOSE that are involved in coaching at inter-county level tend to be a driven, intense group. In different yet similar ways Carlow and Galway have been to the forefront of the story so far this summer. There is plenty of evidence of information-sharing and reading lists passed around among coaches, speckled with the names of great coaches from varied disciplines such as Vince Lombardi, Pat Riley and the lives of great generals and samurais. To do a job like coaching inter-county requires a lot of evenings out of the family home, often lengthy commutes and the capacity to hold the attention and sympathy of over 30 players, highly-driven and competitive in their own right.


    For some odd reason, the target for criticism from certain sections of the media has focussed on the role of the team trainer this year, rather than the hardly perennial of the manager. Every year it seems there is a new target. It was diving
  6. Hurling So Far So Good and More to Come

    Hurling So Far So Good and More to Come
    By: Enda McEvoy


    So Clare and Cork it is again in the Munster final, for the second year in a row. But that’s only half the story. That’s not even half the story.


    Big crowds. Thrilling finishes. Nine-point leads amassed and squandered. Ghost goals. Red cards. Umpires convinced of the excellence of their own eyesight. Late equalisers. Late winners. Managers not talking to the media one day, then chatting away happily to them two days later.
    We knew the Munster round robin would be interesting. We never dreamed it would be this much fun. And whether it’s a man in red or a man in saffron and blue who lifts the silverware on July 1st, this will be a hard earned and richly deserved title.
    Clare began the championship with a defeat on Leeside. It could have broken their spirit and ended their season. Instead it proved a springboard for three wins on the bounce. The Banner are going better than they have
  7. Fantastic Fermanagh? Wake Me Up When They Win Ulster

    Fantastic Fermanagh? Wake Me Up When They Win Ulster

    This weekend a few oul lads from both sides of the Fermanagh Donegal border will gather at St Patrick’s purgatory at Lough Derg for a few moments intercession from Man Above. Its pilgrimage season and they combine a trip to Station Island with that other purgatory of supporting the county football team. Some years it goes well, other times its hell on earth crushing disappointment. Of late it hasn’t been too bad for Donegal, but the old timers from Fermanagh are getting to the stage where winning just one Ulster title would do them for their time on earth.
    For the men and women from Fermanagh, faithful, brave and bathed in optimism, that first Ulster title is still the Holy grail, not as elusive but you get the feeling that the whole county can move on with their lives if they can just bring the Anglo Celt that short journey back across the border in through Newtownbutler and up through Lisnaskea. Maybe they would go by Roslea. Sure in fact who cares so long as the thing just cro

  8. Sarah Rowe Talks Ladies Football

    Sarah Rowe Talks Ladies Football

    Sarah Rowe started playing football at national school, and she loved the game from the very beginning. She joined the Mayo development squads at the age of ten playing for the county under 12 team, since then playing for the Mayo senior teams was a burning ambition. Sarah joined the senior panel to train when she was fifteen and made her debut a year later. Now one of the most recognisable players in Ladies football, her enthusiasm for the game she loves is clear to see.


    “I started in National school when I was about nine or ten, so I originally started playing soccer first and then moved into the football. I gained a lot of interest from our first manager Hugh Lynn, he really brought me out of my shell. Like, I was interested in other sports like gymnastics, basketball and so on but he really brought it out of me.
    “I would have trained with the lads at school, though we didn’t play together in National school, the boys were separated out. I continued then
  9. Guest Blog: Observations of a Novel Weekend

    Guest Blog: Observations of a Novel Weekend

    By Declan Bogue


    WELL, that was fun, wasn't it?


    On Saturday afternoon as Fermanagh played Armagh, a thousand middle-aged men in were left wailing at the complications of technology as they begged their children to teach them all about the mysterious Goddess that is the BBC iPlayer.


    When they eventually got plugged in and zoned out, what met them was one of the most atypical Ulster Championship matches. Fermanagh played to a rigid system that yielded the right result, aided by; 1) Armagh selector Paddy McKeever earning a red card

  10. Guest Blog: Expect the ground to shake with Enda McEvoy

    Guest Blog: Expect the ground to shake with Enda McEvoy

     By Enda McEvoy


    Limerick pulling off the summer’s first surprise, if surprise it was, at the Gaelic Grounds. Michael Ryan, that most gregarious of men, refusing to talk to the media afterwards before having the sense to change mind and tack the following day. Cork finishing the better to see off a wasteful