Joe Brolly recently called Keane the Kardashian of football.I think we can all agree that Kim is easier on the eye and less likely to get herself involved in an awkward staring match with a linesman in Scotland. Joe went on to accuse the assistant manager of having ”deep rooted psychological problems”. Brolly loves to talk. He was on the radio as a guest along with Paul Kimmage. Paul barely got a word in. Is there any truth intertwined with Joe’s ramblings ? Has Roy Keane added anything to the Ireland set up. Has the team improved as a result of his involvement ? Once again he is the center of attention for the wrong reasons. Can Martin O Neill and the FAI continue to defend his antics to the media and the fans ?
We all know Keane was and most probably still is a fantastic competitor. His grit and determination as a player more than made up for his limited technical ability. It was hunger and passion that got him to the top of the game rather than natural talent. This hunger and passion can be infectious. I have no doubt that if Keane was now in his prime as a player that Manchester United would further up the table than they are now. He was a leader of men on the field , but it was his actions that inspired others around him and not his words. It was the ferocity of his tackles and his ability to burst forward and track back relentlessly that made him the celebrated figure that he is today.His words have always been divisive.
Since he has hung up the boots his decisions off the field have been questionable. His results as a manager have been fair at best. There was a period of success at Sunderland followed by rumors of unrest and a spell of inconsistency, which eventually led to his departure. Ipswich went 14 games without a win under his control. He does not have the necessary qualities to bring a squad of players together for a sustained period of time. His press conferences have always been more entertaining than his teams performances on the field. He seems to have a love hate relationship with the media. He likes to sit in front of the microphones and give off an air of infallibility. Is it believable or is his credibility gone ?
How many more chances does Keane deserve? Has Martin O Neill brought him in as a distraction. A decoy to mask the performances of an average team led by an average manager. I would love to know how some of the players feel. Does it affect the performances ? Are we still Keane on Roy ?
Now that Nidge is gone for sure it is time to speculate on who is next in line for the throne. A lot of his former allies are currently locked up or in critical condition. So who will be the main man in the next series of Love/Hate?
Fran was left in such a condition that it is impossible for him to sit on any throne for quite a while. By the time he gets his arse in gear it could be too late for him to fill the void left by the departure of the Nidgey fella. Elmo is also looking at long stretch in the clink unless he can weasel his way out of a conviction for possession with intent to supply. Unless Stuart Carolan decides to start the new series 7 or 8 years in the future it is unlikely either inmate has a chance of graduating from their roles as henchmen for the boss.
Aido who has the personality of a highly sedated but quiet dangerous sloth seems determined to try stay off the gear. His heart has been broken now a few times. He has sacrificed a lot in his time running errands for Nidge and now he knows Nadine has been unfaithful with ”Scotty” it could send him back to the spoon and syringe for good. Aido is a likeable character but he gives off the impression that he would prefer a spliff and a curry than to be out snapping baseball bats off rival gangsters. He seems like the whole gangland thing is a lot of hassle for him and I think he would happily retire if he had enough cash to keep him going. Maybe now that Nidge his gone he will take the opportunity to get out of the game for good.
Tommy is going to have a lot to come to terms with if he ever wakes up. It is hard to see him being in any condition to deal with the news he will inevitably have to hear if he makes any sort of recovery. He never had a natural appetite for murder or violence but that could change now if he recovers. There could be an angle for Tommy to seek revenge on Patrick but it seems unlikely and Layton may have to grow up quick and mean, maybe that is why they gave him that awful name. They knew they wouldn’t be thereto help him along.
That brings us to Patrick. The most peaceful pipe bomb maker in Dublin. He comes across as a man of honor but he has a ruthless side and it seems like his popularity was on the rise big time with the regular audience. He was seen by Trish and Warren murdering Nidge and Siobhan and the Gardai are already on their way to Nidges gaff at high-speed so he may also end up locked up with Elmo and Fran. That could make for an interesting drama in itself . Patrick seems more motivated by honor and family than money. So he is unlikely to have any desire to take over as the leader of the drugs operation or take orders from the likes of Terrence May.
There is a lot of talk about the possibility of Terrence coming back to Dublin to appoint a new leader and sort out the distribution of his wares. With the pile of bodies mounting up and all connections to Nidge being severed it would most likely be a brand new man appointed by Terrence. His influence in the city has yet to be truly revealed but from what we know of him he is successful, well-connected and ruthless. There is a possibility that he will appoint someone to locate his missing drugs and try and get back some of the cash he loaned to Nidge. He is holed up in Spain for a reason and his notorious reputation back in Dublin would ensure that all his movements would be closely monitored.
In summary it is difficult to see where Stuart Carolan can go if he is to proceed with another series. It is difficult to develop the characters in just six episodes in a series and with all the old gang dead or locked up. Where can we go from here ?
Banty decided to step down as Meath manager on August 2nd 2012. He spent less than two full calendar years in charge of the RoyalCounty. Since Sean Boylan decided not to seek reappointment in 2005, Meath have tried Eamonn Barry of Dunshaughlin, Colm Coyle, and Eamonn O’ Brien. Now they are seeking a new manager who will need to start from scratch and will know in the back of his head that success is essential. This type of pressure is unfair in an amateur game and is not helping the progress of Meath football.
Banty was given the nod in November 2010. This was the first time in Meath’s history a man from outside the county was appointed as the manager. Boylan was in charge of the Meath team for 23 years starting his tenure in 1983. He did not win his first Leinster title until 1986. Next year would be Banty’s third year in charge of Meath. In my opinion he was beginning to capture the hearts of the people of Meath for the first time in the weeks before his decision to step down. His defiance and enthusiasm were evident and infectious. The county board in Meath are a notoriously tough crowd and Banty managed to keep them at bay and keep his dignity. On the face of it they look like harmless ageing men, but so do the Sicilian mafia. Boylan’s successful years still live strong in the memories of the men that call the shots in Navan and the expectation of success bestowed upon any manager since has been in my opinion unrealistic.
Football has changed greatly since 2005. Like it or not the traditional kicking game where the ball was lumped into the forwards quick and early has been negated by the introduction of complex defensive systems. This was never more evident than on Sunday when Donegal defeated Kerry. Meath have yet to decide on a style of play, from watching the recent games the players seem unsure if they should be running the ball or lumping it in on top of Joe Sheridan and going the direct route. The lack of stability over the past six or seven years has surely hindered the progression of the team and players. It is fair to say most successful managers need 3/5 years before any significant long term results are achieved.
Boylan is a legend in Meath. He introduced so many gifted footballers to championship football and had a unique way of motivating a team. Meath teams became notorious for their fighting spirit and never say die attitude. The likes of Mick Lyons, Liam Hayes, and Colm O Rourke became household names. Martin O Connell even grabbed a spot on the team of the century. Trevor Giles, Darren Fay, Graham Geraghty and Ollie Murphy came along in the late 90s. Meath were one of the first teams to really up the level of intensity required to compete at the top level under Boylan. It is fair to say the best Meath teams hit hard and often and had forwards that could post high scores with limited supply.
Banty was just beginning to introduce new players into the Meath team. Donal Keoghan, Donnacha Tobin, Conor Gillespe or Damien Carroll were not on many people’s radar at the start of the year. When Dublin were ahead by 8 points to Meath at half time most people expected a white wash. Meath and Banty fought back. They also fought back against Laois although the team did not play to their potential. Laois only lost by 3 points to Dublin.
Meath will find it difficult to appoint a manager with the passion and heart that Banty had. Sometimes there was a hint of desperation about his antics on the line. But he seems to be a good man and it is a shame he wasn’t given another couple of years to develop a modern team capable of consistent performances. The new man will have to be a good one to be any better.
I read an article recently that was comparing national hunt jockeys with premier league players. I thought it made for a good read and decided to do the same with GAA players and soccer players for the laugh.
I have picked out six current GAA stars and I am going to compare them to soccer stars. I am going to compare their style of play, similar characteristics and give them a valuation based on the sort of fees that their counterparts in the premiership or la liga would command.
1. Kevin Reilly/ Nemanja Vidic ( Meath/Manchester United)
Reilly is an excellent defender. Like Vidic he is Meaths main man in the defense and Meath suffer when he is not playing. Both men play the game with huge intensity and no forward would relish the task of facing up to either man. Its fair to say that both are unfortunately injury prone. This is not surprising because both men are brave and neither would think twice about sacrificing their own body for the benefit of their teams. These chaps are natural leaders and when they are on form there is no one better in their respective positions. If Reilly was for sale he would command a comparative fee of about £12 million, this would be much more if he could stay fit.
2.Paul Galvin/Eric Cantona ( Kerry/Former Manchester United.)
These chaps have a lot of similarities. They are both completely different animals on and off the field. Off the field they are style icons, sensitive articulate men. On the field they are real competitors with a huge desire to win at all costs. Neither men is a stranger to controversy and have both have served lengthy bans for their antics on the field. Galvin unfortunately is just as well known for slapping the note book from Russell’s hand as he is for his excellent performances in a Kerry jersey. Likewise Cantona will always be remembered for his Bruce Lee impression at Selhurst Park. Both have been targeted by the oposition defenders beacuae of their notorious temper ,Galvin by Noel O’ Leary and Eoghan Cadogan, Cantona by Razor Ruddock. In summary it is fair to say their is a fine line between genius and madness and these men walk the line. If Galvin was up for grabs in his prime he could command a fee of £40 million he is class and he is marketable.
3.Gooch Cooper / Messi (Kerry/Barcelona)
Amongst the real GAA people of Ireland Gooch is just as big of a star as Messi. People that have no interest in soccer or gaelic football still know who these men are. Neither was blessed with movie star looks , but both are the best in the business at their chosen craft. Neither men have athletic physiques both their natural god given balance more than makes up for it. They are both given ultimate respect from fans and critics except Joe Brolly. Gooch can score from anywhere like Messi and even has a better right foot than the Argentinian genius. If Gooch could be bought he would be like surely be one of the most expensive players in the game. Price £65 million in today’s market.
4. Conor Mortimer/Carlos Tevez (Mayo/ Manchester City)
This comparison had to be made. Mortimer in my opinion is a class player. Like Tevez he is a unique character . Both men have undoubted skill and are both match winners but their temperament and attitude have prevented them from being accepted as true hero’s. It seems from the outside that their is an innate stubbornness deeply imbedded in both these mens psyche. Mancini brought Tevez back to help City snatch the premiership will Horan do the same.I doubt it. Mortimer would command about £10 million if he was up for sale this would be more if he did not have the reputation.
5. Joe Sheridan/ Wayne Rooney (Meath/Manchester United)
I could not resist this one. Both men are big hardy fuckers but they can also play ball. Joe is the fans favorite in The Royal County. Rooney is the man in Old Trafford. These chaps torment defenders with their skill and strength and can get inspirational scores at crucial times. Some say Joe is even planning visitng Rooney’s hair doctor and may line out in next years championship with a full mop. Even when things are not going well around them they can lift the crowd with a moment of inspired brilliance. Both these men have also cosied up to one of the most famous women in the world in the past, the queen of England.
If Joe was on the market id expect him to fetch about £30 million possibly more.
6.Bernard Brogan/Cristiano Ronaldo (Dublin/Real Madrid)
Not much to say on this one. As they say in The States” the stats don’t lie”.
Both these men possess incredible skill and talent. They do not lack in confidence and some people from different clubs and counties find it hard to warm to them. This can surely be put down to some sort of jealousy as most who knock them would not know them personally. Prolific scorers and both have upped their overall work rate in the past three years. Brogan would be on par with Ronaldo in my opinion. I would suggest a fee of £70 million.
By Shane Judge
As we draw closer to the end of another typical Irish summer it is time to have a look at the quarter finals.
Eight teams remain and there are no real surprises with the exception of Laois who beat a weary Meath team in Tullamore on a miserable Saturday afternoon. The six day turn around proved too much for Bantys troops. All credit to Laois who came to the game with a plan and held on too win by three points despite a typical late Meath onslaught. Bantys men can take a lot from this years championship and there are a lot of positives most notably the performances of Donal Keoghan and Donnacha Tobin, both proved themselves to be top class defenders and made some of the games top forwards look average.Laois had the edge on the day and the old guard in Ross Munelly and Billy Sheehan made good decisions at vital times in the game.
Kerry destroyed Tyrone in Killarney and easily dismissed Clare. Joe Brolly insinuated that The Gooch is a choker questions were swiftly asked and answered. “The Gooch” put on a masterclass in both games since. Paul Galvin cried then almost murdered a man with a clothesline that The Undertaker from WWE would be delighted with. Kieran Donaghy remembered they only call him” The Star” when he plays well. The rest is history they will face a much sterner test against a well oiled machine in Donegal but I expect them to come through a tight game by 3-4 points to dispel all talk that they cant push on in a tight physical game.
Donegal have improved a lot since last year they can get scores from anywhere and everyone which will give them a great chance and will be many peoples tip for Sam. In my opinion they are good but they have not beaten the best yet and Kerry on form are the best. Jimmy Mc Guinness is obviously a great motivator of men but I can not see them beating a Kerry team that have upped there intensity gradually to this point.
Verdict: Kerry by 3-5
Cork should beat Kildare by about 5 points the wildcard is Seanie Johnston if he plays he could give Kildare a second dimension because at the moment they only have the one. If he starts Kildare could have enough match practice under the belt to cause an upset. Cork will be eager to send out a signal that they are still contenders for Sam this is the hardest game to call. Ill stick my neck out and say Cork by 3 points with or without Seanie.
Verdict:Cork by 3-5 ponts
Dublin take on Laois and will have enough to advance comfortably. Laois will struggle to get a foothold in the game and the Dubs are just peaking at the right time in my opinion. There full forward line and half back line are both serious and they still have the two best passers in the game in Alan Brogan and Cluxton. If the weather is fine on Saturday evening in Croker Bernie Brogan will reek havoc. I expect a 7 + point win from the Dubs.
Verdict: Dublin 6-8 points possibly more
Mayo and Down is tough to call. Mayo struggled against an average Sligo outfit and their forwards lack a cutting edge. There best forward the enigmatic Conor Mortimer will be probably tweeting from a secret location instead of doing what he does best kicking points. Mayo can not afford to ostracize a talent such as Mortimer and it may prove costly.Downs defense appears weak but it wont count for much if there is nobody that can punish them in the green and red. They made getting scores look painful against Sligo and will need to improve greatly to justify odds of 4/7. This could be a close and I would not rule out a draw. Mayos fitness may give them a slight edge.Aidan O Shea and Barry Moran should dominate around the middle. Down will need to vary their kick outs and take every chance to win.