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3 April 1997 Edition

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Sportsview: Ulster says...Maybe!

By Sean O'Donaile

It was always going to be difficult for Donegal hurlers in Division 3. With only two or three clubs and an odd Garda doing Mad Cow duty ``on the Bowerder'' to pick from, life was never going to be easy. Most of Donegal seem to be too busy following Celtic and Daniel O'Donnell to bother with the caman.

Not so Burt, a tiny parish on the Derry road, within a stone's throw of the historic Grianan Ailleach fort, Donegal's hurling heartland. They boast one of the country's finest pitches and have won about the last 23 County titles in a row. They supply the bulk of the County team. (Their captain, interviewed in the Donegal Democrat, said he ``would most like to meet'' heavy metal drummer Lars Ulrich. This makes a refreshing change from most GAA players, who ``would most like to meet'' The Pope or Mother Theresa.)

Donegal could have done with the miraculous Mother as they were no match for a rampant Down side, who should really have better things to be doing than languishing in Division 3, considering they were playing Offaly in the All Ireland Semi Final in 1995.

Similar to Donegal, Down draw from a miniscule number of clubs, and they also have to contend with their clubhouses being burnt out on occasion by loyalists. They were brought into the big time by Ballymurphy Maestro Sean McGuinness, who guided them to Division One of the league, and more importantly to two Ulster titles at the expense of McGuinness's native Antrim, who should have appointed him as manager in the first place. McGuinness proved himself and has since moved on and Down have since lived up to their name.

Antrim have their own problems at the moment, revolving around their continued failure to get past their ``day out'' in Dublin every August. They were fortunate enough to get past Kerry in Division Two on Sunday, while Derry, yet another Ulster side making inroads, accounted for Carlow, led by their almost-an-Allstar Ollie Collins. Ulster should naturally be a strong province, considering the `man himself', CuChulainn, was an Ulster man and he could drive the sliothar the length and breadth of Ireland, drink twenty barrels of porter and kill three hundred men at the same time!

At the glamour end of the league Wexford still haven't run the Guinness out of their systems, going down to Limerick by 0-18 to 0-16, and will have to go back to Fr Murphy and Our Lady's Island for a few more of last year's miracles.

Laois continued their downward spiral and Galway pipped everyone's favourites Tipperary, who deserved to lose as their supporters still wear sleeveless t-shirts, bandanas and straw hats in the winter. Everybody's favourites, Clare, dispatched Offaly, and if their forwards can keep their nerve, look set for another long summer.


Switching to motorsport: Unless you live next door to a race track or your Daddy gives you lots of money, you've no chance of becoming a Formula One Champion. Eddie Jordan's cars are busy driving into ditches and Eddie Irvine is busy driving into everybody else and it looks like yet another Williams year. The only result one can't call is the battle between Goodyear and Bridgestone over who will supply the bulk of the types for the speedsters.

I wonder what they were using in Scotstown?!

An Phoblacht
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