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Emigration hits hard - GAA teams left decimated as Ireland's youth leave home

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(Cathal Dervan is sports editor of the Irish Sun newspaper in Dublin)

Sideline Views

GAA: Irish sports journalism lost not one but two great men over the weekend when Paddy Downey, late of The Irish Times, and Sean Diffley, late of the Irish Independent, passed away. Paddy was a GAA man and Sean was a rugby man, and both were gentlemen and characters. Sean was known as Diffo to his many friends until his hearing failed late in life and one of those friends christened him Deafo. My favorite Downey story concerns the night one of his work mates parked his car for him and rang the pub Paddy was in to tell him where he had left it. “That’s great,” replied Paddy. “Now can you tell me where I am?” At least that’s how the story goes.

SOCCER: James McClean is in trouble again after revealing on Twitter that he is a big fan of ballad outfit the Wolfe Tones and particularly likes their old favorite “The Broad Black Brimmer.” Not alone did a Unionist politician in the North take umbrage, as they do, but a section of the Sunderland support decided to boo James when he appeared as a sub on Saturday. Thankfully he has closed his Twitter account once again, but not before it landed him in even more trouble.

RACING:
Nice story from down the road in Ratoath where Nina Carberry is about to follow in a very proud family tradition and make her debut as a horse trainer. The noted jockey’s first runner as a trainer will be the aptly named Peak Raider who runs at Gowran Park on Saturday. Considering Tommy Carberry is her dad and Arthur Moore is her uncle, Nina can only be a winner as a trainer as well. Good luck to her.

GAA:
Speaking of social media, Twitter has surely become a more interesting place to hang out in with the news that the great Joe Brolly has opened an account. Never short of a word or two – or a strong opinion – the All-Ireland winner is bound to entertain and maybe even infuriate in 160 characters. Joe’s Twitter world can be reached at @joebrolly1993.

SOCCER: Hopefully the unionist politician who was offended by James McClean’s love of the Wolfe Tones wasn’t at Tallaght Stadium on Monday night when Shamrock Rovers hammered Linfield 4-1 and their fans sang “one flag in Ireland” at their Ulster visitors. I doubt Gregory Campbell would have been impressed.

SOCCER: Bit of a furor at home after Rangers were linked with Dundee United’s Irish captain Jon Daly. I know Mo Johnson played for the Gers years ago, but an Irishman from south of the border playing in a blue shirt won’t sit well with some. The MLS might be a better bet Jon – and an easier option.

SOCCER:
Broadcaster Ken Early has been one of the great additions to the Irish football world over the last decade or so, and the news that he has departed Newstalk, along with the rest of the Off the Ball team, is to be lamented. The one thing we can expect is a swift return to the airwaves for Ken and the sooner the better.

RUGBY:
How funny will it be if Paddy Jackson fails a fitness test on Thursday and Declan Kidney has to ask Ronan O’Gara to come back as cover for the game against Scotland on Sunday, less than a week after effectively ending the Cork legend’s international career? Hilarious is the answer to that question.

SOCCER:
Anthony Stokes wants a new deal at Glasgow Celtic. If he keeps scoring goals, as he did against St. Mirren on Saturday, and stays away from Republican activists back in Dublin, then he might have a chance.

HERO OF THE WEEK

BERNARD Brogan was the stand-out performer at Croke Park last Saturday night when he scored a goal and 10 points to practically beat Mayo on his own in the NFL and set up a mouth watering clash between unbeaten Dublin and unbeaten Kildare this coming Sunday. Not alone that, Brogan proved that an artist at work ensures Gaelic football is still a sport worth watching.

IDIOT OF THE WEEK

MUCH as I love Rory McIlroy, I can’t but comment on his decision to walk off the course in Florida last Friday when things weren’t going his way. What sort of example did he think that was going to set to the kids who idolize him all over the world? And who the hell is advising him? Rory may be the greatest golfer this country has ever produced but nothing can excuse that sort of behavior, not even youth!

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