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Behind the Scenes with Con

Updated: Tuesday, 06 Jul 2010 10:41

Con is not condoning Billy 'Suarez' Dennehy's hand-ball against St Pat's but he's certainly not complaining, as it led to the Hoops going top of the table.
Con is not condoning Billy 'Suarez' Dennehy's hand-ball against St Pat's but he's certainly not complaining, as it led to the Hoops going top of the table.

In the absence of our Editor, Brummie Steve, who's presumably still licking his wounds after Germany gave England a footballing lesson at the World Cup finals, James O'Toole took over this week, and not surprisingly, things ran very smoothly for our first full-length MNS since the mid-season break.

Dave Barry, Sean Prunty, and Paul Doolin were all in good form, and although we may not have the 14 cameras that Sky might have at premier division matches in England, we were able to clarify a few debateable issues from one or two of last weekend’s games.

It's amazing that we should get a succession of ‘did the ball cross the goal-line’ questions so hot on the heels of that aforementioned Germany-England match.

As Sean Prunty said, we can be quick enough to give the officials a metaphorical kicking, but you have to give them credit when they get things right.

Actually Sean never used the ‘metaphorical kicking’ line, - that's poetic licence on my part, - but it's the gist of what Choons was saying.

Adding to the irony of all those decisions about whether the ball had crossed the line, you could add Billy Dennehy's Suarez-esque last-minute goal-line handball, which resulted in a red card and a penalty for St Pat's at Tallaght, only for Alan Mannus to save Ryan Guy’s spot kick, and send Shamrock Rovers to the top of the table.

As I've mentioned here before, I'm not a fan of Monday night matches that clash directly with MNS, but at least this week Shamrock Rovers versus Pat's was an 8pm kick off, which meant that myself and Dave Barry were able to race down the M50 (without breaking the speed limit) and still catch the last hour or so of the game.

It was Dave's first visit to a Shamrock Rovers game at Tallaght, and I think I'm right in saying that he was impressed with the set up. There was a big crowd at the game and the atmosphere was excellent.

It was nice of a few of the Hoops regulars to come over to Davey and welcome him to the Rovers family!

Paul Doolin went to the UCD-Bohs game after the programme at the UCD Bowl, and although it was a 7.45pm kick off, he'll have seen a good bit of that game too.

Although the students were missing a few players through injury, it was still the sort of win for Bohs that marks them out as potential champions.

They may be without Jason Byrne at the moment, but Paddy Madden is stepping into the breach in a major way, and his rich vein of form is keeping Bohs right in the hunt.

Let's hope Paddy brings that form with him into the Champions League tie against TNS.

I'd love to go to Oriel Park on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League tie against their opponents from Luxemburg.

I remember attending some amazing European nights at Oriel in the late 70's early 80's and there was always a special atmosphere there.

It would be nice to think that some of the supporters who'll be travelling to Croke Park on Sunday to support Louth in the Leinster final against Meath, will be at Oriel Park on Thursday night to support the Lilywhites as they bid to reach the next round in Europe.

I'd be really disappointed if they don't progress against a team from Luxemburg, but I've every confidence in Ian Foster’s side to do the business.

I wrote last week that the fight to get people to League of Ireland grounds is a tough one at the moment with the World Cup attracting so much attention, not to mention the GAA Championship heading towards it's climax over the next couple of months, but I was heartened by the buzz at Tallaght on Monday evening, and was glad to see that Galway United's initiative of dropping the price at the gate for entry to Terryland for the visit of Bray seemed to have paid off in some respects.

The crowd was definitely bigger than might otherwise have been expected, and although gate revenue may not have been as high as it might have been, at least it put bums on seats, some of whom will have bought match programmes, food from the catering vans, half time raffle tickets, and importantly, might come back the next time.

As Dave Barry said this week, - when he wasn't busy taking pot shots at me - for the Galway public to have a chance to see the likes of Karl Sheppard and Anto Flood now, is a rare pleasure, because in future when those players are playing at a higher level, the supporters will be able to say ‘I was there when Karl/Anto played for us’; just like the Cork City fans can talk about a young Kevin Doyle from his days at Turner’s Cross.

Galway might be struggling financially at the moment but I would feel very sorry for Sean Connor if, having brought such talent to the club, he is then forced to watch them ride off into the sunset, because they haven't been paid by the club.

Finally for now, the Main Event at the World Series of Poker has just begun and if I look a bit tired next Monday it's because over the next week or so, I'll be following it on the internet through the night after I've finished the World Cup highlights programme on RTÉ TWO.

I was talking to Donnacha O'Dea before he departed for Las Vegas, and will be cheering for him against the thousands of other players participating.

When the field whittles down to the last nine players they wait for about four months before the so-called November Nine, return to Vegas to play the final table.

Unfortunately, that will clash with the closing weeks of the Airtricity League, so even if there is an Irish man or woman at the final table, I'm afraid my focus will be on the race for the League title here.


It's never been tighter over the last few years, and I'm hopeful that the buzz will return after the mid-season break, and the World Cup finishing up.

If the four and a half to five thousand crowd at Tallaght is anything to go by, the weeks and months between now and the end of the season will be tense, and I've no doubt that will be replicated at Dalymount, Inchicore, Morton Stadium and Oriel Park. Let the fun really begin!

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