Monday, August 28, 2006

2006 ICSF World Casting Championships

Ireland is set to become the focal point for the entire angling world as the 2006 ICSF World Casting Championships take place from 2nd-8th September at Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Carton House, one of the most magnificent country house estates in Ireland, will play host to this, the world’s largest competitive casting event. This marks the first time that Ireland has been awarded the honour of hosting the ICSF World Championships and it is the inaugural year of the international on-water casting championship, The Emerald World Masters.

A prize fund of €200,000 for the Emerald World Masters will catapult casting to the level of other major sports. Some of the world’s best casters from over 25 nations, will descend on Carton House, including world casting champion USA’s Steve Rajeff, 13 times world champion and multiple world record holder in distance and accuracy events, and Scott McKenzie from Scotland, world record holder at spey casting distance.

The 2006 World Casting Championships is a three-part event. The Emerald World Masters (2-4 September) will kick off the seven day event with five events including on water spey distance, salmon fly distance and trout fly distance. The ICSF World Championships (5-8 September) comprises of nine events and will test casters on a range of disciplines including distance, speed, accuracy and precision. Teams and individuals from approximately 25 nations will compete at the event. The Country Life Weekend and the Angling Trade Show will compliment the Championships.

Angling is increasingly aimed at the younger generation and this event prioritises the attendance and active participation of young people. The Emerald World Masters Youth Trout Fly Fishing Competition, run by and in association with the Dublin Angling Initiative, takes place on the Saturday and promises to be a super competition for junior anglers.

To mark the opening of this world class event, a ‘Country Life Weekend’ is due to take place in the grounds of Carton Estate on 2nd & 3rd September featuring a medieval village, interactive country life attractions such as ‘have a go’ archery, fishing and falconry displays.

Sky Sports will be providing televised coverage of the 2006 World Casting Championships. For further information on the Championships and the Country Life Weekend please visit, for Carton House

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Pet - The Special One

An Smuigin is proud to deliver The Special One's latest take on The Irish Soccer Team, Stan, Basil Faulty and turning Andy O'Brien into Fabio Cannavaro!!

"Now I know how the French felt back in 1940 when after watching Germany crush Poland they waited for the inevitable invasion and defeat that would soon befall them. Now Steve Staunton faces the same fate.

How are our boys going to deal with the blitzkrieg tactics of aerial attacks from Klose with on rushing ground assaults from Ballack, Podolski ect? Last week the Dutch should have scored eight or nine and made us look like a pub team. Arjen Robben, the Dutch talisman told our media afterward not to blame Ireland for the 4-0 drubbing because our players are not really any good.

Listening to him, I was immediately outraged, where the hell does he get off panning our team what the hell has he achieved? Well he does play for the best club side in Britain and has played and scored at the last two major tournaments so perhaps he does know the standard that is required at this level.

Robben looks upon Ireland as a team in the same category as Cyprus, Latvia and Wales, teams where a one-nil defeat is a victory and where qualification is a dream rather than a goal. Now after Jack Charlton’s glory day’s and even our sojourn in Japan that is a sobering thought.

We are now seen as a poor football team, gone are the days of being a pain in the backside to play against under Charlton and McCarthy/Keane (Depending on your point of view). For me the question isn’t are we a bad team instead its why are we rubbish and what can we do to fix it.

First of all is it the FAI’s fault for appointing Stan? Since the defeats to Chile and Holland members of the media have been calling for Stan’s head. Now I’m not saying I was behind the decision to appoint a man who is the managerial equivalent of Theo Walcott but appointing the Walsall Reserve coach is the kind of thing we have grown used to from Basil Faulty or whoever runs the FAI. We were told we couldn’t get anyone else and that we’re not an attractive proposition for international coaches. Yet how did a bunch of championship journeymen attract Leo Beenhacker, a coach with vast experience at all levels of the game. Guss Hiddink is at Russia now, is Ireland not more attractive that Siberia? Even Terry Venebles was a better choice. Alas we now do with what we have because the simple fact is that Stan is going nowhere at least until the end of this campaign.

So what has Stan brought to the team? Courage, passion, work-rate and commitment were the key ingredients missing in the days of Brian Kerr and where the same things promised by Stan. We reminisced in nostalgic tales of Stan the driven leader while donning the Irish jersey. At least we knew his team would work their socks off and win or die trying, or so we thought.

To be honest I saw no desire or hunger against Holland and that is unacceptable. Some of the players may not have the talent of the Charlton era but on last weeks evidence they don’t have the work-rate either. We need to get right into the faces of opponents and hit them hard.

Often times to get a result you must spoil the other team’s flow, it may not be pretty but it wasn’t pretty in 1990 either. Stan is charged with the job, not of turning Andy O’Brien into Fabio Cannavaro but instead into Mick McCarthy. Who can forget Big Mick’s day out with Hagi, the Romanian wizard who McCarthy kicked up and down the pitch in World Cup 1990. Stan has to get Steven Reid and Graham Kavanagh to launch into Ballack and Klose.

Good footballing teams don’t like it and often can’t handle it, how else can you explain Blackburn, Bolton or Robbie Savage’s whole career. We let the Dutch play last week, when we should have kicked them. Getting strong and running our socks off is our only hope and the best thing is we should be able to do it easily. Slow the game down, break them up and hope duffer or Keane can create something or maybe a set piece will do the trick. It may not be pretty but we are not Brazil and it’s about time we realise that.

To that effect I suggest the following line-up. Given,Carr,Dunne,O’Brien,Kilbane,Finnan,Reid,O’Shea,Duff,Keane,Doyle.

I reckon there’s enough power and strength there to get right in their faces. Stephen Ireland could go in centre with Finnan going left back and Reid on the right, but Kilbane gives the kind of strength and running we are going to need. When we have the ball we’ve got enough quality to create chances and the main thing is the work-rate when we don’t.

So there’s my formula for success it’s simple and effective and all it requires is desire, something Stan must drill into them so rather than wait for the invasion lets attack them and see if Ballack and co fancy it."

Dont mention the WAR!

Young Gaelic Stars Exploding on Aussie Rules Scene

GAA officials have to wake up stop expressing concern and take action over the slow drain of these players from Ireland in recent years and the establishment of camps such as the one held in Limerick last year where AFL scouts can track the best young players in the game.

RISING Down football star Martin Clarke will sign for AFL club Collingwood today. Clarke will put pen to paper on a two-year international rookie contract with an option to extend the deal to three years with the Magpies.

The 2005 All-Ireland minor medal winner spent the month of July on trial at the Melbourne club. The trial and subsequent contract was arranged by former Roscommon footballer Paul Earley.

Clarke and his An Riocht club-mate, James Colgan, were the stars of Down's All-Ireland minor success and his loss will be a blow to the county's hopes of rebuilding under a new manager. Anyone who has ever watch Clarke play football, particularly at Ulster Colleges level will know what a superb footballer he is and what a huge loss his departure will be.

Clarke will become the fifth GAA player to swell the ranks of the AFL. Tadhg Kennelly is an established star with Sydney Swans and a Premiership winner last year, Setanta Ó hAilpín is in his third year with Carlton and making steady improvement while his brother Aisake is still in rookie ranks.

The former Laois minor Colm Begley has made remarkable progress with Brisbane Lions making his debut yesterday, setting a record for the fastest ever Rookie introduction!

Quinn to Sack himself!

The writing is on the wall for Niall Quinn's shortlived managerial career. In fairness to the Mighty Quinn he always knew it was a stop gap measure as he searched for a new manager at the Stadium of Light. Good news Niall...FORMER Charlton manager Alan Curbishley will be available for management once his six-month "break" finishes at the end of September.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of his book Valley of Dreams Curbishley, who announced his decision to step down as manager at the Valley on April 29 this year, made it clear that he had not "retired" and, although he was not actively looking, would consider offers in October.

'Shocked' Jones wants second sample test

Ah Marion, give it up...'Shocked' its time to own up and take it like the EPO hyped superhuman you are. FORMER triple Olympic champion Marion Jones said yesterday she was shocked her initial drugs test from a sample taken in June was positive. Jones added she had requested the testing of her second 'B' sample be dealt with quickly.

"I was shocked when I was informed about the positive 'A' sample," Jones said in the statement issued by her Los Angeles-area attorney Howard Jacobs.

England Have no Balls! Honest!!

Not content with been marginalised politically, England have now managed to isolate themselves on the cricket field with this latest debacle!..Who knew cricket could be so much fun!!

ON THE day Pakistan cast doubt on the rest of their tour, the England management team has been implicated in the ball-tampering row which erupted on the fourth day of the final Test at the Oval on Sunday and ended in the tourists being deemed to have forfeited the match.
It has emerged that on Sunday morning - the only day in the whole series when the issue of ball tampering arose - before the start of the day's play, England coach Duncan Fletcher went to see match referee Mike Procter.

Fletcher's visit was confirmed by an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman, who said: "It is not unusual for the England coach to meet with the match referee before play, but no complaint was made about the condition of the ball."

The implications of Fletcher's visit could have far-reaching consequences, not only for the rest of the tour, but also for the relations between the two boards and possibly even at diplomatic level between the two countries, given the depth of feeling expressed by the Pakistanis.

Would you be in my Grave as quick!!!

PAT ROE has moved quickly to put his hat in the ring for the Laois football job, expected to be declared vacant soon.

Mick O'Dwyer's departure is not yet official but when it is confirmed Roe, a former defender with the county who recently spearheaded a revival in Wexford fortunes, will be interested.

However, there was speculation in Laois last night that O'Dwyer would consider staying on if support was there for him to do so.

MIKE McNAMARA would be interested in taking over from Anthony Daly as Clare hurling manager but won't submit himself to any form of election.

McNamara, Clare's physical trainer when the county won All-Ireland titles in 1995 and '97 said he would consider a position he has always craved "if it was offered to me".

McNamara was trainer and selector to Ger Loughnane from 1995 to '99 but Loughnane changed his backroom team in 2000 and McNamara was replaced. He had indicated he would be going anyway.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Athenry GAA win FBD Connaught Final


Athenry GAA, Galway landed the prestigious title of Connaught champions in the FBD All Ireland GAA Golf Challenge in Claremorris Golf Club, Co Mayo on Friday 11th August. The team was represented by Jarlath Cloonan (15), Luke Glynn (13), Juno Barrett (10) and Colin Parr (16) who put a score together of 83 pts.

Athenry GAA, Co Galway will now take on the best of GAA golfers from Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Overseas at the All Ireland Final of the Challenge over two days at Faithlegg Hotel and Golf Club, Waterford on September 9th and 10th. Athenry GAA is the fourth team to qualify for the All Ireland finals this year. Competition debutants St. Brigid's of Dublin will represent Leinster following a strong challenge against Round Towers, Clondalkin, Derrygonnelly Harps GAA club from Fermanagh will represent Ulster and Dunhill GAA will represent Munster following their recent great performance to clinch the provincial title at Thurles Golf club.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Don't mention the WAR!

As part of the new and improved An Smuigin - we will now be running a section called Dont mention the WAR! - a slanted view at the last few days big sports stories!!

All comments aired...all other mentions welcomed!!

Liverpool win Community Shield!

I think I preferred it when it was called the charity shield. As a spectacle, it wasn't much to write home about. Shevchenko looks a class act, Chelsea's other big name signing Ballack looks like he doesn't have the stomach for premiership style midfield battle and Liverpool look pretty decent, despite the limited transfer budget their new signings all look the part.

Leitrim Footballers reach Croker in Tommy Murphy

After a 12 year wait at senior level, Leitrim are back in Croke Park in two weeks when they take on the men from the wee county (Louth) in the Tommy Murphy Cup final. Louth have been the most improved team of 2006 and it makes for a great final as recent encounters between the two teams have always been close fought affairs. Many of this current Leitrim senior team were part of the Minor side for 1998 who played Tyrone in Croke Park in the All Ireland Minor semi final so the trip may not be as daunting as many predict.

Is this the end of Clare Hurling?

After defeat by Kilkenny on Sunday many of this current Clare team are now surely looking at closing the book on their inter-county careers. After ten years of hurling at the highest level the lack of decent underage hurlers could spell the end for Clare hurling at least temporarily from hurlings top tier!

European Silver for Derval

After so much failure in athletics over the last number of years, it was brilliant to see Derval O'Rourke capture second place in the European championships in Gothenburg. The home nations continued success at these championships does beg the question why our own country cannot produce a greater number of athletes in Derval's mould who can genuinely compete.

Falling on Sven's Sword

Poor old Beckham, like him or love him. He didn't deserve to have his international career ended as a result of the bumbling Swede. Probably the greatest dead ball expert of his generation, Smuigin wonders will he ever be remembered as a great footballer with a high profile, or a high profile who was a decent footballer.

The Dubs arrive late AGAIN

No other sporting event in Europe would have been delayed for 15mins because of crowd delay. Simple Fact. Yet time and time again, the GAA on the behest of the Gardai are forced to delay the start time of Dublin matches. This is simply not on and is completely unfair on the opposition and their traveling fans. What will happen if Dublin gets to an All Ireland Final..will that be delayed also. An Smugin suggests that Croker fine Dublin County Board for last wkd and maybe then the message will get through.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Looming Battle for GAA Landscape

With the championship season well and truly in full swing at both club and inter-county level, GAA followers can be forgiven for not taking notice of the impending battle between clubs, county boards and Croke Park as cash rich property developers threaten to cement over Ireland’s GAA landscape.

Over the last number of weeks a number of clubs and grounds have come to the fore-front of these developments, namely, Cusack Park, Co. Clare, St Patricks, Co. Down and Killmallock, Co. Limerick.

The most significant of these involves a consortium of developers who are keen to buy the home of Clare GAA for a staggering €80m. The latest figure for Cusack Park in Ennis has emerged as the closing date for submissions of interest passed. A prime town centre site, it is understandable that Cusack Park is an attractive proposition for developers even with the €80m price tag. What makes the deal all the more sweeter for the Clare County board is the promise of a purpose-built GAA stadium close to the town with additional on site facilities.

With these types of figures and additional sweeteners on offer it is easy to see why Clare County board are examining all of the options. What would the much malaigned David O’Leary have given for 80m during his tenure at Aston Villa. In response to these developments been covered by the various media, headquarters issued a statement stating that no club or county board could sell on any GAA grounds without prior consent from Croker. This will have undoubtedly angered many within grassroots GAA, as the type of deal outlined above would literally catapult any GAA club into a very exclusive group with rich coffers and top class facilities.

Earlier this year, Kerry County Board admitted it was considering selling Austin Stack Park in Tralee, after “tentative proposals” had been received from local developers. The trend is expected to grow in the coming months and years, with grounds like Dr Cullen Park in Carlow, Cusack Park in Mullingar, Pearse Park in Longford amd St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge occupying prime development location. But then again, what GAA club doesn’t have the prime development location in most towns and villages across the country?

Most villages grew up around the local GAA club, with the local pub and post office or shop usually in close proximity. The grounds are an integral park of rural towns and villages, however the development and expansion of these towns and villages around the grounds has also meant that any attempted re-development is usually hampered by a lack of space and also crucially by a lack of funds. With many clubs development plans been subject to the lottery of government grants, the opportunity to clinch such property deals as are been reported must be a huge temption for clubs and county boards alike. In contrast, the latest dictate from Croke Park will be viewed as an attempt to control the future of grassroots clubs, taking responsbility away from the hardworking officers and members.

When you consider that Dublin City FC, a premier league team recently went into administration the decision currently facing Clare County Board is a huge one, any accountant worth his or her salt would scream for the deal to be completed, ensuring the clubs future as well as top class facilities for generations to come. On the other hand side, you can bet you bottom euro that the morale compass of every club will be steered by those few hard-line GAA men and women that are resident features in every club across the country.

So as developers are drawing up proposals and identifying potential GAA grounds as sites for desirable apartments and town houses the battle to radically redefine the GAA landscape is well and truly on the horizon. Whatever the future holds, there are undoubtedly some men at headquarters waking up in cold sweats at the thoughts of clubs becoming richer then county boards and god forbid county boards becoming financial heavyweights in their own rights, no longer needing to produce the begging bowl everytime the face the Pale. If the developers get their way, there could be concrete poured on GAA grounds yet, one suspects if Croke Park has its way the only thing poured will be cold water!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Celebrity Counties...can you do better!!

Looking through the last eight teams in the competition one night, we ‘accidentally’ turned on LOVE ISLAND. After four minutes we decided it was far far better Baywatch we promptly turned the sound off. Ten minutes later we began to ask…what celebrities truly represent this years quarter-finalists!!

Donegal: Samantha Mumba (Really popular for a while, keeps coming back when you think they have nothing left, all in all something a little different.)

Armagh: Angelina Jolie (Attitude, strength, the fear factor and amazing consistency. Capable of stunning glamour and kicking your ass. All Ireland Champions elect if you ask me)

Laois: Jennifer Anniston (Ah the nice team. This is the kind of team you would bring home to your parents. Many peoples favourites, look to have gotten over beatings by northern teams both on and off the field )

Dublin: Jodie Marsh (In your face, brash and a real crowd pleaser. Not sure about the accent but appeals to the common man. Knocking on the door of real fame for a while now.

Mayo: Scarlett Johanson (Potential to be a real star. Ability, talent and style all there in abundance. However, not yet the finished article each good performance matched with a horrendous day out. Not really in anyone’s top three but getting there.

Westmeath: Jade Goody (One summer of fame and celebrity, since then nothing to get excited about.)

Kerry: Victoria Beckham (Glamorous, stylish and a champion among rivals. Used to constant media scrutiny and rumour. Very hard to listen to)

Cork: Jennifer Lopez (This woman thinks she is god’s gift to acting, singing, dancing and just about everything else which must mean there’s some cork blood in there somewhere. In addition both constantly remind us where they come from. In terms of chances of winning the all-Ireland well " used to have a little now they have a lot")