Sideline Views

GAA: The ladies football finals at Croke Park dominated the GAA calendar on Sunday when Dublin, otherwise known as the Jackies, captured the senior title to finally bring some joy to the Hill. Just as interesting and definitely more amusing were the pre-match comments from Donegal defender Diane Toner ahead of her team’s victory over Waterford in the intermediate decider.

Diane will marry the Donegal footballer Frank McGlynn in a couple of months, but her pending marriage clearly wasn’t on her mind ahead of Sunday’s win.

“Somebody asked me the other day when my big day was and I told them it is on Sunday!” Diane joked before the match. “Wedding plans are put on hold, taking a back seat for a little while. I have an All-Ireland soccer final with Lagan Harps the following Sunday, so it is a busy time, but I am loving it.”

Having won an All-Ireland medal last Sunday, Diane will surely be onto a winner for the rest of the year.

RUGBY: There’s a great dispute ongoing within the Ulster Unionist Party after new party leader Tom Elliott told The Belfast Telegraph that he will never go to a GAA match or a gay pride parade. Thankfully the former Irish rugby international and Ulster Unionist member Trevor Ringland has taken great umbrage with Elliott’s comments.

Ringland said, “I would guarantee him that if there is an Ulster team in the All-Ireland final next year I will get him two tickets for that All-Ireland final. I want to hear him say in the next few days that if I get him those tickets that he will go to that match.”

At a time when so many are trying to build bridges in Northern Ireland, Ringland deserves nothing but credit for taking this stance.

And hopefully an Ulster team does get to the All-Ireland final next year -- with a gay pride parade around Croker before the match just to really annoy Elliott.

SOCCER: God help the new Celtic defender Cah Du-ri, who is already moaning about the weather in Glasgow -- and he hasn’t even got as far as the winter yet. The South Korean has spent time playing in Germany, but even that experience hasn’t helped in Scotland.

“I am very happy here, I have good teammates and it is a beautiful city but the weather is not as good as when I was at Freiburg. I like sunshine,” said the right-back this week.

“In Glasgow you get one hour sunshine and the rest of the day is cloudy. But that’s okay.”
Wait ‘til the winter lands and that hour of sunshine disappears!

HURLING: Davy Fitzgerald was confirmed as Waterford hurling boss for another two years on Monday night and promptly re-iterated his belief in the quality of the players at his disposal but he would do that, wouldn’t he? Talk has always come easily to Davy Fitz, but Waterford will need to deliver an All-Ireland title over the next 24 months or the criticism that came his way from the likes of Ken McGrath in recent months will become unbearable. Time to put your words into action, Davy.

GOLF: Nice to see the American captain Corey Pavin ban his players from using their Twitter sites during this weekend’s Ryder Cup. European counterpart Colin Montgomerie had asked his players not to tweet -- he wasn’t sure of the technology -- rather than banning them from the social network but I’ll all in favor of the ban, mostly because I’ve never tweeted in my life and wouldn’t have a clue where to start. It’s an age thing, you see.

SOCCER: Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson traveled to Spain for Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Valencia without his troubled England star Wayne Rooney, who just can’t score at home these days and won’t get the chance to score away again now. The poor lad.

SOCCER: Oh to be a fly on the wall. Guess who the referee was when Aiden McGeady played for Spartak Moscow against Zilina in the Champions League on Tuesday night? None other than our old Paris friend Martin Hansson. Bet that made for an interesting conversation.

HERO OF THE WEEK

Europe goes into Ryder Cup action at the Celtic Manor resort in Wales this weekend with huge pressure on Ireland’s major winner Padraig Harrington after his pick as a wild card by captain Colin Montgomerie. The good news is that Harrington showed brilliant form with a 64 in the final round of the Vivendi Trophy

IDIOTS OF THE WEEK

Sligo Rovers won the first silverware of the domestic soccer season when they beat Monaghan United at the Showgrounds on Saturday night -- and were promptly presented with a bill for their winner’s medals. The FAI, now in charge of the local game, have demanded that both teams pay for the medals presented at the end of the match. And they wonder why they get a hard time in the papers!

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