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Behind the Scenes with Con

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010 11:29

'In a perfect world, I suppose it would be nice to think that we would all be so magnanimous...'
'In a perfect world, I suppose it would be nice to think that we would all be so magnanimous...'

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After this weeks MNS, the programme production team and guest panellists adjourned to a local hostelry to continue the debate about what constitutes cheating in football. The argument was sparked by Billy 'Suarez' Dennehy's handball on the goal line against St. Pat's last week, which resulted in a red card for him and a penalty for the Saints, which we know Alan Mannus saved to ensure three points for the Hoops.

Roddy said on the programme that if he was a manager and one of his players committed that offence, he'd expect his goalkeeper to stand aside and allow the penalty be rolled into the net.

In a perfect world, I suppose it would be nice to think that we would all be so magnanimous, but the reality is there can be hardly any managers anywhere in the world who would expect or even allow his players to act in such a manner.

Roddy evidenced the case of Paolo Di Canio, who caught the ball instead of scoring when the opposing goalkeeper was lying injured on the ground (where else would he be lying I hear you ask!).

No doubt, if you trawled worldwide you'd find other instances where total sportsmanship have been displayed, but surely the reality is that almost every sports event you attend or even participate in will involve a situation where the players will try to gain whatever advantage they can by hook or by crook.

The question I asked Roddy later was, when is foul play not cheating?
If a player trips another going for the ball with a badly timed lunge?
If a player goes down in the box under challenge looking for a penalty?
If a player feigns injury to waste time?
If a player knows he was offside when he scores a goal should he miss on purpose?
The list is endless.

Tony McDonnell was desperate to get Pat Morley to admit he had dived when they played against each other, but Pat wasn't taking the bait, although he did admit later on in the pub, that when playing away from home in European competition, that he might have gone down easily to earn free kicks and use up time.

Is Pat Morley a cheat? I don't think so.

I have to say, I think the Rodmeister’s outlook is one that we all should aspire to, but when managers and players jobs are on the line, it's very hard to think about the wider picture and the bad example being set for kids attending and watching.

The same could be said for every other sport by the way. Breaking the rules is not just reserved for those playing Association Football.

Rugby players deliberately move offside, not to mention the skulduggery that occurs in the scrum. Some cyclists and athletes take drugs, and the list goes on and on.

Mind you, some sports would seem to be cleaner than others. Golf for example, where players will regularly call shots against themselves for very minor infractions, likewise snooker, but then you hear about fixed snooker matches and your confidence in all things good takes a dent.

Even the esteemed Gary Player has hinted that he thinks some golfers are taking performance enhancing drugs. Whether he‘s right or wrong, in general golfers would seem to be amongst the most sporting of all.

I've got this far and haven't mentioned Thierry Henry. I think that'll do. No more about him.

I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago that the race for the Premier Division title is getting really interesting and with European distraction for Bohs, Rovers and Sporting to come over the next few weeks (and hopefully and optimistically, the next few months!!), it's possible that St. Pat's could benefit. One thing's for sure - we have some great matches to look forward to in the coming weeks.

On a separate note, Stephen Kenny must be delighted with the way things are going for Derry City at the moment. Now 10 points clear at the top of the First Division, and looking good for immediate promotion to the top flight after being relegated. I'll be happy to see them back in the big time, because they're well supported and it obviously widens the geographical spread in the Premier Division. Waterford, Monaghan and Limerick may yet ask a few questions of the Candystripes, but it would be a brave man that would bet against them coming back up at the first time of asking.

For Cork City Foras it hasn't been such a smooth journey, and I really hope they get some shillings behind them soon, because the Premier League needs a Cork City team competing for honours, plus it would stop Tony O'Donoghue from whinging about not getting to see his beloved CCFC enough.

I reckon they should ask Dave Barry for a few bob. If he can afford to fly by helicopter from Cork to Dublin every time he's on MNS, then surely he should be able to make a contribution to the Foras fundraising effort.

Finally for now, thanks to everyone who contacted me to tell me that the Après Match lads, and Risteard Cooper in particular "did me" to a tee. Frankly I think his wig is probably a better fit than mine.

I'll miss the Après boys now that the World Cup is over but who knows maybe we might see them back on our screens before the season is out.