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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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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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