Reckoning looms for Irish coach’s Declan Kidney and Giovanni Trapattoni


“There haven’t been any discussions with the Irish Rugby Football Union. What will happen, will happen.”

Those words could, of course, come back to haunt Kidney if the games in Wales goes wrong on Saturday.

But the coach appears to be in a good place. If his team can adopt the same attitude, get their Six Nations bid up and running against Wales and then worry about the games to come, we could even be in for a decent season.

If we are, then Kidney could well get that new contract before the campaign is over.

As Trapattoni also knows, this is a results business and the time to deliver is almost upon us. For both men.

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

Sideline Views
SOCCER: Bradford City’s Donegal-born youngster Carl McHugh is off to Wembley next month for the Capitol One League Cup final against Swansea after scoring one of the goals that knocked Shay Given and Aston Villa out in the two-legged semis. McHugh’s fairytale season with Bradford has been incredible, but his success has presented his close friend Paddy McBrearty with a bit of a problem. Paddy is due to play for Donegal in the NFL on the day of the final but wants leave of absence to head to Wembley. Considering his new soccer allegiances with Glasgow Celtic, Donegal boss Jim McGuinness may offer a sympathetic ear.

GOLF: Padraig Harrington is off to America this week for a four-week attempt to win another PGA Tour title. He still has some way to go to catch Tiger Woods, who recorded an astonishing 75th win in California on Monday, but Padraig says he is in good shape and ready to compete again, and we should believe him. Darren Clarke won’t be competing in America or Dubai this week after picking up a minor injury in a car crash – we have yet to hear how the car is doing!

GAA: Farewell to Kevin Heffernan, the godfather of Dublin GAA who was buried on Tuesday when a host of All-Ireland medal winners paid tribute to his life. Heffo, as my Irish Sun colleague Cian Murphy put it so elegantly, is the only man in the GAA to have an army named after him – Heffo’s Army ruled the game in the 1970s. They changed it forever and for the better which is a testament to his ability as a manager.

GAA: Good to hear that the recent Match for Michaela in Belfast raised a whopping $200,000 for the foundation set up in memory of the late Michaela Harte. It won’t bring Michaela back, but I am sure her dad Mickey, the Tyrone boss, and husband John McAreavey can take some comfort from the event last November and its incredible monetary success.

RACING: Those who were in Cheltenham on the day Big Zeb won the Queen Mother Champion Chase for trainer Colm Murphy in 2010 will remember the whoop of delight from the Wexford man as he led the horse into the winner’s enclosure. Murphy has now decided to retire Big Zeb but those memories will always be special.

IT is 19 years now since Leitrim footballers last won anything, and it may be another 19 before they win anything of note again, but that shouldn’t detract from their victory over Sligo in the FBD Connacht League final on Sunday. As captain Emlyn Mulligan - who just must be named after the great Liverpool skipper Emlyn Hughes – the victory is to be enjoyed by Leitrim people everywhere as it has been a long time in the making. And proof that sport can always surprise and delight, even when you’re a Leitrim GAA fan.

SO farewell then to Mario Balotelli, the Italian striker who is set to quit Manchester City for AC Milan by the time the transfer window closes on Thursday. Balotelli has an unbelievable talent as a footballer, but his idiocy won’t be missed by the English game. A real case of “too much too young” if ever there was one.