first_imgAs the Finn Harps jigsaw is slowly being put together for another season, the real puzzle is what the authorities believed they were trying to achieve with yet another revamp in the structure of the League of Ireland.From next year on, there’ll be a ten-team Premier set-up with no less than three clubs facing automatic relegation to the doldrums of the First Division from where one club will be allowed the climb into the top flight.By Paddy WalshOr, perhaps, we do know what they were trying to achieve. A Premier league with an accommodating scattering of Dublin clubs to provide countless city derbies and a minimum of travel for same. Not the first time a ten-team top division was attempted.It failed then – as recently as four years ago – as evidenced by the restructuring to a twelve-team Premier.And it will, of course, falter again for if there’s one thing designed to turn supporters away, it’s repetition on the fixtures list and meeting opposing sides four times in a campaign falls repeatedly into this bracket.Not surprisingly the dissenting voices have been clamouring loudly against the change in formation. Hardly had he time to digest his side’s play-off success that earned them another season in Premier ranks, than Drogheda United boss Pete Mahon, was bemoaning the move as a retrograde step.“I’m sitting here wondering what have we broken our backsides for in getting promoted,” he declared before touching on the realism facing a club that doesn’t have the budget to compete and will find it difficult to stay up.From the First Division perspective, Cobh Ramblers manager, Stephen Henderson, was equally sore about the decision, taking to Twitter to denounce those clubs who voted for the change and predicting that some clubs in the lower league could crash out of business.And for Harps? A hard enough season last time out but a virtually impossible one in 2017, you’d have to suggest.“I would love to know the reason behind the ten team league,” Ollie Horgan demanded in an interview in the ‘Donegal News’ on Monday. “Is it to allow for more Dublin derbies? I don’t see any positives in it at all.” And the Harps boss echoed Henderson’s claim that it would have “huge implications” for the First Division clubs.And highlighted his own club’s budget and the additional challenge the Donegal side face in the coming campaign.At this stage, it’s not clear how many clubs precisely were allowed a voice in the decision-making process as it seemed to catch a fair selection of them on the hop and certainly had fans questioning the wisdom of it. But then wisdom and the League of Ireland authorities haven’t always shared the same pitch.And common sense has often stayed behind in the changing-rooms. Clubs at least should have been given a three year phasing in period before the new structure was put in place but there appeared to be undue haste in pushing this one through.I predict that we’ll be back to yet another revamp before the decade is out but for some clubs that may just be too late.PASSING OF GENTLEMAN GERRYA couple of years back I was fortunate to be involved in helping to set up an exhibition featuring the sporting heroes of Donegal – a display run in conjunction with the Donegal Sports Partnership and the County Museum in Letterkenny.One of the rewards from it, apart from seeing it staged, was meeting the many people along the way who provided me with the assistance, and material, I, and more significantly the exhibition, could not have done without.In this respect, due regard was owed to the likes of Gerry Deignan and his spouse, Kathleen, parents of one of our most notable competitors, our acclaimed professional cyclist, Philip.It involved one or two visits to the family home at Magherennan in Letterkenny where the hospitality ranked in equal measure to the help the couple afforded me with photographs and information on the achievements of their son.Gentleman Gerry furnished me with anecdotes and enough material to stage an exhibition on its own – a fraction of which we could only use. But I will always remember the kindness and patience shown to me by this amicable couple.And it was with a measure of shock – even if his illness of recent times should have prepared us – that his passing was announced in the wake of Christmas Day and a light went out in the locality.We’ll remember him for his ever-ready smile –  an entertaining conversationalist and someone who in his own professional life, played a huge rule in the success of Donegal Creameries.And specifically a proud family man, proud, not just of the achievements of Philip, but also of Helen, Louise, and David.To Kathleen and sons and daughters and his other family members, my sympathy on your searing loss when hopefully time will ease the aching and the memories will lift you in darkest days. McGEADY UPS HIS GAMEWatched highlights of Preston North End’s recent league game against Sheffield Wednesday and Aiden McGeady playing like a man with a couple of missions in mind.Firstly, to announce to Martin O’Neill that he’s still got some genuine quality and, secondly, to try and ward of the intentions of the club’s new signing, Daryl Horgan, to claim his place on the left wing.A fine performance from McGeady but he’ll need a few more consistent ones like that to aid his ambitions on both fronts.Good to see Shane Long claim his first goal of the season for Southampton over the festive period but I think he needs a change of club to get back into the scoring groove. SERVING SIRIt seems the authorities at Wimbledon – that’s the tennis club not the footballing version – have stated it is unlikely that Andy Murray will be addressed as ‘Sir’ on the scoreboards at the annual tournament.The world’s number one received a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honourslist – the first serving (sic!) tennis star to be acknowledged in this way.Hopefully, the powers-that-be at Wimbledon won’t alter their stance onthis but, sadly, it won’t stop the likes of Sue Barker & Co. in the B.B.C. broadcasting studio and commentators and other British – and nodoubt Irish equivalents –  media outlets alike coat-tailing everyaction of the Scotsman with ‘Sir Andy serving for the first set” or‘what a forehand smash from Sir Andy’ or ‘Sir Andy’ this and ‘Sir Andythat’.And, of course, once the athletics season gets up and running again, we’ll have ‘Sir Mo’ picking off the opposition to win another 5,000 metres title – Farah, another awardee in the Honours merry-go-round.Said it before in these parts and I’ll say it again – sporting personalities, or at least those currently performing, should be completely overlooked when it comes to giving out Knighthoods andDamehoods or whatever. There’s something not quite right about the name of a sportsman or woman being continually pre-faced with a title when they are competing, almost as if their less endowed rivals hardly belong in the same arena. THAT MEDALSOME PAIR!Christmas television should be gift wrapped and given away as, not so much a going concern, but one that is will gone past its sell-by date.Every year, the same parade of films and repeats and hardly a fresh turkey among them.Still, one or two notable exceptions this year –  the appearance ofthe O’Donovan brothers on the Graham Norton show on B.B.C. and in theR.T.E. documentary ‘Pull Like a Dog’ being both of them.Silver medalists from the Rio Olympics – and silver-tongued to go with it, even if many a Norton show viewer was moved to venture into social media land to reveal a failure to understand anything the Skibbereen siblings were saying.But true entertainment nonetheless from Ireland’s rowing sensations – and an intriguing documentary that charted their path into international waters and that pull to glory in Brazil.Meanwhile, after the credits had rolled on the Norton show, the presenter briefly returned to inform viewers that the pair had left their medals behind in the studio.Somehow, it all rowed in perfectly. OPENING A BOOK ON LEEDSAre the once mighty Leeds United on their way back? I only ask because a glance at recent results and the Championship league table would strongly suggest a stirring resurgence from the Elland Roaders.Also, because long-time Whites fan, David, in the Eason’s store at Letterkenny Shopping Centre feels they are long overdue a positive mention in this column.By the end of the season, Garry Monk’s side could, on current form – worth a small bet, I’d say – have booked a place in the Premier League. And a few spaces on the shelves in Eason’s for the publications that will undoubtedly follow marking the club’s arrival back in the big-time.Still think they did our David wrong. That’s David O’Leary, not the David in the Shopping Centre though they have probably put him throughthe wringer as well….NEW YEAR GREETINGSAnd finally a very Happy New Year to you all – except to those of you who don’t support the right teams….!League of Ireland bosses fail to see beyond the Pale: It’s Walshy on Wednesday! was last modified: January 4th, 2017 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

Published by admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *