Wednesday 10 June 2009

Wednesday 13 May 2009

The Rock calls it a day

Thanks for the past decade Diarmuid...
More here.

Friday 8 May 2009

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Football teaser - the answer

1 - Mikael Silvestre - MU/ ARS
2 - Nicolas Anelka - LIV/ CHE/ ARS
3 - Paul Ince - MU/ LIV
4 - Mark Hughes - MU/ CHE
5 - Emmanuel Petit - CHE/ ARS<
6 - Juan Sebastian Veron - CHE/ MU
7 - Bolo Zenden - LIV/ CHE
8 - Ashley Cole - CHE/ ARS
9 - William Gallas - CHE/ ARS
10- Paul Parker - MU/ CHE
11- Mark Bosnich - MU/ CHE
12- Jermaine Pennant - ARS/ LIV
13- Lassana Diarra - CHE/ ARS

I got 12 ... you?

Football teaser

I'm partial to a good quiz question, particularly sport related. I got an absolute cracker from a buddy yesterday.
"Name 13 players who have played Premier League football with at least 2 of the 'Big 4' teams. And the teams they played with."
Answers to follow in a day or so, I'm currently on 12. Oh, and no Google or Wiki - playing this one honest!

Friday 24 April 2009

Some Lions based humour flying about on email today - enjoy!

Some nice re-use Chuck Norris jokes her in the reasons why Paul O'Connell is the Lions captain. And below Quinny and Earls Lions diaries...
  • Paul O Connell can assemble the entire contents of an IKEA store without instructions or an allan key.
  • When Paul O Connell was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.
  • Every mathematical inequality officially ends with "<>
  • If you wake up in the morning, it's because Paul O Connell spared your life.
  • Paul O Connell won the Tour de France on a unicycle to prove to Lance Armstrong it wasn't a big deal. He thinks yellow wristbands are gay.
  • What colour is Paul O Connell's blood? Trick question. Paul O Connell does not bleed.
  • Paul O Connell once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.
  • When Paul stares into the sun, the sun flinches.
  • If it tastes like chicken, looks like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Paul O Connell says its beef. Then it's beef.
  • James Bond has a license to kill. Paul O Connell don't need any licenses.
  • Paul O Connell' calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Paul O Connell.
  • 1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Paul O Connell. Sounds like a fair fight.
  • Paul O Connell played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.
  • Paul O Connell once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.
  • You can lead a horse to water. Paul O Connell can make him drink.
  • Paul O Connell once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.
  • When you open a can of whoop-ass, Paul O Connell jumps out.
  • Killing Paul O Connell doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.
  • Paul O Connell does the Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle in ink.
  • When Google can't find something, it asks Paul O Connell for help.
  • There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Paul O Connell way. It's basically the right way but faster and more deaths.
  • When Paul O Connell watches a pot, it boils immediately.
  • Paul O Connell once killed a group of Samurai Warriors with only a ball point pen. This lead to the phrase "The pen is mightier than the sword."
  • Paul O Connell has been to Mars. That's why there's no life on Mars.
  • When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Paul O'Connell.
  • Superman wears Paul O Connell pyjamas

    My First Lions Tour Diary, by Keith Earls

    Today I joined a team called De Lyons. Haven't seen any tea yet. They wear Red though so must be OK.There are some fellas from outside Munster here who are not from New Zealand or wherever Mafi comes from.
    POC and Quinnie told me not to speak to the Leinster boys, as they were a bad lot who might 'give me ideas' and that I might '; Get above myself'. Spent the rest of the day trying to stay under myself. This is not easy.
    PLayed the first game against a team called Saffers. The ground was harder than in Thomond, and we played under something called the sun.
    Scored three tries in the first half. Jerry Flannery warned me 'I was not bigger than the team' and that I had almost missed a tackle.
    Concentrated on my defensive play in the second half so only got two tries. After the game Paulie called me a good lad and ruffled my hair and gave me a strawberry cream chupa chup. My favourite!

    My Tour Diary by Alan Quinlan

    Played first test. Managed to successfully goad the South Africans to attack me en masse. 6 sent off. Afterwards gave Schalk Burger back his jock-strap. Pilfering it in a ruck was what kicked it all off. What larks! He took it in good spirit, really, and it only took fourteen security guards to hold him back. Roll on next week, when I hope to bring home someone's ear as a nice souvenir of my time here.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Lions squad announcement

I am very much looking forward to the Lions announcement this afternoon. News on the BBC yesterday suggests Paul O'Connell will get the nod as captain. I'm delighted for him as he's a natural leader on the pitch and has been unlucky to be on the same team as another leader of his stature, Brian O'Driscoll.There shouldn't be any major surprises in the squad, other than maybe the inclusion of Johnny Wilkinson. Although with his Wasps connections McGeechan may opt for Danny Cipriani.
Of the 36 I'm expecting about a dozen each for Ireland and Wales, 7 or 8 Englishmen and a handful of Scots. Find out if I'm right at 13.30.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool

Absolutely gutted.

But what a game...

Monday 6 April 2009

Cats show superiority

Denis Walsh can be under no illusion about the task ahead of him this year, having seen his Cork team demolished by a well-oiled Kilkenny machine. Walsh knew there was plenty of work to do when he took the job, but a 4-26 to 0-11 trouncing is an indication of how far off the pace this team is.
Having secured Division 1 status it is fair to say that the league campaign can be rated a relative success - or at least not a total failure. With seven weeks to the Munster championship versus Tipp this result should prove a true assessment of the damage done over the past few months. That said Kilkenny are leagues ahead of the rest and Cork could go out and compete with any other team in the competition.
The question is whether they can bridge some of that gap to the Cats, a feat which no other team has been able to do this decade.
Match reports from Tony Considine and Tom Humphries.

Friday 27 March 2009

Walsh takes over the in Rebel hot seat

Fantastic news in this morning's papers as Denis Walsh is named the new Cork hurling manager. Walsh, seen below in his playing days was a dual star for the Rebels winning All-Ireland medals in both codes (hurling in 1986 & 1990; football in 1989).
I for one, am very excited by the appointment. My early GAA memories revolve around the 1987 -1990 footballers who battled it out with Meath and Mayo for All Ireland football titles and the 1990 hurling team which made it a double for Cork.
The St. Catherine's man was a stalwart of those teams and the fact that he was picked by three well regarded Cork GAA men, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, John Fenton and Denis Coughlan, speaks volumes.
One half of the strike debate is now over and the team can focus on the on-pitch action. Of that we are all glad. As for the second part, that responsibility is with the clubs and the county board and I would hold out strong hope that that too will be resolved without any further confrontation.

Monday 23 March 2009

Perfect sporting weekend

This weekend just passed must be close to the perfect sporting weekend. The main story was certainly Ireland's historic Grand Slam win after 61 years. It was - in the end - a gripping game of rugby which went to the very last kick. Overall, the team deserved the victory and I'm delighted that the current bunch of players achieved what they have promised for so long. During the earlier rugby games on Saturday I had one eye on the Premier League and was both shocked and delighted to see Man Utd and Chelsea lose. Utd's two dismissal's may also play a part in their next fixture versus Aston Villa. Liverpool put any fears of a slip up to rest in the first 30 minutes on Sunday and eventually cruised to a 5-0 win versus Villa. Looks like game on in the league.

In other sporting news Bernard Dunne won his first world title win an 11th round stoppage in Dublin, in the early hours of Sunday morning, so well done to him. And the Cork hurlers were back with the 14 changes helping the team to overcome a six point deficit with ten minutes to go. A late burst of ten unanswered points from the rebels gave them their first win of the season.

So a great weekend all round - more of the same please!

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Dreaming in green...

So while the Cork county board meet the chairmen of the clubs I thought I'd turn my attention to this weekend's Six Nations action. It's been a mixed bag for Declan Kidney's men in the first three games of this year's championship. That aside, 2009 provides a clear opportunity to win the country's first championship since 1985 and maybe, just maybe, a first Grand Slam since 1948.

Looking at the three games so far the only thing you would say they had in common was that Ireland won them. The French game was one of the best games of rugby I have seen in some time with both teams dominating in turn and Ireland's defence making the difference in the end. The Italian game was a brutish clash of culture with the Italian negativity not enough to hold back the Irish. Finally, the English game which was simply bad - O'Gara's uncharacteristic performance almost cost us the game.
That said, three wins down and two games to go. It's interesting to see the four changes for the Scotland game as Kidney may have one eye on the Wales game the week after. Either way that will be the decider as the championship will almost certainly go to the winner of that match. So fingers crossed. We won't get carried away but focus on Murrayfield and take it from there.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Gerald resigns

Breaking news a short time ago that the inevitable has happened and Gerald Mac has resigned tonight - It's a terrible shame that it has come to this and that this event will be a black mark on the career of a distinguished player and coach.
Ultimately, it's the fact that the board put Gerald in this position first day and he was possibly too proud too hang it up after two average years.
The county board used him as a pawn in their efforts to control the Cork team's and unfortunately he allowed himself to be used in this. Hopefully now the clubs will follow through and ensure the second motion on the role of club delegates is upheld also.

Tick, tock.....

Not much more to add to the Cork saga as we await tonight's "information and consultation" meeting between club chairmen and the county board. Latest here in the Times and here in the Examiner.
And of course you have always got the opinion of the People's Republic to fall back on!

Saturday 7 March 2009

Allen's words echo the thoughts of many

Fantastic article in the Irish Times today from former Cork manager John Allen - Pray democracy is finally coming to the Cork GAA. Any Cork fans reading this piece won't be able to deny the truth in Allen's words in the opening paragraphs, where he recounts the successes and solidarity of the 2003-2006 seasons.
Reading through his comments recalls the excitement of those four finals in a row - losing to Kilkenny first before stopping their three-in-a-row in 2004, winning again the following year before Kilkenny came back to deny us in kind. As a formerly football focused Corkonian,those years under the guidance of Donal O'Grady and then Allen himself, were a turning point in my preferences. That team should be going down in history as one of the finest ever to play, not being derided as troublemakers.
John Allen worked with the panel all through the period, two years as a selector and two as manager. The fact that they were getting beaten by nine points in an All-Ireland semi-final just two years after his tenure ended is testament to the regression in Cork hurling in that period.
Now that the county board has agreed to meet the club chairmen next week the hope I (and all Cork fans) maintain is that this chapter can be brought to a close.
The 2008 panel must return to the fold under a new management team - mixed with those currently playing under McCarthy where appropriate - and Cork are somewhat competitive in the 2009 championship. In reality this year is a washout for the Rebels, but if the board gets their way, Cork will be in the doldrums for many seasons to come.

Friday 6 March 2009

The clubs are speaking...loud and clear.

My home club, Douglas, voted last night in an EGM on the current impasse between the 2008 Hurling panel and the Cork County Board. Club members turned out in force to have their say, in scenes which are being repeated across the county all week.

156 members attended last night, faced with two motions:
1. Should Gerald McCarthy and the 2009 management team step down?
Yes - 134 (86%); No - 19 (12%); Spoiled - 3 (2%)

2. Should club delegates return to their clubs for guidance before voting on motions raised by the county board?
Yes - 149 (96%); No - 5 (3%); Spoiled - 2 (1%)

Chairmen of the county's clubs are due to meet independent of the players tonight in Clonakilty, before meeting the payers again on Sunday night in Douglas. In between at least another ten clubs will hold EGM's to vote on the motions above. This follows overwhelming support from the members of Nemo Rangers, Ballincollig and Na Piarsigh.

There is some concern however than junior clubs are not going to be represented in nay discussion at next week's county board meeting as their divisions are not going to hold a vote in advance of that meeting. More on that here.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

That's the positive thinking I like

From the Irish Examiner online:

O'Gorman hopeful of end to Cork impasse
04/03/2009 - 13:06:02

Munster GAA chairman Jimmy O’Gorman has said he expects the Cork GAA crisis to end soon.

Speaking at the launch of the Cadbury's Munster U21 Football Championship in Mallow last night, O'Gorman said that the GAA has solved greater problems in the past.

He said that Cork has provided the GAA with some of its best players and administrators over the years and told reporter Shaun Cronin that he believes Cork will field a full team against Tipperary in the Munster Hurling Championship.

Especially as the county board are being so open and conciliatory of late ;-)

Thursday 26 February 2009

Board under fire

So is the tide finally turning in the Cork County board versus hurlers debate? Michael Moynihan does a good summation of the past few weeks in today's Examiner. The people of Cork are certainly hurting over this, no matter which side of the argument they are on.

It's become something of an embarrassment at this point, but I for one don't want it washed over - it needs to be resolved properly and openly and in good time that we don't lose our footballers as well. The key facts which Moynihan focuses on include the following:
  • The chairmen and club representatives met the players on Sunday and gave them overwhelming support (Over 60% of all Cork clubs showed up)
  • On Friday GAA President-elect Christy Cooney and director-general Pauric Duffy proposed a solution, taking the selectiopn of senior intercounty managers tfrom the county executive
  • "Cooney is a former chairman of Cork County Board and has an intimate knowledge of its operations. What does that say about his co-authorship of that emasculating document"
  • Two weeks ago five times more people protested on the streets of Cork as went to see the league match in the Pairc
  • Last year the panel said no to another two years of Gerald McCarthy, well in advance of the new selection.
It's a fairly comprehensive list all told and there isn't a lot of unreasonable demands in there - in fact there is only one. It's clear the board initiated this dispute with Gerald's reappointment and now are hiding behind the rules they have written themselves. The lkatter point was proved when the Chairman came out and siad the clubs and players EGM "have absolutely no standing in rule".

Well that position isn't washing anymore. The players have spoken, the people have spoken and the clubs have spoken.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Any end in sight? There is yeah, boy!

It's now nearly a month since my hopeful assertion that the whole saga of the Cork hurlers looked to be coming to a close - It seems I was wrong. As things stand I hope that the rescheduled meeting of players and club officials will go ahead as planned tonight.
I am strongly in favour of a fair democratic process in Cork GAA and it is clear that the current 'democracy' is not fair in way, shape or form.
If the clubs go against the 2008 panel, then I fully expect them to disband as per their word, and allow the team to move on. If this is the case we will most likely end up facing a couple of tough years with inexperienced players and we will be unlikely to compete until 2011, when a new coach has his pick of the county's best.
I can't see the clubs going against the players however - and how they vote with their attendance or absence tonight will tell a lot.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Wind-up comedy gold

Steve Staunton for Chelsea?...surely not! Anyhow I'm not entirely sure Peter Kenyon even knew who he was talking to, even before he figured out it was a wind-up.

Thursday 29 January 2009

Cork County Board: Who do you belong to?

I'd be eager to know if anyone can add anything to this bit of research, done by a friend of a friend. slightly off the players strike topic, yet relevant in terms of highlighting the working of Cork GAA.

Ok folks ... been doing a small bit of research in the last week into the activities of the CCB, or lack thereof. Got some info from the Companies Registration Office and it turns out that there is a company known as the Cork Athletic Grounds Company Limited which was incorporated in 1903 and which seems to have been running the affairs of Cork GAA for over 100 years.

Now it would cost me almost €200 to get all the info ever submitted to the CRO by this crowd, so I made do with the "accounts" for 2006. Having said that, it seems that this company submitted its "accounts" only intermittently over the years, and it has been late submitting its accounts for 2007. I showed this stuff to an accountant, who said that while there is nothing illegal on the face of it, the 2006 accounts represent "horrendous corporate governance", the likes of which he had never seen before, and something that the stakeholders in the SME company for which he works would not tolerate. No assets were listed on the balance sheet, other than 900 odd shares worth 2 euros each, 800 of which are owned by the cork county board. Therefore, in 2006 the Cork County Board claimed to be worth 1,800 bones. A likely story.

The remaining shareholders (about 40) were named with addresses in the inner city like the North Mall, North Main St, Princess St and so on. I do not recognise one of these names, and they certainly don't live in those addresses, and my accountant friend thought twas weird; I suspect many of these people are long dead. My accountant friend considered the whole thing a shelf company at this stage. The company's auditors are Gordon Lane & Co. on Academy St., who do not seem to be doing a very thorough job of things. Three directors were listed: Frank Murphy, Pierce Murphy and the late Con Muphy. [Pricks all].

That's not the end of the story. Without dissolving the Cork Athletic Grounds Co., it seems that a new company has been formed in the past 12 months called the Cork County GAA Board SES Company Limited. An SES company is a FÁS creation from the mid 1980s, and stands for Social Employment Scheme. It was heavily criticised back in the day and seems to have been fallen out of favour years ago to be replaced with CE schemes, but not so for our intrepid county board.

In an entirely unrelated aside, no coincidence whatsoever, the ranking officer of that rotten State agency FÁS is the current President elect of the GAA and Frank's PlaceMan in Croke Park for the Latest War on Our Hurlers, Christy Cooney. This Cork County GAA Board SES Company Limited lists 2 directors and a secretary, namely, Frank Murphy, Pierce Murphy and a Declan Walsh from Timoleague, and while it contains 100,000 shares, only 100 have been issued, 50 to Frank and 50 to Pierce (none to Declan).

My accountant tells me that this means Pierce and Frank effectively own the Cork County Board. Now whether that's on trust or not, I think that is fucking shocking. More importantly, because less than 10% of the shares are controlled by any one director, this company is exempt from audit under the Companies Acts. This means that they can spin any old yarn at the county convention on how much the players' spa treatment and facials or whatever cost ordinary Gaels of "dis great association" etc. It also means that, just as we all suspected down the years, that Frank indeed does pay himself and that nobody can scrutinize the accounts.

A few final points.
  • First, all this information is available from the CRO and is such is in the public domain, so no need for the mods to take it down.
  • Second, my accountant tells me that the GAA has centralised its own auditing procedure and does a good job of it; therefore there is little suspicion that fraud is being perpetrated, although personally I think the CCB is controlled by crooks.
  • Third, the only way to take action on this is to inform the revenue, but unfortunately the revenue would not regard this as high priority. Besides, a high ranking member of the CCB is a high ranking member of the revenue, IIRC, so we would get short shrift.
Still though, tis a start and it would be good to let the fuckers know that we're breathing down their necks.......

Update as of 09/03/2009
There has been a few comments on the legitimacy of this post on the LaoisTalk forum of late so I just wanted to point out that I did not state this as first hand knowledge - that's clarified at the top.
In saying that I did post the information I was given and without paying the €200 for the full information I can point people to
here or here. Both sites back up the basics of the piece.
For further information I suggest calling the Cork County Board - and good luck with that ;-)

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Cork Hurling dispute

As the Cork Hurling dispute comes slowly to a conclusion - I sincerely hope - I am going to jot down a few bits about the whole thing.

Ultimately however, it has been a difficult few weeks to be a fan of Cork Hurling. I just hope it is resolved in the right way and we can get on with playing the game - that's what we're better at anyway.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

BBC’s Gaza decision awash with contradiction

So, again we find the BBC dominating the headlines for reasons of controversy. Unless you have been doing a Rip van Winkle impression this past week you will have seen the news that both the BBC and Sky have refused to air a DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) appeal for aid to help the people of Gaza, following the Israeli withdrawal last week. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five all aired the appeal on Monday.

Without getting too embroiled in the politics of the appeal, it is worth considering the implications for the media. The BBC has argued that to show it would impinge on their impartiality. It could be suggested that not showing it does this even more so. Tony Benn, appearing on BBC News 24, voiced his disapproval vociferously and defied the host’s wishes by reading the address of the appeal a number of times.

Tony Benn on News 24:

The BBC position, as voiced by the host, was that there could be no guarantee that the money would get to those it was intended for, i.e. that Hamas would use it for military purposes against Israel. This is a dubious reason at best and one which could be used against any appeal to a war ravaged region. Michael Palin, for example, did an appeal regarding Rwanda for the BBC in 1994 and that was OK.

The Beeb has left itself open to the criticism which has followed this decision. As recently as November 2008 the it aired a DEC appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo, fronted by Juliet Stephenson, which begs the question: Why did this appeal not impact on the BBC’s impartiality? In the Rwanda appeal Palin asks for the aid to help the "ordinary people of Rwanda" - what about the ordinary people of Gaza, or does the BBC consider them all Hamas militants?

The BBC's Congo Appeal in Novemebr2008:

Further more, does the BBC, as the UK's national broadcaster, not have a responsibility to show this type of appeal, regardless of the politics of the situation? And does this say something fundamental about those in charge of the mainstream media that such politically biased decisions can be made and maintained?

Thursday 22 January 2009

Gaza cartoon

I am a big fan of Steve bell and Martin Rowson who do the cartoons for the Guardian. They are always right on topic and usually very clever.

This one last week I particularly liked.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Disastrous result for the 'Pool

Disastrous result Monday night. There's no other way to slice it. For the first 8 or ten games this year Liverpool looked like champions - having found that missing ingredient which lets teams win games they have no right to. But of late (by which I mean about the last 3 months!) that ability has completely dissipated.

That's draw number eight this season - no other team has drawn more games than that. Having talked about draws a few weeks ago, the evidence is there that they are like a disease that sneaks up on you. Liverpool are unbeaten in the league since November 1st - 11 games - but 6 of theses games have been drawn, which has taken a five point lead over Utd and turned it into a probable 3 point deficit (with Utd's game in hand being Fulham).

I've been mulling over this change and I personally feel it is that the team doesn't know its own level of mental fortitude, having not been in this position before. You can talk about Torres being out but we won plenty of games away from home without him (Newcastle 5-1; Blackburn 3-1), so why not at home? It has to be mental strength and concentration, when you drop points at home to Fulham, West Ham, etc.

My main worry now is the pressure these draws have put on us going into two games, which IMO will make or break our season. Wigan away is one of the toughest games of this season (they seem to have taken over from Bolton as the place big teams don't like to go) and then Chelski at home. Anything less than six points from those and we could find ourselves behind Chelsea and five or six adrift of Utd.

That's my reality check done, because I'm still positive - believe it or not. We have a great squad and I'm pinning my hopes on this being the blip in our season. If we can get back on track and go to Utd (on March 14th) within 3 points of them - then I think we could be on our way to bringing the title back. Nando fully fit and a shot of confidence for Keane should turn the whole thing around again.

Come on red men!