AP 3 - 2022 - 200-2

21 August 1997 Edition

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Sportsview: Offaly can go all the way

The truth appeared and spoke to many last Saturday evening in Croke Park. Offaly can go all the way this year and win the All Ireland football championship. A Meath team depleted by suspensions and perhaps psychologically undermined by their arduous Leinster campaign were completely outclassed by a rampant Offaly 3-17 to 1-15.

The Offaly victory means that only Down have managed to win two All-Irelands so far in the 1990s. Winning two back-to-back seems to be beyond any team.

The form Offaly showed was impressive and this team can go all the way and capture their first title since 1982. In fact the 1997 final could easily be a re-run of the 1982 encounter when Offaly cruelly shattered Kerry's dream of winning five All-Irelands in a row.

Tipperary 2-16, Wexford 0-15


``I'm off when Byrne comes on''. This was just one of the many comments I overheard from Wexford fans outside Croke Park last Sunday. It seemed to me that many sensed the end of their McCarthy cup campaign was nigh.

This did not stop thousands of Wexford supporters turning up to witness Tipperary consummately outclass the All-Ireland champions.

I suppose many Wexford minds turned over the thought that under the old format it would only have been Down that stood between them and a second All-Ireland final. They are the losers to the hurling championship's new format where beaten Leinster and Munster finalists get a second chance to get back into the competition.

False tradition


Debate on the new two year trial format has been simmering. Even here in An Phoblacht HQ there are widely differing opinions. One objection raised by many has been that it's traditional to have Provincial championships providing the qualifiers for the All-Ireland final. The GAA itself is only 113 years old and hurling as a sport is thousands of years old, so the traditionalists have a very weak case when supporting the old format. From my vantage point it has been a season of high quality hurling and packed games so what more could you want?

Marvellous Michelle


Just what is it that Michelle Smith de Bruin has to do to be accepted as the world class athlete she has shown herself to be? The barriers placed in her way from problems over accreditation for her coach, to being placed in the outside lane for qualifying still didn't prevent her winning gold in the 400 metres medley. Within minutes though she was sucked into yet another bureaucratic web. Michelle was being drug tested after the race and missed the mandatory press conference and now could be disqualified from her gold.

Isn't sporting officialdom amazing? Consider all the unproven slurs that have been made against Michelle Smith de Bruin and now she has been found guilty of missing a press conference. I only hope she can see the funny side.

Celtic 1, St Johnstone 0


Never on the weekend must be the motto of Celtic footballers. Midweek victories are acceptable, it seems, as they struggled past St Johnstone to the quarter finals of the League Cup which, even though it provides entry into Europe, is still very much a yellow pack competition.

Celtic are now bottom of the premiership after two losses and Tuesday night's victory was hardly convincing. The pundits in the know tell me that ``this team will take time to gel''. How much time have they got or will it be Division 1 next year?

BY NEIL FORDE

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland