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No such thing as a sure thing but Irish Olympic boxers Joe Ward and Katie Taylor are close

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Taylor is still a sure thing for the Olympics. For now that is.

She must go to China a few weeks from now, and chances are she might meet a Chinese girl in a Chinese ring.

Sport is like that but at least, thanks to Ward’s pain, she is forewarned and forearmed.

As Celtic manager Neil Lennon discovered, again, in Glasgow on Sunday, you just have to accept a referee’s decision. And get on with it.

Life is like that. So is sport. There are no guarantees. None.

Sideline Views

SOCCER: Glad to report that the Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba has left the London Chest Hospital and is now recovering at home after his recent cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup game at Spurs. Muamba is one of the lucky ones. Another young hurler collapsed and died during a training session in London last week and a Serie B player died in Italy at the weekend.

Let’s hope and pray that Muamba makes a full recovery. Whether or not he plays football again is fairly irrelevant in the circumstances.

SOCCER:
A man I know who watches MLS soccer on the ESPN network reckons Robbie Keane is playing great stuff for the LA Galaxy at present, and that can only be good news for Giovanni Trapattoni and Ireland ahead of the European Championships. Robbie has slipped off the media radar here somewhat since his return to California from Aston Villa but the current reports, via satellite television of course, are encouraging.

As I have said many times here before, Ireland’s Euro hopes depend on Robbie Keane. Pure and simple.

GAA: The Meath clubs are about to vote Sean Boylan back into power as their county team boss and that is a welcome move – the legend that is Boylan should have had the job for life as far as I am concerned. What’s interesting though is how Boylan is going to deal with the current crop of Meath players.

Any manager, even Seamus McEnaney for all his faults, is only as good as the players available to him. And this lot aren’t much good -- as Banty will tell you.

SOCCER: There’s a huge clamor for goal-line technology in England again after a contentious goal for Chelsea against Spurs in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Saturday night. Having watched the replay a good few times, I do now think the goal was legitimate. And I don’t agree with the over-rated Adebayor that it was the reason Spurs lost – the other four goals conceded in a 5-1 defeat may have had something to do with it as well!

SOCCER: Stephen Hunt bemoaned Mick McCarthy’s sacking at Wolves when he appeared on Irish television on Saturday night. Pity he didn’t do a bit more as a Wolves player under Mick’s guidance – then relegation might not be a live issue for the club and Mick might still be the manager. Talk comes cheap in such circumstances.

GAA: Congress went off peacefully in Laois last Saturday just in case you were wondering. The GAA suits did vote to change the square ball rule, and the incoming president Liam O’Neill did promise to tackle violence on the field and payments to managers off it -- as incoming presidents always do to be fair to them.
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HERO OF THE WEEK

The weekend’s Scottish Cup action has been dominated by Neil Lennon’s latest tantrum, but the achievement of Dubliner Pat Fenlon should not be overlooked. The former Bohs boss guided Hibs to the Scottish Cup final when they beat Aberdeen in Saturday’s first semifinal and they will now play Edinburgh rivals Hearts in the decider. Nutsy, as he is known, is doing a great job in his first season as Hibs supreme, and a bit of silverware next month would be the icing on the cake for the affable Dubliner.

IDIOTS OF THE WEEK

There won’t be a Joe show at the London Olympics this summer unless the Irish Amateur Boxing Association can pull off a miracle in their attempts to reverse the decision that went against Joe Ward on Monday night. The judges at the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey seem to be the only ones who thought Ward didn’t win his light-heavyweight contest, and it will come as no surprise to discover that opponent was Turkish – fighting in Turkey. Boxing is never going to rid itself of such stories.

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