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My passion for Irish soccer and tabloids continues three decades later

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That explains why my professional life involved obituary writing and headlines for the Trapattoni era on Friday night and all weekend.

It explains why Monday was spent working on headlines and angles ahead of the game away to Austria on Tuesday night.

And it explains why we have already worked out every pun ahead of the game – I am writing this column just hours before kickoff and expecting the worst.

We’ve used them already or have them in the pipeline, although I have to admit we’re only working on negative headlines such is the current state of this Irish team.

They’re easy lines too. Goodnight Vienna. Ah Vienna – it means nothing to me for those of you who remember Ultravox.

Heaven Alp Us. Aus-terity strikes again. Gio now in the name of Rio. The Gone-Trapps.
They are all puns, some of them terrible I will admit. None of them would work in a broadsheet. They all work in a fun loving tabloid like the Irish Sun.

That’s why I’m glad I never listen to men in toilets!

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

Davy Fitz the Perfect Boss
A COLLEAGUE remarked the other day that Davy Fitzgerald must be the most revered man in Irish sport, and he may well be right.

No sooner had the All-Ireland hurling final reached an incredible conclusion – and a draw – on Sunday that Davy was again claiming on national television that his team are victims of some incredible victimisation campaign.

This time it’s the refs that have it in for Clare, and for Davy and most times it’s the refs who seem to bear the brunt of his ire.
He’s a man with a persecution complex, and it doesn’t do him any favors in the popularity poles.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe all the “small fish don’t get the breaks” remarks are designed to shift the focus of attention onto Davy and away from his young team, youngsters who hurled beyond their years on Sunday in a game against Cork which they should have won.

Vincent Hogan, the great Irish Independent journalist who knows his hurling better than most in our industry, swears by Davy.

He likes him as a guy, respects him as a coach and thinks there may be seem credence to the theory that it is all an act to keep the pressure off his players. He also says the Clare and Waterford players who have worked with Davy say he is calmness personified inside the dressing room.

I’m starting to side with Vincent on this one. Whatever about his rants off the field, Davy Fitzgerald has performed miracles with this Clare team this season.

They should have won the All-Ireland hurling final last Sunday when the great players from Kilkenny and Galway and Tipperary were sitting in the stands or on their couches watching it all.

They will take great heart and confidence from running Cork off the pitch for many of the 73 minutes played at Croke Park last Sunday.

And they will go into the replay – at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 28 – believing that they can win the MacCarthy Cup because that is what their manager Davy Fitzgerald wants them to believe and will ensure they believe.

He may be mouthy and opinionated and convinced he is persecuted, but Davy Fitz is also a winner. And that’s all that really matters on a September Sunday in Croke Park.

HERO OF THE WEEK
CORK thought they had the All-Ireland hurling final won when Clare defender Domhnall O’Donovan crossed the halfway line in the final seconds of added time  – and scored his first ever championship point. When asked what he thought when he saw O’Donovan for a score, boss Davy Fitz said, “You don’t want to f***ing know.” O’Donovan usually missed in training but he pointed his way into history on Sunday.

IDIOT OF THE WEEK
GIOVANNI Trapattoni’s record as a football manager is exemplary but it belongs in the history books, not in the Irish dressing room. On Monday he claimed that he is worth another two year contract as Ireland manager and insisted he has done not a good job with Ireland, but a great job. The man is delusional and the sooner he goes, the better.

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