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Tuesday August 20, 2019

Dundalk vindicated by Champions League win, says Perth

courtesy of RTE

Dean Jarvis of Dundalk, centre, and team-mates celebrate

Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth believes that his side’s Champions League qualifying triumph over Riga will go a long way to silencing the club’s doubters.

A dramatic night in Riga ended in jubilant scenes for Dundalk as Sean Hoare’s scored the winning sudden-death penalty to secure a showdown with Qarabeg in round two of the Champions League.

Hoare, who shook off the memories of Dundalk’s Europa League defeat to Larnaca last season, stepped up to fire home the penalty that decided the tie after a fine performance in the heart of the Dundalk defence.

For Perth the win was a vindication of everything that Dundalk have worked towards this season, despite some dissenting voices earlier in the campaign.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, the Dundalk coach said: “We’ve experienced this before, maybe not a penalty shoot-out, but these nights are light that.

“We showed what they [Riga] were like over the two legs, a very difficult side, so there’s a massive relief and a massive amount of emotion there.

“I’ve probably kept it quiet but this management team had a lot of questions asked of us this year.

“It’s only one round but at the same time, we’re very proud of the players, we’ve done our homework and it’s paid off in the penalty shootout and Gary did his business right.

“We’re just very proud of the whole group and as I’ve said, people have questioned this group quite a lot and it’s a really good night for us.”

Perth paid tribute to Riga, who pushed Dundalk all the way, so much so that the sides could not be separated over 210 minutes of football.

“They’re a good, good side,” he said. “Latvian football hasn’t been the big pinnacle as people would see it over the last few years but they rebuilt their team, they signed four or five really good players since they drew us and they probably fancied their chances.

“In these games you’ve got to stand up. We probably missed a couple of chances at home and then we had to dig in tonight and our squad was again tested.

“We’ve had injury problems this year, that doesn’t excuse some of the things we did in the second-half, but you could see the strain on bodies and we’ll have to get them fixed for what is a difficult next tie.

“We practiced penalties and we spent a couple of hours today looking at where they go, we were watching penalties as far back as six years ago from some of their players. It’s alright to say it’s paid off but at the end of the day Gary had to do what he done.”

O’Neill steps down as Kildare manager

courtesy of RTE

O'Neill says the time is right to step away after four years in charge of the Kildare footballers

Cian O’Neill says the failure of the Kildare footballers to reach their potential under his watch is the primary reason he has decided to step down after four years in charge.

The Lilywhites had six championship outings in 2019, but defeat to Tyrone in the third round of the qualifiers brought an end to their campaign.

He remained coy after that defeat about his future, but informed the County Board of his decision on Monday evening.

“Unfortunately, the successes of consecutive promotions from Division 3 to Division 1, a first Leinster final in eight years and progression to the Super 8s in 2018 was met with equal disappointment across these four years where frustratingly we didn’t always reach our potential as a group,” he said in a statement.

“As manager, this is my greatest regret and ultimately my responsibility, and this undoubtedly informed my decision to step away from this role.

“This will hopefully leave time and space for my successor and the chosen group of players to take the challenge to a new level under a new direction.”

O’Neill worked as a strength and conditioning coach with the Limerick footballers, Tipperary hurlers (including their All-Ireland win in 2010) and Mayo footballers before being headhunted by new Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice in 2012 and was a key member of the backroom team that won the All-Ireland two years later.

The former Moorefield player took over from Jason Ryan in 2015 and led his native county to back-to-back promotions in the league.

From the Dubs’ ball boy to World Cup winning captain

courtesy of RTE

Eoin Morgan with the Cricket World Cup trophy

Cricket World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan used to kick the balls back to Dublin’s footballers at training as they got ready for their 1995 All-Ireland win.

Morgan was born and bred in Rush, north county Dublin, and he played cricket for Ireland before he made the switch to England more than ten years ago.

Eoin’s father Joe was, and still is, head groundsman at Trinity College’s sports ground in Santry and the family used to live onsite.

The Boys in Blue, hurling and football, trained there on-and-off for more than a decade and Joe’s sports-mad kids were regulars observers at the sessions.

“They were always around,” said Paul Clarke, who was part of the Dubs side that won Sam Maguire in ’95, when they beat Tyrone after a controversial final at Croke Park.

In subsequent years Clarke became a friend of the Morgan family through his work in the emergency services at Dublin Airport.

He said: “I’m always following how Joe and Eoin are doing. It’s great to see him reach international recognition, travelling the world and being recognised at the highest level.”

Morgan shows his football skills at Ireland training at the 2008 Cricket World Cup
Morgan is 32 years old and he would have only been eight back in 1995. While he might have been a Dubs fan, cricket and rugby were his number one sports.

He was a promising player with the oval ball in his secondary school days at Dublin’s CUS, but the bat and ball game was always his calling.

Morgan was earmarked for a professional career from an early age and he made his Ireland international debut as a teenager in 2003.

Having travelled over to be part of Middlesex’s county cricket youth set-up during school holidays he made the move full-time across the water and was then given his full England debut in 2009.

Paul Clarke
An Irishman and Dub who gathered footballs at training in Santry Ave during our All Ireland year ’95 now captains England to cricket World Cup. Who’d have guessed what would happen nearly 30yrs later.

It quickly became clear that he wasn’t going to make a test cricketer and he concentrated on the shorter form of the sport – 50-over one day internationals and T20 rather than the five-day game.

He reached the very pinnacle on Sunday when he led England to the most-dramatic of world cup final win over New Zealand at Lord’s in London, the spiritual home of the game.

Djokovic overcomes Agut to reach Wimbledon final

courtesy of RTE

Novak Djokovic will face either Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer in the final

Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic held off a spirited challenge from Spanish outsider Roberto Bautista Agut to triumph in four sets and advance to Sunday’s Wimbledon final against either Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal.

Remarkably the 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 success was the Serb’s 12th victory in the last 13 Grand Slam semi-finals and he will be seeking his fifth title at Wimbledon and 16th Grand Slam singles crown in the latest installment of the Big Three showdown.

Djokovic won the first set relatively comfortably but was pegged back in the second as 23rd-seed Bautista Agut, appearing in his first Grand Slam semi and buoyed by winning the pair’s last two meetings, upped his serving and took advantage of some uncharacteristic errors from the hot favourite.

The match turned on an amazing 45-shot rally in the sixth game of the third set, which Djokovic won to break serve – and from then on he took total control.

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