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6 November 1997 Edition

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Sportsview: Bye, Bye, Mickey

The big news from the world of GAA is that Mickey Whelan has resigned as Dublin football manager after Sunday's defeat at the hands of Offaly in Parnell Park. And about time too. His two-year reign after the All-Ireland win of 1995 was nothing more than a disaster for the metropolitans. The Dubs were outclassed in nearly every department, from defence to the forward line. After two league defeats the prospect of Dublin in one of the lower divisions next year is a real possibility. Hopefully better days are to come.

On the footballing front Donegal beat a poor Derry side (missing their Dungiven players) with an eight-point margin at Ballybofey. No great surprises in any of the other sections with wins for Meath over neighbours Westmeath, Down over Tipp, and Tyrone over Sligo. All-Ireland champions Kerry beat Wexford with a lacklustre and laid back performance in Tralee.

There were some important club ties to be decided last weekend in both codes. East Kerry snatched the title from Laune Rangers, thus denying them three county titles in a row. In the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Dublin's O'Toole's beat St Mullin's of Carlow after a bad start in Dr Cullen Park. And no surprises as Kilkenny champions Dunnamaggin and Offaly's Birr defeated opposition from Kildare and Wicklow.

Special GAA conference

At a special conference in Dublin's Burlington Hotel the GAA discussed the issue of amateurism in the game. At the end of it all the decision was taken to relax the rules on total amateurism in the game. The conference voted to allow players to benefit from such activities as product endorsement or media appearances. According to former GAA President Peter Quinn: ``The association will continue to be an amateur body.'' I hope so. While stating at the conference that doing nothing in a changing society wasn't an option, I hope it does not see the GAA heading down the road to full-blooded professionalism. The amateur ethos is one of the reasons our Gaelic games are so special and unique. It would be a shame to see it lost to immoral five-figure wages, transfer fees and Rupert Murdoch/Sky TV and his vultures, who own nearly every other sport played in Britain or Ireland.

Bring on Rangers!

Another win for the Celts on Saturday. A 2-0 victory over Dunfermline thanks to goals from Blinker and Larsson. Hearts edged ahead with a 4-1 victory over Aberdeen to go top on goal difference. Confidence I'm sure is sky high in the Celtic camp going into Rangers' own backyard next Saturday. The `Huns' themselves had a 4-1 win over Kilmarnock. There can be no cock-ups. Rangers have to be beaten convincingly.

St Pat's went top of the League of Ireland after a 1-0 win over Dundalk at Richmond Park. Bohs and Cork played out a 1-1 draw, Cork equalising three minutes from time. On Saturday night Derry City continued to win with a late goal from Liam Coyle to seal the points against Finn Harps in the Northwest derby at the Brandywell.

Ireland's women's soccer team was also beaten in a World Cup qualifier at Tolka Park in Dublin by Poland, 1-0. The Poles are now four points clear of the Irish team, who have played a game less.

By Ciaran Heaphey

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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