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Topics - Bord na Mona man

I've been listening to most of these episodes and I'd highly recommend them.

Michael Foley recalls in great detail the events of a truly memorable summer. To this day there has never been a hurling championship like it for controversies, plot twists, and chaos.

It fully warrants the running time as there is so much to delve into. Other parts covered are Galway's football breakthrough and the Omagh Bombing which was a catastrophic event right at the start of the emerging peace agreement.

Foley himself as a journalist was in the dressing rooms at the time so you pick up some extra nuggets.
His recall and details are accurate, which is always a bonus.
He presents the events pretty fairly without putting on his own slant, or making it about himself. Like, it's clear that Gerlock went full Colonel Kurtz without the narrator needing to tell you as much.

Both of these links will bring you to the content: ... 66a6b04324
Hurling Discussion / Hurling tekkers
May 09, 2017, 07:01:28 PM
Exhibit A - John Troy.
He should have copyrighted the term 'wristy hurler'.
Comment: How sliotar replaced the rugby ball for middle-class

David McWilliams
March 18 2017 2:30 AM

My first memory of going to a "big match" in a proper stadium is St Patrick's Day 1976. I went with thousands of locals from around Dun Laoghaire to see CBC Monkstown in the Schools' Senior Cup at Lansdowne Road.
CBC, the local school, was not a posh school but it was a rugby school. Back then, the "known world" to my nine-year-old self was the coastal stretch from Blackrock baths as far as the ramparts in Dalkey. It was a rugby and football place. By football I mean soccer, not GAA. And nobody played hurling here.

Had you told us that a Dalkey team would be All Ireland hurling champions, we'd have laughed at you.
For us, hurling was a dangerous game played by fellas from the country. It was the foreign game. Football was our first love and rugby came second. While some of us may have played GAA in national school, GAA's roots were not deep here. Sure it was always played here, but for us, the FA Cup was a much bigger day than the All Ireland football final. Whatever about football, hurling never figured. Even most national schools, run by GAA-mad teachers, didn't attempt hurling with only a tiny minority daring to champion the game. These lads were usually the sons of hurling obsessives who brought hurling up to Dublin when they left home to find work in the capital.

In fact, you could say that back then sport was genetic. You played what your dad played. The only devotee of GAA on our road was one Des Cahill who tried repeatedly to convert us from soccer and rugby to GAA with no success. Des' father was the principal of the local national school.

In the early 1950s, my dad co-founded Dalkey United, and so my sport was soccer. Both cultures lived in harmony side by side but soccer was king.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Dalkey United shared its ground with a small GAA club called Cuala. Dalkey United was the senior partner in the shared ground. In fact, Dalkey - the soccer club - actually "gave" Cuala the extra pitch beside it out of sympathy for the GAA club, which in the 1960s didn't have a permanent pitch.

Fast-forward to today and Cuala, the small GAA club of my memory, is ubiquitous in this former rugby and soccer stronghold. There are Cuala red and white flags everywhere from Monkstown to Dalkey. Cuala is the first Dublin club to reach the All Ireland hurling club final and what's more, Cuala are now champions! There is a real buzz around the club getting into the final. People who wouldn't know one end of a sliothar from the other are talking hurling. It's a brilliant success story. And guess who is a big wig at the Cuala GAA club? Well, the very same Des Cahill, RTE's ballroom dancer, who failed to convert us to GAA in the '80s.

But how did this happen? How did hurling get a toehold in deepest south Dublin? How did the national school I went to, Johnstown National School, which didn't have a hurling team in the 1970s and 80s, end up providing seven of the first XV for the Cuala team that played in Croke park yesterday?

More interestingly, from a cultural perspective, how did the middle class in this neck of the woods end up having to make a choice between the RDS Stadium and Croke Park on St Patrick's Day?

Yesterday's choice was between the Rugby Schools' Senior Cup, the traditional middle class St Patrick's game in this part of the world - Blackrock versus Belvedere - and the new middle class sport here of hurling and the club final between Dalkey's Cuala and Balyea of Clare.

I am interested in the economic and demographic forces that have played out in coastal south Dublin in the past few decades. These forces have changed the cultural composition of the population and have manifested in the emergence of hurling as a significant cultural force here.

To understand this, we have to understand that the last two or three decades have been a time of enormous social upheaval in middle class Dublin. The main force has been the emergence of a rural professional class that has come to dominate Dublin's professions.

These upwardly socially mobile punters from the country are the major winners in the Irish professional meritocracies of medicine, the higher levels of the civil service, the law, accountancy and banking. The failed bankers of Ireland were dismissed as "not very bright rugby players" in the boom, but if you care to look forensically at the backgrounds of the major players in the banking collapse, you will see far more fingerprints of Christian Brothers' boys on the make, with corporate boxes in Croke Park, then the more-easy-to-lampoon south-side rugby jocks.

So what's going on?

Like all cultural phenomena, the rise in hurling in alien territory has a major economic dimension to it. The main economic factor behind rise in hurling in coastal south Dublin can be traced to the 1960s and free education.

The class that benefitted most from free education in the 1960s and 1970s was not, as you might imagine, the industrial working class, but the small farming class. It is their grandsons now playing hurling in south Dublin.

A few years ago, two economists - Damian Hannan and Patrick Commins - wrote a paper called the 'The Significance of Small Scale Landholders in Ireland's Socio-Economic Transformation'. If anyone wants to understand the economics and the social patchwork that is Ireland today and why south Dublin plays hurling, this paper is invaluable.

The writers chart the extraordinary success of the sons of Ireland's small farmers in the social revolution of the past few decades.

Mr Hannan and Mr Commins found, astonishingly, that the single most important determinant, on a county-by-county basis, of a county's educational achievement in the 1960s and 1970s was the number of small farmers in each county. This is quite extraordinary and unique to this country.

The more small farmers in a county, the better educated the children were and the better they did in their Leaving Cert. They even found that the single most successful subsection of the Irish population was the children of small farmers in East Galway, the home of hurling in Connacht.

Compared to their urban, working-class counterparts, 30pc more children of small farmers did the Leaving Cert and 50pc more went on to third-level education.

They turned into the teacher aristocracy, bringing with them to Dublin a love of the GAA, squeezeboxes and Farah slacks. Their success in education also catapulted them into the public service in great numbers. Now they are retiring as the best-paid public servants in Europe. Their kids have gone up a notch on the social hierarchy to become doctors and lawyers. Some of them have adopted rugby, the sport of the old hierarchy, but they have also kept their allegiance to the GAA.

So as they bought houses in the coastal parts of south Dublin, they joined GAA clubs, not rugby or soccer clubs, leading to an explosion of GAA in this part of the world. As is so often the case in economics, the law of unintended consequences plays out. The unintended consequence of free education and related upward mobility is that Dalkey are All-Ireland champions. There won't be a cow milked in Dalkey tonight...
Player power leaves Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald on the brink

The Clare squad gathered on Monday night in Ennis to review the year and although the decision to ask for a change at the top wasn't unanimous, it's understood that some members of the 2013 Liam MacCarthy-winning team were foremost in the heave.
There had been some unrest in Clare at how the highly-rated Paul Kinnerk was lost to Limerick only a year after rejoining the Banner set-up and while they captured the National League title this year, there is dissatisfaction at how the team has performed since 2013.

Fitzgerald, who has a year left to run on his current arrangement with Clare, is in the US on holidays this week but speculation intensified last night that he would step down as early as today.
Speaking about his future earlier this month, the former All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper hinted that he could step away from the role.

"I have another year's contract with Clare, we'll see what happens. I haven't even honestly thought about it, what I want to do," he said.
"I think that's only fair. I look back at what we've achieved with Clare, even over the last number of years and I'm proud of what the lads have done.

"I'm proud of the backroom staff, they've been brilliant. What we do from here, I'm not sure, but it's been a great spin."
Read more: Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald admits that he could see himself 'managing someone else'

Since winning the All-Ireland the Banner have managed to beat just Offaly, Laois and Limerick in championship in three seasons.
They reached the All-Ireland quarter-final stage this year where they went down to Galway.

Fitzgerald patrolled the sideline that day having undergone heart surgery earlier that week.
Hurling Discussion / 25 years ago
June 19, 2015, 06:12:52 PM
A bit of nostalgia - the same day Eamonn Dunphy threw a pen and said he was ashamed to be Irish (allegedly)

This Day 25 Years Ago Saw A Truly Momentous GAA Result - And Hardly Anyone Saw It

17 June 1990. Two great players make their championship debuts in Croke Park. One would have a dream debut. Wherever he went the ball fell into his hand. The other endured a distressing opening 19 minutes and spent the next 41 minutes on the bench.

Brian Whelahan was the former. The Irish Independent reported that 'a star was born' and commended Whelahan for his stunning performance at right half back.

The latter was DJ Carey, whose performance attracted little comment. Carey said later on he would never forgive the selector who panicked and whipped him off so early in the game.

Carey in fact scored Kilkenny's only point while he was on the pitch. It was a straightforward free and didn't serve to save him from the curly finger on the line.

After 20 minutes it was 3-6 to 0-1 to Offaly.

One of the biggest blitzes Kilkenny have ever endured. Topped only by the opening half-hour of the 2012 Leinster final.

And hardly anyone saw it.

Despite the game being part of a double header with Dublin and Wexford in the first semi-final, only 17,000 people turned up in Croker.

Everyone else was at home or in the pub watching Jack's boys huff and puff against Egypt in Palermo. Watching Eamon Dunphy wonder aloud what Tommy Eglington and Peter Farrell would have thought of it all. Watching the little Egyptians stifle Ireland.

The crowd watching the hurling that day was a deeply emaciated one. They really were restricted to the diehards.

Offaly would go on to win on the scoreline of 4-15 to 1-8. It was the nadir for Kilkenny hurling. Things would improve rapidly for them within a few years.

Offaly beat Dublin to scoop their third successive Leinster hurling title before going on to lose to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Angry Wexford boss Liam Dunne bites back at Michael Duignan and Ger Loughnane
Thursday, May 21, 2015

By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

Wexford boss Liam Dunne has taken aim at pundits Michael Duignan and Ger Loughnane for remarks they made about his team two years ago.

In an extensive interview in tomorrow's Irish Examiner 2015 Championship supplement, Dunne slams Duignan for claiming Wexford had frightened Dublin with rough play in the 2013 Leinster quarter-final replay.

He also lambastes Loughnane who said the counties were guilty of "constipated hurling" in the drawn game.

"I thought we got a lot of unfair criticism two years ago. Andrew Shore was sent off in Parnell Park. Clare had three men sent off against us last year in two games. These things are going to happen. It's very easy to get on a bandwagon.

"Michael Duignan stuck the knife into us big time. He was always going to protect Brian Gavin, they're very good friends so he was always going to look after his buddy as best he could. On national television and in the papers, he did a very good job. A year later he's down with us in Wexford drinking pints celebrating after us beating Clare. You know which... up yours, Michael!

"The other man (Loughnane)? He had Galway playing some fair constipated hurling for a long time and knocked them back 10 years. When these fellas are on a bandwagon and talking we know what we have to do."

Dunne also claims The Sunday Game has a major influence on how referees officiate games by the nature of how they portray certain teams.

"A few weeks ago on League Sunday, Tomás Ó Sé was on it and they picked two or three off-the-ball incidents in one game and then we came to the Kerry (v Tyrone) game and there were a desperate blatant thing done but it was never even mentioned. I waited to see how Tomás would react to this one but Michael Lyster never even brought it up.

"You saw Jamie O'Sullivan highlighted for elbowing Diarmuid Connolly (in the Division 1 football final). I can't actually see him hitting him in the jaw. If it was me, I would be going to my barrister to show that I didn't actually hit him. I think that's after creeping into The Sunday Game and League Sunday big time. The likes of Eddie Brennan and Brendan Cummins highlight these things but they've been around long enough to know..."
Grab all leftie Clare Daly moaning about the GAA.  :o
Ironically the GAA, often disliked by the left, is one of the few good examples of socialism at work - Co-operative ownership, not for profit volunteerism and generally being non-elitist.

A strain of socialist politics is based around begrudgery. A dislike of those who get up off their arses, meaning they show up those who prefer to sit back with the hand out.
Whelahan aims to restore 'self-belief'

In the summer of 1989, Brian Whelahan was a minor hurler who made a surprise senior debut in Offaly's shock All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Antrim.

More than 24 years later, the two-time Hurler of the Year has gone from being a candidate to take charge of the county's minor team to being named as senior manager in the space of a few weeks.

"I had planned to get involved in some capacity during the summer and after it became known that John (Leahy) was not going to go forward for a third term as minor hurling manager, I was approached and began putting a plan together for that role," he said.

"I had a lot of the work done when Padraig Boland sounded me out about the senior job and I had to consider it.

"I spoke with my family, who were very supportive, as always. Mary (his wife) really helped me to make up my mind when she said that I might never get this chance again."

Fresh from the announcement late on Wednesday night, Whelahan (above) is looking forward to the challenge and has already set about putting his back-room team in place.

"I am delighted and excited to be given this opportunity. Obviously when you finish playing, the next step is coaching and managing teams.

"It has always been an ambition to come back and manage Offaly, and to be given that opportunity now... I am thrilled."

Changing the mindset of the Offaly players will be one of the new manager's main priorities .

"For the last few years we've been well able to compete with teams for 45 or 50 minutes but when it comes to the last quarter, for whatever reason, we've fallen short.

"I want to change that and and I'll be putting my back-room team in place with that in mind. I want people who have real determination, who can communicate with players and who can help them to display the kind of self-belief that has been missing from Offaly hurling for the last 10 or 12 years."

Whelahan, who has had spells managing Camross in Laois and Kiltormer in Galway, is relishing the challenge.

"I'm confident in my ability to do the job well. The support structures and management team that will be put in place will play a big role," he said.

Whelahan had an outstanding career as a player, and is arguably Offaly's greatest hurler, with two All-Ireland senior medals, two at minor level and four All Star awards, as well as four All-Ireland club titles and 12 county championship successes with his beloved Birr.

Having had so much success with Birr, Whelahan, who was the only modern-day hurler to be selected on the Team of the Millennium, draws positives from the exploits of both Coolderry and Kilcormac/Killoughey, who won Leinster club titles in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

"I think there are great hurlers in Offaly – the success of Coolderry and Kilcormac-Killoughey in recent years proves that. I want to get the county team to push on and to share that belief," he stressed.

"One of my first tasks will be to talk to the players, including those with long-term injuries like David Kenny and Shane Dooley. I will also be meeting players who weren't available for one reason or another with a view to getting them on board in the best interests of Offaly hurling."

Whelahan will follow in his father's footsteps once his appointment is ratified – Pat Joe Whelahan took charge of the Faithful County back in 1989.
More sh1te from the Independent newspaper group.
They started off yesterday with sensational headlines about a 'prominent GAA star' from Dublin who was arrested in a drug seizure.
As I suspected the guy in question is a run of the mill club player.
They've toned down to 'GAA player' in the more recent headlines, but this is fairly typical of the (S)Indo .

They did the same about 5 years back when the "GAA star" turned out to be a Division 8 Liffey Gaels player. That must make me a 'star' as well.

In a few weeks Sir Anthony O'Reilly's stable will have front page spreads and buckets of outrage at pictures of tussling at a club game in Wicklow.
Hurling Discussion / Hurling Man – a breed apart
April 08, 2013, 10:26:05 AM
In the first half last Sunday at Walsh Park, Galway corner-forward Davy Glennon slipped past his marker, Waterford corner-back Stephen Daniels, and looked set to score a goal. Which was when Glennon hauled him down. Over in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly suffered a similar fate as he cut inside Cork full-back Brian Murphy.

It's a reasonable bet that had Fennelly and Glennon not been fouled they'd have scored goals. Instead their teams were awarded penalties, neither of which produced a goal.

Watching the fouls on Fennelly and Glennon, it struck me how common this particular type of offence is in hurling. We've been watching forwards being wrestled to the ground just as they were about to pull the trigger for a long time now.

It's probably because penalties are more difficult to score in hurling but this blatant rugby-tackling of an opponent through on goal isn't anything like as common in football. There's nothing manly or honest about it, it's simply a cynical act of the kind which prompted the introduction of the red card for a professional foul in soccer. The very type of offence, in other words, that the new black card rule is designed to stamp out in Gaelic football.

Yet during the debate about the introduction of the black card it was stated again and again that hurling didn't need such a rule. Cynical fouling, we were told, is absent from hurling. Now, having seen many hurlers hauled down as they were about to score, I was puzzled by the difference between rhetoric and reality. But then I realised that these statements were coming from Hurling Man, a creature ordinary mortals like ourselves do not possess the power to fully understand.

Hurling Man is not to be confused with the hurling fan. He is a different bag of sliotars altogether, a self-important colossus who resembles a cross between Matt The Thrasher from Knocknagow, Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons and one of those TV wine connoisseurs who could detect fruity wood notes in a bottle of Blue Nun. Anyone who's ever followed the GAA has encountered him along the way but, just in case you haven't, here are a few pointers to help in the identification of the species . . .

1 Hurling Man doesn't know why you bother with that aul' football at all at all. You can change all the rules you like but it'll always be a terrible spectacle on account of its bastard origins.

2 Hurling Man can debate at length the competing claims of Christy Ring and Mick Mackey to be regarded as the greatest player in the history of the game even though he never saw either man play.

3 Hurling Man was talking to a man who knows a man who knows a man who's involved with the team and told him that the manager has definitely lost the dressing room.

4 Hurling Man thinks the All-Ireland hurling final should be played in Thurles because the sod is much better.

5 Hurling Man is always unhappy with whatever system the GAA have come up with for the National League because he doesn't think any of the strong hurling counties ever deserve to be relegated or forced to play against Kerry.

6 Hurling Man is convinced that there's a plot to do away with the Munster Hurling Championship, so when the first exciting incident happens in the Munster final he shakes his head and says to everyone within earshot, 'And to think they were going to get rid of this.'

7 Hurling Man believes there's little point in trying to promote hurling in the weaker counties because they just don't have the tradition.

8 Hurling Man believes that if hurling was promoted in the proper way it could spread to other countries and become a major worldwide game.

9 Hurling Man gets great enjoyment out of an internet forum discussion on the efficacy of different brands of helmet even if it's a while since he wore one.

10 Hurling Man thinks Liam Griffin's statement that hurling is the Riverdance of sport is one of the great profound statements of Western civilisation. And so is the Micheál ó Muircheartaigh thing about neither of Seán óg ó hAilpín's parents coming from a hurling stronghold.

11 Hurling Man has a lot of favourite Micheál ó Muircheartaigh quotes which he'll tell you if you come back here for a minute.

12 Hurling Man isn't sure about Galway.

13 Hurling Man believes The Sunday Game should be anchored by someone with "a feel for hurling." Someone like Hurling Man.

14 Hurling Man derived much of his knowledge about the game from those Raymond Smith books he used to get at Christmas but is embarrassed by this and pretends he derived it from the giant folkloric collective unconscious.

15 Hurling man knows the right way to spell Paddy Rutschiztko. Which is Paddy Ruschitzko.

16 Hurling Man believes that the referee should let the game flow. Unless Kilkenny are doing the fouling.

17 Hurling Man felt personally let down by Lar Corbett's behaviour in last year's All-Ireland semi-final and will never forgive him for that affront to the spirit of the game.

18 Hurling Man believes there should be more ground hurling.

19 Hurling Man gets an orgasm if someone doubles on the ball in the air.

20 Hurling Man knows they hadn't a lot of ball work done when the teams met in the league.

21 Hurling Man is not the best person to meet on a long train journey. But he's better than the man who has a theory about how an Open Draw system could be made to work.

22 Hurling Man will occasionally say things like, "I seen he done well on Sunday," because it adds a folksy down-to-earth flavour to the conversation. What are you, a snob?

23 Hurling Man thinks Henry Shefflin took the wise option by pointing that penalty in last year's All-Ireland final. He'd have thought the same if Henry had gone for goal.

24 Hurling Man knows that it's not the 4-9 from the full-forward line which won the game but a particular clearance by the right half-back in the 11th minute.

25 Hurling Man just loves the Christy Ring quote about sticking a knife into every football east of Bandon. Or is it Kinsale? Hilarious.

26 Hurling Man likes to get his All-Ireland ticket the night before in a hotel bar after falling into conversation with someone who's got one to spare.

27 Hurling Man will tell you the stories about the Tipperary hurler, the Kilkenny hurler and the Tipperary hurler and the Limerick hurler and then tell you there's no truth in any of them.

28 Hurling Man thinks that hook there should be repeated for the benefit of any kids playing the game. It's a dying art.

29 Hurling Man thinks a black card rule would kill the game though it might survive in isolated pockets like the handful of survivors in The Walking Dead.

30 Hurling Man is concerned that the game is in trouble in Cork city.

31 Hurling Man is delighted to see the hurling revival in Dublin as long as they don't win anything of real significance.

32 Hurling Man says we shouldn't forget Billy when we're talking about the Rackards.

33 Hurling Man has doubts about Eoin Kelly's temperament. The Waterford lad, not the Tipp one.

34 Hurling Man mourns the loss of the North Mon and Farranferris.

35 Hurling Man believes inter-county players who've given a lot to the game should be allowed to choose the manner of their departure from the county team.

36 Hurling Man believes players should never be paid but should be looked after in some undefined way.

37 Hurling Man thinks no one is going to complain if the ref makes a draw of this one.

38 Hurling Man saw no malice in that pull. Or any pull.

39 Hurling Man wonders if you can follow the flight of the ball there, you being from a football county.

40 Hurling Man misses Carrolls All-Star wall charts in pubs and signed that Bring Back the James Last Sunday Game Theme Tune Petition.

41 Hurling Man enjoys the aul' banter.

42 Hurling Man thinks that in fairness the moderator is being a bit paranoid about libel.

43 Hurling Man wouldn't expect anything better from you, it's yourself you're showing up you ignorant hoor.

44 Hurling Man's nightmares are dominated by a green plastic Wavin hurl.

45 Hurling Man once met an American who told him they had no game like this in the States and couldn't believe the players were amateurs.

46 Hurling Man can remember the precise contents of the first Our Games annual bought for him.

47 Hurling Man admires Antrim's long struggle to keep the game alive despite British oppression and thinks the 'B' Championship is the place for them.

48 Hurling Man uses anecdotes from ghosted autobiographies and pretends they come from his personal experience. If challenged he'll say, "That's an old story. I can't believe you didn't hear it before."

49 Hurling Man believes that in the Amazon rain forest, the Western Sahara and the depths of Siberia, native herders and tribesmen are awed by the fact that hurling is the fastest field sport in the world

50 Hurling Man knows you're all only jealous.
Last weekend we had the Munster Championship. The weekend the actual hurling starts with a double header in Tellamore.
I'd expect Dublin to prevail against Leix in the curtian raiser tomorrow evening and set up a semi final against Kilkenny.

Next up Offaly take on Wexford.

Offaly have home advantage, a more experienced line up and possibly slightly better hurlers (on paper) than Wexford.
Wexford have 4 debatants whereas Offaly have none.
However the mood in Offaly seems to be somewhat pessimistic. We haven't beaten Wexford in 12 years and they've won the last 4 championship clashes.

Offaly team showed early promise this year under Ollie Baker, but haven't really kicked on from there.
Somewhat alarmingly they lost down Wexford in the league conceding 3 late goals to lose by a point.

It is game that Offaly can't afford to lose. This current team is as good as it's going to be for Offaly hurling for another few years.

1. James Dempsey;
2. Derek Morkan,
3. David Kenny (capt),
4. David Franks;
5. Diarmuid Horan,
6. Rory Hanniffy,
7. James Rigney;
8. Conor Mahon,
9. Kevin Brady;
10. Joe Bergin,
11. Colin Egan,
12. Brendan Murphy;
13. Shane Dooley,
14. Cathal Parlon,
15. Brian Carroll.

1. Eanna Martin;
2. Willie Devereux,
3. Keith Rossiter (capt),
4. Stephen Murphy;
5. David Redmond,
6. Matthew O'Hanlon,
7. Ciaran Kenny;
8. Shaun Murphy,
9. Diarmuid Lyng;
10. Garrett Sinnott,
11. Eoin Quigley,
12. PJ Nolan;
13. Rory Jacob,
14. Jack Guiney,
15. Paul Morris.
Offaly's Daithi Regan claims Kilkenny use 'illegal' tactics to get edge

Friday May 18 2012
KILKENNY'S style of play "borders on illegal" and the current "quite liberal" style of refereeing suits the ways the Cats play, according to Offaly hero Daithi Regan.

Regan also interpreted Brian Cody's comments about referees in the run-up to the league final as an attempt to influence officials to maintain the status quo.

The Kilkenny manager accused some people of trying to take "genuine physicality" out of the game and insisted that referees should be allowed to use their "common sense".

"At national level we're used to seeing the last three All-Irelands and that (refereeing) can be quite liberal," Regan said at the launch of Newstalk Radio's championship coverage.

"I think Kilkenny make no bones that they bring a huge physicality to the game and I think that Brian Cody, by coming out with statements like that, is influencing referees to keep doing what they're doing in a subtle kind of way.

"No more so than Alex Ferguson is a very strong character. Human nature being what it is, the stronger the team you are, the stronger in character you are and the more successful you are as a manager, more will be thought of what you say, as opposed to, say, the Carlow manager making the same statement."

Regan insists his comments "don't take away from Kilkenny's brilliance," but that the Cats benefit most from the current style of refereeing.

"Simple things like a little tug on the arm to slow a guy down and then a second player coming in. It means ball is not being cleared as readily as it would have been. It's not dirty, but it's illegal or bordering on illegal and refs are letting it go because we've all lauded the last three All-Ireland finals, which were outstanding."

Despite the Cats' dominant league final display, Regan doesn't see the destination of the Liam MacCarthy Cup as a forgone conclusion.

"I don't think it works that way and I think Lar Corbett's return will have a huge impact on what could happen this year."

This book is getting launched Thursday night at 8pm in the Tullamore Court Hotel.

Extracts from the book will be serialised in the Irish Independent tomorrow and Wednesday ahead of the launch.

Life, Death & Hurling, The Michael Duignan Story
Michael Duignan spent more than a decade earning a reputation as one of the most competitive hurlers in a sport famous for its uncompromising characters. He claimed two All-Ireland winner's medals as part of an Offaly team packed with natural ability and flair but which was saddled, unfairly in Duignan's view, with the label of being a group of feckless mavericks. Since his retirement, he has established another reputation for himself as an equally uncompromising TV commentator, unafraid to 'tell it as he sees it'.

But, behind Duignan's sporting success and high-profile media character,lies a more unconventional and complex man who has striven with tragedy off the sporting field. In September 2009, after a long and difficult battle, his wife, Edel, died from cancer. In Life, Death & Hurling, Michael Duignan recounts his wife's struggle to overcome her cancer and, later, bravely accept her fate. He tells how Edel's fight to survive drew the couple and their sons, Seán and Brian, closer than ever. But her death, and Michael's inability to cope with her passing, brought him into an ominous phase of his life with almost devastating consequences.

In his autobiography, Michael Duignan lays bare the events, both personal and professional, which have gone into shaping him over the years. A strong, true voice that speaks on sport, life and death with authority and compassion, Life, Death & Hurling is an exceptional workby any standards. About the co-author: Pat Nolan is a native of Tullamore in Co Offaly and has worked as Gaelic Games Correspondent for the Irish Daily Mirror since January 2007. He graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer-Aided Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Dublin City University in 2004 and as a Master of Arts in Journalism from Dublin Institute of Technology in 2005. Aged 29, this is his first book.
Baker wouldn't have been a name that would have instantly sprung to mind, but I doubt there was a queue of takers for the job.
I wish him the best of luck and who knows what will happen.
His assistant will be Alan Cunningham who is highly rated.

Baker to take over Offaly

Ollie Baker will be the new Offaly hurling manager after the committee appointed to select a new Faithful boss recommended the two-time All-Ireland winner.

Former Clare hurler Baker, winner of the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1995 and 1997, will have fellow Banner man Alan Cunningham as a coach.

He will announce his selectors in the coming days and the appointment will be formally ratified at their November County Board meeting.

Baker is based in Tullamore and will take over from Joe Dooley who resigned after this year's Championship.
Allianz Hurling League Roinn 1 2011

Round 1
12.02.11 (Sat)

Tipperary V Kilkenny      Time: 7 30 PM, Venue: Semple Stadium, Thurles      Referee: Brian Gavin

13.02.11 (Sun)

Galway V Wexford      Time: 2 30 PM, Venue: Pearse Stadium      Referee: James Mc Grath

Cork V Offaly      Time: 2 30 PM, Venue: Páirc Uí Chaoimh      Referee: Michael Wadding

Waterford V Dublin      Time: 2 30 PM, Venue: Walsh Park       Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan

A more determined Kilkenny to shade it over Tipp.
Galway should have too much for Wexford.
I expect Cork to win by 10+ over Offaly who haven't been showing up too well lately.
Waterford might get edged out by the Dubs, but I reckon advantage will see them through here.
The Faithful will be up against it here.

While Tipperary's All Ireland performance last year caused them to be overrated, they aren't as bad as their 10 point defeat to Cork. They've now had their wake up call in that clash, so we should expect them to be fully focussed.

In Offaly's favour, Tipp's U21 clash with Cork going to extra time last night can only be good news.

The two Galway games have shown that going at full throttle Offaly can for the most part match a top 5 (excluding Kilkenny obviously) team. Offaly will again need to work exceptionally hard to disrupt Tipp.
The Limerick and Antrim championship games have shown that Offaly lack a clinical edge when the scoreboard needs to worked. In game #2 against Galway, Offaly had a chance to push on after levelling up a 10 point deficit but couldn't and didn't due to some agonising wides.

David Franks may once again manage to lock down Eoin Kelly as he has done in the past, but the threat can and will come from other quarters.
The pace of some the Tipperary forwards is a big danger. Galway placing the speedy Damian Hayes nearer the Offaly goal was probably the winning of the replay for them. Lar Corbett and Noel McGrath especially would need to somehow put on a tight leash.

Full back will be a position to watch for Offaly depending one who plays there. Neither David Kenny or Paul Cleary are particularly quick. My own fear is Lar Corbett getting decent low ball in front of him and going to town.

For Offaly to get close it would need to a vintage performance of hooking, blocking and forcing errors.
As they did in April's league game in Tullamore, they'd need to open up the Tipperary full back line and plunder goals at some stage.

I suspect how the Offaly half forward line fare against the Tipp half back line will be the biggest factor in deciding the margin. Cleaned out, broke even, or on top will probably map to - hammered, respectable defeat, a puck of a ball in it.

We live in hope.
Hurling Discussion / Offaly vs. Galway 20/06/2010
June 18, 2010, 08:11:08 AM
Galway team to play Offaly:

2 Changes for Galway
Date : 17/06/2010
There are 2 changes on the Galway team to play Offaly in the Leinster Senior Hurling Semi-final on Sunday At 4pm in Croke Park. Aonghus Callanan and Iarla Tannian come for Andy Smith & Joe Gantley.

Galway S.H. Team v Offaly

Colm Callanan

Damien Joyce
Shane Kavanagh
Ollie Canning

Donal Barry
Tony Og Regan
David Collins

Ger Farragher
David Burke

Damien Hayes
Cyril Donnellan
Aonghus Callanan

Aidan Harte
Joe Canning
Iarla Tannian

Cork come out on top in hurling Fair Play Index
11 May 2010

The hurlers from Cork, even though defeated in the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 1 final, came out on top in the Hurling Fair Play Index and the €10,000 prize that goes with it for the Panel Development Fund.

Over the course of their eight game campaign Cork players received just 12 cautions, at an average of 1.50 per game, which saw them top the table from Waterford in second place.

Two other finalists, Clare and Galway (the Division 1 winners) were also extremely disciplined throughout their campaigns and finished in joint third place.

General discussion / Liam Clancy dies aged 74
December 04, 2009, 07:20:15 PM
I know its mentioned on the Death Notices topic, but it deserves a topic of its own.
A true legend who'll be sadly missed.

Singer Liam Clancy dies aged 74

Liam Clancy, the man Bob Dylan described as the "greatest ballad singer" he had ever heard has died. He was 74.

Mr Clancy died at Bon Secours Hospital in Cork after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis - scarring of the lungs. His brother Bobby died of the same disease in 2002.

In an interview with The Irish Times in September to promote The Yellow Bittern, a film about his life, he admitted that he was on his "last legs" from the disease.

Liam was the youngest of the four Clancy brothers and Paddy, Bobby and Tom all predeceased him. Tommy Mackem died two years ago.

Born in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, Liam Clancy emigrated to the United States to join his brothers in 1956.

They began their singing careers around the pubs of Greenwich Village where they met a young Bob Dylan who has claimed them as one of his biggest influences.

Together the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Macken began a transatlantic phenomenon after a fortuitous break on the coast-to-coast Ed Sullivan Show in 1961 where they filled in for a guest who could not turn up.

They were then offered a record deal with Columbia and were hugely successful on both sides of the Atlantic resurrecting Irish songs such as Roddy McCorley, Brennan on the Moor and The Jug of Punch. Their ability as recording artists was matched by the strength of their live performances and their gifts as songwriters.

Filmmaker Alan Gilsenen, who made The Yellow Bittern, said Mr Clancy's passing was the "end of an era".

"He and his brothers and Tommy reclaimed an enormous amount of folk songs for Ireland, reinterpreted in them in terms of their experience in America outselling the Beatles at one stage."

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny expressed his sympathy on the sad passing of Liam Clancy, saying that Ireland has lost a brilliant musician.

"I hugely regret the passing of Liam Clancy. His death really does mark the end of an era. Liam's contribution to Irish music and culture was simply outstanding," he said.

"As a member of the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, they revolutionised ballad and hope music in Ireland and later with Tommy Makem, Liam provided outstanding entertainment and promotion of his country."