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GAA stars leavin’ on a jet plane - striking images as Meath footballer Joe Sheridan boards a plane for the US

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Joe Sheridan

Timing can be everything in the world of marketing, even when it is unintentional as whoever chose Dublin All-Ireland winners Bernard Brogan and Eamonn Fennell to work for Aer Lingus now knows.

The Blues duo were photographed at Dublin Airport on Monday afternoon as they helped to launch the Aer Lingus summer schedule that will bring many people away for their annual holidays to the sun spots of Europe and America - and back again presumably.

The photos, featuring Bernard and Eamonn in their Dublin jerseys and a couple of hostesses in their green uniforms beside one of those big Airbus jets, appeared in many of our national newspapers on Tuesday morning.

In one such paper, the Sun as it happens, the photo was the perfect accompaniment to an adjoining story concerning the Meath football star Joe Sheridan, the bane of so many Louth fans in the 2010 Leinster final.

Just as Bernard and Eamonn were smiling for the cameras in one of the Aer Lingus hangars, so Joe was also engaging with a big Airbus jet.

His circumstances were slightly different, however. Instead of getting a few bob to work for Aer Lingus, Joe was paying our national airline for the privilege of emigrating to the United States.

I don’t know if he bought a one-way ticket or not for his flight to Boston on Monday. To be honest, I don’t even know if he flew Aer Lingus across the Atlantic, but he did leave Ireland on a jet plane on Monday and nobody, as the song goes, knows when he will be back again.

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It’s unlikely Sheridan will return in time to play for Meath in this year’s championship. His appearance in the league defeat to Galway on Sunday may be his last Meath game in 2012. We just don’t know.

What we do know is that Sheridan has decided that his career opportunities in the construction industry are greater in Boston than they currently are in Ireland.

The Meath County Board did do their best to find him work here but, as teammate Cian Ward said so eloquently on radio on Monday, a career is better than a job, and that’s why Sheridan had to go.

He isn’t the first GAA player to leave Ireland this year, and he won’t be the last.

By the time the summer championships arrive in New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, there will be many more good and very good and even some bad Gaelic footballers available to the teams on your side of the pond.

That’s the reality of life in Ireland these days, and we have to accept it.

Sheridan’s emigration isn’t an exception and it’s not quite the rule – but we’re getting there. And that has to be a worry for all concerned.

Sideline Views

SOCCER: Celtic manager Neil Lennon has stopped talking to the press in Scotland, a reaction inspired by some of the treatment of comments he made on the financial problems at Rangers. Lennon is still speaking to his club’s various media outlets and the BBC, however, so the ban is not a blanket one and his team are still doing their talking on the pitch. But surely he is old enough and wise enough now to talk to the Scottish press on his own terms and only answer questions he wants to answer. It’s not that difficult. Just ask Alex Ferguson.

GAA: Lovely quote from the Kilkenny manager Brian Cody after his team’s handsome win away to Waterford in the National League on Sunday. Cody believes part of the reason the Cats are going so well at present is down to the fact that the weather is ridiculously mild for the time of year. Summer weather he called it, but if Kilkenny are this good in March, god help their opponents when the real summer weather comes our way. They could be untouchable in the 2012 championship.

SOCCER: Every time Giovanni Trapattoni sees a microphone these days, someone asks him about Sunderland winger James McClean. Every time the question is asked, Trap makes another non committal response as you will see elsewhere on these pages. For what it is worth McClean could go to the Euros, but I doubt it. My money -- what’s left of it after Cheltenham -- is on Duff, McGeady and Hunt to get to Poland ahead of him.

GAA: Like Kilkenny, All-Ireland football champions Dublin are motoring well at present. They destroyed Armagh in Croker on Sunday, and such was their dominance that many fans watched the second half from the comfort of the hotel across the road. Diarmuid Connolly’s hat-trick won’t have done him any harm either so it looks like the Dubs will be the football team to beat again this summer.

BOXING: Good luck to Matthew Macklin in the Garden on Saturday night. Having once spent a couple of hours in his company in the Sibin public house in Dunshaughlin -- over coffee mind you -- I know what an interesting, articulate and nice bloke he is. He’s also a bloody good boxer, and hopefully the result against Martinez this weekend will prove it.

BOXING: Speaking of the Macklin-Martinez fight, two good friends are on their way to the Big Apple for the big bout. If you bump into Gerry Callan or Garry Doyle, please say hello. And buy them a beer. For me.


HERO OF THE WEEK

It took a brave man to say it, but Donncha O’Callaghan came out with the words that really mattered after Saturday’s Six Nations win against Scotland when he said Ireland can now get big results without Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell. The last two Irish captains, both currently injured, are great players but they are not irreplaceable as O’Callaghan was brave enough to say in the aftermath of the Scottish win.

How Ireland do without them against England this Saturday is another matter altogether but at least we have hope -- for now.


IDIOTS OF THE WEEK

Sky Sports is a regular home for the verbally challenged, and the past weekend proved it as soccer “pundit” Jamie Redknapp and American golf guru Butch Harmon put their feet in their mouths again.

Redknapp could make a hurricane sound boring, while Harmon thought it was interesting on Sunday night to compare the latest Achilles injury suffered by Tiger Woods with an ankle problem he had as a high school footballer! Thank God for the mute button.

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