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13 February 1997 Edition

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Sportsview: Wet Leeks

By Sean O Donaile

My sister was watching `Brookside' so I only got to see the last 20 minutes of the Ireland v Wales soccer match but I didn't seem to have missed much as the score was still 0-0 after 70 minutes as ``the lads'' skated up and down what looked like a mudrink. Ryan Giggs stayed away to keep his curls dry and he was replaced by the silky skills of Vinny Jones, the man who became a patriotic Welshman after failing to locate his Irish grandmother's birthcert (some say it was hid).

His Wimbledon teammate John Goodman came nearest to scoring in that time but was denied by another `Johnny-come-lately' Welshman, Mark Crossley, whose goalkeeping was one of the few positive Welsh contributions. Cardiff Arms Park is to be demolished soon, with the Welsh team in it, so they can concentrate on rugby, where they have some chance of winning games.

Ireland didn't look quite so miserable, but maybe that was because they had less mud on their shirts, and that man McGrath continues to shine in defence as did Gary Kelly when introduced. Still though, Tony Cascarino is still our top striker and all we have to look forward to is the return of Niall Quinn.

Back in Dublin 4, Johnny Giles seemed lost without Eamon Dunphy and he didn't even show any X's and O's on the screen. Presenter Bill O'Herlihy was over the top as usual, describing it as ``an historic night'', but then again he was Michael Lowry's publicity agent. Maybe Ben Dunne can buy us a new striker and complete Mick's jigsaw. And Celtic can have Cascarino back!

Further south in London town, Cabra's Celtic Warrior, complete with shillelagh and wolfhound, was busy pummelling another hapless opponent, Frederic Seillier, into submission. This was his sixth successful defence of his world title, and although not as glamorous as the Eubank-Benn clashes, it sets him up nicely for a tilt at Florida's Roy Jones, who currently doesn't seem interested.

Talking to a fellow boxer during the week he told the old story of Collins not being particularly outstanding as a young fighter, but being utterly committed to the point of refusing a biscuit at tea break, while his colleagues were busy discovering porter and the good life. He had the commitment to stay on in the USA in pursuit of the World title and bounced back from three successive title defeats in the early nineties to put a plug on Chris Eubank's gob and it's been all shamrocks and smiles since.

Speaking of big mouths, would someone put a plug in Prince Naseem's `beal mór' and give us all some peace. Ca bhfuil tú Francie Barrett?

Finally, a much ignored first occurred in Toronto last week when Ireland won its first ever Winter Olympics medals. While the rest of us were sleeping, the Irish Special Olympics team were helping themselves to 14 medals, including gold medalists Jacinta O'Neill, Liam Weir and Ronan Lenihan. A new beginning?

An Phoblacht Magazine


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