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Hurling Discussion / The Edward Carson trophy
« on: July 20, 2010, 02:13:36 PM »
Gerry Adams hurls tribute at unionist icon Edward Carson with GAA trophy

A new GAA trophy has been named after the founding father of unionism.

Competitors in the first hurling event in the Stormont estate in Belfast will be playing for the Edward Carson trophy.

On face value, the Dubliner who led the campaign against Irish independence a century ago is an unusual choice for anyone looking to christen a prize for the nationalist sport.

But Sinn Fein MP Gerry Adams, who has helped organise the inaugural ‘Poc ar an Cnoc’ (Puck on the Hill) which will take place below Carson's famous statue in Stormont next month, thought otherwise.

“I discovered, much to my surprise, that Carson was a hurler in his days at Trinity College (Dublin),” he explained at Parliament Buildings yesterday.

He added: “He got an honourable mention in the Irish Sportsman (journal of the day) as having distinguished himself on the field, so we thought it would be a great idea to have an Edward Carson trophy.”

The Poc Fada (long puck) will see hurlers hitting sliotars (hurling balls) up the mile-long Prince of Wales Avenue.

General discussion / World Cup Tips Competition - Final and 3rd place
« on: July 08, 2010, 03:25:26 AM »
Last round
Predictions due by kickoff off 3rd place match on Saturday at 7:30pm

"Secret" predictions
Because you could get an advantage by waiting to see what other people pick anyone can PM your picks to me, though it really should only matter for those who can still win.

After the deadline I will publish all the picks I get by PM

Scoring is 4 points for the 3rd place game and 12 points for the final.
Prediction is for the end of normal time, extra time and penalties don't count

format is username followed by picks all separated by commas.

Saturday, 10 July 2010
Uruguay v Germany, 3rd, 19:30
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Netherlands v Spain, F, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips Competition - Semi Finals
« on: July 04, 2010, 09:54:15 PM »
Deadline for the tips is Tuesday at 7:30 pm Irish time when the Uruguay v Netherlands kicks off.
Prediction is based on the end of normal time, extra time and penalties don't count.

Scoring is eight points for each correct guess

Format is user name and then the result, winning team or 'Draw' all separated by commas


Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Uruguay v Netherlands, SF, 19:30
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Germany v Spain, SF, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips competition - Quarter Finals
« on: June 29, 2010, 09:39:56 PM »
Four points per correct prediction at end of normal time (extra time and penalties don't count)

username followed by winner or 'Draw' in the order the games are played all separated by commas

eg. format

Deadline is Friday 3pm when the first game starts.

Friday, 2 July 2010
Netherlands v Brazil, QF, 15:00
Uruguay v Ghana, QF, 19:30
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Argentina v Germany, QF, 15:00
Paraguay v Spain, QF, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips competition - Last 16 (part 2)
« on: June 25, 2010, 09:48:39 PM »
Two points per correct prediction at end of normal time (extra time and penalties don't count)

username followed by winner or 'Draw' in the order the games are played.

Deadline is Monday 3pm when the first game starts.
There is another thread for the first four Round of 16 games, deadline is tomorrow (Saturday) when the first game begins.

eg. format

Monday, 28 June 2010
Netherlands v Slovakia, 16R, 15:00
Brazil v Chile, 16R, 19:30
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Paraguay v Japan, 16R, 15:00
Spain v Portugal, 16R, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips competition - Last 16 (part 1)
« on: June 23, 2010, 09:36:08 PM »
The full lineup for the 2nd round won't be known until Friday evening and the first game starts on Saturday so there wouldn't be much time to get the tips in so I'll split it in two. First four games in this thread (deadline will be when the first game kicks off on Saturday) and the other four in a thread I'll put up on Friday (deadline will be the first game on Monday)

The prediction is for the end of normal time, extra time and penalties don't count.

Two points for each correct prediction.

Format stays the same username then winner or 'Draw'(meaning you think they will go to extra time)


Saturday, 26 June 2010
Uruguay v South Korea, 16R, 15:00
USA v Ghana, 16R, 19:30
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Germany v England, 16R, 15:00
Argentina v Mexico, 16R, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips Competition 3nd group games
« on: June 20, 2010, 02:33:00 AM »
Deadline is Tuesday 3:00 Irish Time, when the first games start

Format for entries is username followed by game winner or 'Draw', all separated by commas.
Dec,France,Draw,Argentina,South Korea,England,USA,Serbia,Germany,Paraguay,Italy,Netherlands,Denmark,Ivory Coast,Draw,Spain,Switzerland

Tuesday, 22 June 2010
France v South Africa, Gp A, 15:00
Mexico v Uruguay, Gp A, 15:00
Greece v Argentina, Gp B, 19:30
Nigeria v South Korea, Gp B, 19:30
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Slovenia v England, Gp C, 15:00
USA v Algeria, Gp C, 15:00
Australia v Serbia, Gp D, 19:30
Ghana v Germany, Gp D, 19:30
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Paraguay v New Zealand, Gp F, 15:00
Slovakia v Italy, Gp F, 15:00
Cameroon v Netherlands, Gp E, 19:30
Denmark v Japan, Gp E, 19:30
Friday, 25 June 2010
North Korea v Ivory Coast, Gp G, 15:00
Portugal v Brazil, Gp G, 15:00
Chile v Spain, Gp H, 19:30
Switzerland v Honduras, Gp H, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips Competition 2nd group games
« on: June 14, 2010, 01:51:54 AM »
This is for the 2nd set of group games.

Format is username and then the name of the team you think will win or 'Draw' seperated by commas


The deadline is before the first game kicks off ie 7:30 on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010
South Africa v Uruguay, Gp A, 19:30
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Argentina v South Korea, Gp B, 12:30
Greece v Nigeria, Gp B, 15:00
France v Mexico, Gp A, 19:30
Friday, 18 June 2010
Germany v Serbia, Gp D, 12:30
Slovenia v USA, Gp C, 15:00
England v Algeria, Gp C, 19:30
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Netherlands v Japan, Gp E, 12:30
Ghana v Australia, Gp D, 15:00
Cameroon v Denmark, Gp E, 19:30
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Slovakia v Paraguay, Gp F, 12:30
Italy v New Zealand, Gp F, 15:00
Brazil v Ivory Coast, Gp G, 19:30
Monday, 21 June 2010
Portugal v North Korea, Gp G, 12:30
Chile v Switzerland, Gp H, 15:00
Spain v Honduras, Gp H, 19:30

General discussion / World Cup Tips competition
« on: June 09, 2010, 05:41:25 PM »
World Cup tips competition

Scoring system
Group games 1 point for correct result (Correct result means name the winner or 'Draw')
2nd round 2 points
QF 4 points
SF 8 points
Final 16 points

Format: username and then the results of each game seperated by commas, country name or 'Draw'.

dec,Draw,France,Draw,Argentina,England,Slovenia,Serbia,Germany,Netherlands,Draw,Italy,Slovakia,Ivory Coast,Brazil,Chile,Spain

Note the username as the first thing on the line. It makes it easier for me to handle the results in a spreadsheet.

The games should be listed in the order I have listed the games below.
I will put up further fixtures 2-3 days before the games start.

Deadline for this set is one hour before the first game kicks off ie. 2pm on Friday afternoon (Irish time)

Friday, 11 June 2010
South Africa v Mexico, Gp A, 15:00
Uruguay v France, Gp A, 19:30
Saturday, 12 June 2010
South Korea v Greece, Gp B, 12:30
Argentina v Nigeria, Gp B, 15:00
England v USA, Gp C, 19:30
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Algeria v Slovenia, Gp C, 12:30
Serbia v Ghana, Gp D, 15:00
Germany v Australia, Gp D, 19:30
Monday, 14 June 2010
Netherlands v Denmark, Gp E, 12:30
Japan v Cameroon, Gp E, 15:00
Italy v Paraguay, Gp F, 19:30
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
New Zealand v Slovakia, Gp F, 12:30
Ivory Coast v Portugal, Gp G, 15:00
Brazil v North Korea, Gp G, 19:30
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Honduras v Chile, Gp H, 12:30
Spain v Switzerland, Gp H, 15:00

Is it time for management contracts in GAA?

Mon, Dec 07, 2009

LOCKER ROOM: The management of a senior intercounty team is an extraordinary feat for any amateur to perform, writes TOM HUMPHRIES

NOT LONG after Dublin won the All-Ireland final of 1976 the players were summoned to a meeting in a central Dublin hotel. At the meeting Kevin Heffernan told them he was stepping down as manager. Before they left the Gresham that night the players had selected Tony Hanahoe to be their new manager. It was under the aegis of Hanahoe that Dublin won the memorable 1977 All-Ireland. At some stage after that, in a manoeuvre borrowed from Lanigan’s Ball, Hanahoe stepped out and Heffernan stepped in again.

It was all very civilised and under the enlightened chairmanship of Jimmy Grey the Dublin County Board felt no need to interfere in the running of a happy and successful team.

Of course Dublin were top of the heap at the time. Except in Cork, where putting manners on lads is a priority, success rarely makes a failure of a home where there are medals crowding the mantelpiece. It would be interesting though to look back and wonder what might have happened had the Dublin County Board decided it wanted to try a bit of croppy lie down with its most charismatic team ever.

That was all so long ago and in GAA terms the long ago is the least likely place to find signs of enlightenment. The Dublin County Board was happy though and felt no need to interfere in a situation where players were happy too. Since then what we call with casual hyperbole “the cult of the manager” has taken root. Heffernan and Mick O’Dwyer were the first managers deemed to have achieved cult status and since then just about any manager who wins an All-Ireland is elevated, in the media at least, to the rank of guru.

We forget, of course, that by default somebody must be left standing and some county has to win the All-Ireland every year. We know only that it won’t be Mayo. There have been years in both football and hurling when we really should (by public vote or through Joe Duffy) have just said that given the poor and uninspiring standard of play no prize will be awarded. Instead we crown somebody guru every September and a host of the other counties slavishly follow the style of the guru for the next 12 months.

The manufacturing of so many gurus, of course, has the downside of inevitable and widespread disappointment. There is no warranty with a guru. History has proven this is more likely to be a problem in hurling where both within the blue-blood counties and without there is a belief that the mysteries of the game are so vast as to be unknowable to all but an elect few Brahmins.

The whole business of players discontent with managers is so much more pronounced in hurling than it is in football for that simple reason. There is a suspicion that you need certain credentials granted by Hogwarts to turn players into All-Ireland hurlers.

In reality what you need is what the Americans used to call people skills. Sometimes you are the right fit. Sometimes you are not. It’s about intuition.

Hence Ger Loughnane, who brought an infinitely less gifted Clare team to a couple of All-Irelands in the 1990s, departed Galway with his tail between his legs. Babs was not the right man for Offaly or for the modern day Tipp players. Michael Bond could intuit what was happening with Offaly and pitched his sail to ride the winds. Justin got so far in Waterford and no further. John Meyler got the heave in Wexford. Mike Mac has his back to the wall in Clare. Gerald Mac got the shoulder in Cork and the man has yet to live who will make all of Limerick happy now that the memory of their three Under-21 All-Irelands in a row is receding.

Hurling is a strange game. Brian Cody, whose guru credentials none of us can question, once said after a helter-skelter match in Croker that standing on the sideline there was very little which could be done to influence the outcome, the game unfolds so quickly and is over sometimes before you have discerned a trend.

This was the sort of admission that only an outrageously successful manager in Kilkenny could make. The game does run at electric pace and on the crazy days when two teams throw everything at it you can spend a few minutes watching your corner forward to see if he is afraid of the corner back or what and meanwhile your own corner back might get taken for 1-2 because your centre back is allowing himself to get pulled hither and thither into the space being left by the midfielder who is occupying the spot left by the right wing forward who is going back to sweep and preventing any ball from reaching your corner forward in the first place.

Hurling is strange because in the absence of a transfer system the counties who have their structure right and their hurling culture in order will inevitably float to the top again and again. Very few of the revolutions we have seen over the years are sustainable because the energy fades or football reasserts itself or the guru goes past his expiration date.

And yet every year with increasing frequency we see these outbreaks borne of discontent or heartache in hurling counties. The fall guys are usually men in their middle years or beyond who fail to connect fully with the dressingroom. Men who have a bit of success under their belts and have lost the ability to re-invent themselves.

And that’s the lesson perhaps for the GAA. The management of any senior intercounty team is an extraordinary feat for any amateur to perform. A panel of 30 or more players has to be kept happy along with a county board and the clubs. The details of every row you have or gaffe you make gets recounted in 30 homes that very evening after training and then gets exponential circulation the next day.

And in a structure where there will be just one winner and 31 failures every year you have to keep selling yourself to your players and to your board and to the public. You have to apply discipline but act with humility. You must endure the input of every dog and divil who stops you on the street.

We need to hit a new age of enlightenment when it comes to the appointment of intercounty managers. Cork were on to something when they appointed players’ reps on to the committee which appointed new managers, but the system was doomed when the players chose to take the positions themselves and the county board chose to ride roughshod over the committee anyway.

Ultimately though, as every season’s unrest proves, it is the players’ game. They own it. If you give your time voluntarily and if you come to believe you are wasting that time it is your right to withdraw your services and submit to golf. Nobody has any contracts.

And that is the next step surely. Contracts. Job Descriptions. Now is the wrong environment to be considering this in but what is wrong with management contracts within the GAA? Suppose the association came up with the notion of a three-year contract which required a county manager to take a sabbatical from work and devote himself not just to the senior intercounty team three nights a week but to overseeing the structures of the sport within the county, to making sure all parts of a standard template were functioning. In the winter time the low profile work of coaching the coaches and spreading the guruness would be his bread and butter. In the spring and summer the county team would have first claim on his time.

He’d have some security. A county like Roscommon might be able to afford the enthusiasm and organisation of an Anthony Daly or a Liam Griffin. And county boards would be a lot more careful about who they recruited and who they didn’t recruit.

Croke Park could appoint somebody with the expertise to standardise contracts and advise on recruitment etc. Whatever the rights or wrongs of every dispute which distracts us in the winter the GAA can’t go on like this. High performance expertise in, say amateur boxing, has been bought and paid for with obvious results in the last few years.

The GAA does an under-the-table version of the same from club to county level anyway. Flooding that whole murky area with light would serve everybody well.

© 2009 The Irish Times

GAA Discussion / Preferred system for All Ireland Football championship
« on: October 29, 2009, 08:02:43 PM »
1) Current Backdoor system
What we've had since 2001

2) Old Provincial/sudden death
What we had until 2000

3) Champions League/World Cup
Some form of groups followed by knock-out

4) Open Draw
No Provincial championships, just all names in a hat.

I know there are variations I have left out, but I think this covers all the main options that get discussed.

GAA Discussion / Caption Competition
« on: October 21, 2009, 09:28:32 PM »

Joe Kernan: GAA could do with Kidney transplant

If the GAA has much to celebrate this year given that it is now 125 years in existence – and stronger -than ever, let it be added – then two other sports currently have huge reasons for jubilation.

Rugby and boxing have over the course of the past few days combined to transform Ireland from a gloom-ridden, apprehensive, nervous country into a buoyant, confident, proud land.

Granted, the feelgood factor may be of a temporary nature but it is palpable nonetheless – so much so, indeed, that hard-nosed politicians have put their differences to the one side, sporting boundaries have been transcended with consummate ease and perceived religious and class barriers have suddenly become non-existent.

We may all be feeling the financial pinch but our hearts are happy. And if success is encapsulated in a Grand Slam triumph after a 61-year famine and a significant world boxing title, then it has been accompanied, too, by two qualities that are often conspicuous by their absence in sport and in society in general – honesty and humility.

The GAA fraternity in particular will doubtless have taken on board Declan Kidney’s modest appraisal of the achievement of his Ireland side and his diplomatic evasion of a war of words with his Welsh counterpart Warren Gatland.

How refreshing to note the manner in which success was embraced without bombastic triumphalism and minus the insiduous goading that has become all too much part of some of our sporting arenas, including our GAA stadia

And if Kidney’s quiet, courteous demeanour masked the steely resolve of one of the most successful sporting coaches of any hue that this country has produced, then Bernard Dunne’s physical courage, iron will and subsequent uncomplicated assessment of the greatest night of his life made utterly compelling viewing.

My heart may belong to the GAA but my mind remains open to the lessons that can be absorbed from other sports – and there was certainly plenty of scope for learning over the course of last weekend.

When I considered the massive demands made on the human body at both the Millennium Stadium and the 02 Arena, I could not help thinking that perhaps we in the GAA tend to lose the run of ourselves on occasions.

Do we, for instance, really need to have recourse to the Disputes Resolution Authority as often as we do? Would a little more honesty, perhaps laced with a flavouring of humility, not render this unnecessary? And, in what we like to euphemistically refer to as a man’s game, is not the ratio of cowardly acts rather too high?

We were all provided with food for thought last week-end not only by optimum performances from those charged with cementing national pride but from the gracious manner in which they took delivery of their hard-earned spoils of victory..

The celebrations are still continuing, of course. And so too are the events mapped out to mark the GAA’s 125 anniversary.

How fitting it would be, too, if the National League title could be retained in Ulster for another year. Derry are certainly striving to ensure this and their clash with Tyrone on Saturday night should be an absolute cracker and I’ll be surprised if there is less than a five-figure crowd in Healy Park.

Likewise, the turnstiles will click merrily at Crossmaglen where a now upbeat Armagh will host Meath while Fermanagh will seek to add more misery on Kieran McGeeney following his team’s capitulation last Sunday.

And my good friend Seamus McEnaney will have his work cut out in trying to steer Monaghan past Division Two table-toppers Cork while Down boss Ross Carr badly needs a pick-me-up at Offaly’s expense.

Donegal should gain at Westmeath’s expense, Cavan will find it tough against Roscommon and Antrim should edge past Sligo.

General discussion / May the Force be with you.
« on: September 12, 2008, 02:19:04 AM »
Star Wars Jedi Knights course offered by Queen's University Belfast

The UK's first Jedi course is on offer at Queen's University Belfast in November and hopes to attract Star Wars fans and introduce them to the joys of continuing their education through open learning.

According to its publicity material, the course 'Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way' teaches the "real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks".

It also claims to examine the "wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood and fascism".

No prior qualifications are required and the blurb informs students that "light sabres are not provided".

Allen Baird, the course leader, said he hoped his novel approach would attract younger people to open learning.

"I hope to get more people interested in life-long learning," Dr Baird said. "It is not just about the Star Wars films. It is also about the sociological and political issues that are addressed in the films."

To those who might be tempted to write-off the course as a publicity stunt, Dr Baird said: "I suppose the parallel is with the Scout Movement's use of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book.

"It doesn't mean that one has to believe that the stories are true, but they can be used as a teaching aid. I am trying to find a platform through popular culture to bring people back to learning."

The one-day course costs £23 and Dr Baird hopes to attract 30-40 students.

The course has been established the year after the UK's first Jedi Church was founded by the brothers Barney and Daniel Jones in Anglesea, Wales.

General discussion / Irish Times free online from Monday
« on: June 28, 2008, 08:58:24 PM »

Good news.

The Irish Times will publish under its own title online from Monday morning with the launch of a new site for the newspaper, . Access to the site will be free.

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