Lukaku flops as City dominate
It was a huge weekend in the Premier League although I don’t think there were any shocks. Manchester City proved that they are far and away the best side in the division with an easy win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The wonder was that the margin was only 2-1 given their total dominance of the game.
As a United man it was sad to see them being totally outclassed and I fear that a distant second is the best they can hope for this season. I was prepared to give Romelu Lukaku a chance to prove himself but the reality is that he is not a top class player despite costing a whopping £75 million. In the big games he has been found wanting. United fans would be willing to forgive the couple of defensive mistakes but he has missed chances in games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Even more depressing from a United point of view is the behaviour of Jose Mourinho. After the game he claimed that Manchester City were lucky! I know he has to put a gloss on it but anyone who was watching the game could not come to that conclusion. Allegedly he started a row afterwards in the dressing room area. He was a great manager surely but I’m afraid the key word there is ‘was’.
Liverpool continue to frustrate their fans. After a brilliant display in the Champions League last week, they dominated the Merseyside Derby on Sunday only to concede a silly penalty late on. Jurgen Klopp is becoming tiresome with his protestations too. Everyone is wrong except himself. He left probably his two best players on the line last weekend and paid the price.
Of the five teams who are still in the Champions League from the Premier League only Chelsea got a bad draw (Barcelona) and all the others should advance to the quarter-finals which would be very interesting. With regard to the Premier League they are as well to hand over the trophy this week.
A sign of how things have changed in modern day football came on Saturday during the West Ham v Chelsea game when the cameras showed the Chelsea subs passing around a hot water bottle on the bench! Commentator Jonathan Pearce remarked: “In 37 years covering football in this country I have never seen the like”. No further comment required.
Captain Devaney a good choice
It was good to hear that Conor Devaney is the new Roscommon senior football captain for 2018. He is now one of our senior players and he had a great year this year, which ended with an All Star nomination. Conor was one of the stars of the Roscommon All-Ireland winning minor team in 2006. Where have all those years gone?
Shane Curran will be the U-20 manager for 2018 and there is a great pool of talented young players to choose from. The U-20 Connacht final will be the curtain raiser for the senior match in 2018. It would be nice to be in both!
I also see where Frankie Dolan will continue as the St. Brigid’s manager in 2018 alongside selectors Mark O’Carroll and Shane Curran. County finalists Roscommon Gaels will also have their manager from the last three years, Liam McNeill, back in charge in 2018 and former Gaels manager Davy Kelly will take change at St. Dominic’s in 2018.
Irish provinces impress in Europe
There was great rugby action at the weekend and I managed to see both Leinster and Munster on the TV. Munster blew Leicester away with a brilliant performance at Thomond Park and it was a joy to watch. I know that it will be a different story at Welford Road this week but Munster are a good solid side.
Leinster were excellent too as they inflicted defeat on Exeter who lost for the first time at home in two years. Ulster also won, and away from home too, against Harlequins.
It was great to see Connacht winning in such style away to Brive. Every time this year that Connacht are written off they seem to be able to come up with a great win. It is hard to believe that this was much the same team who lost to Zebre the previous week in the Pro14. They are now looking good for a home quarter-final in the Challenge Cup.
O’Connor takes financial baton
I have been attending GAA conventions in Roscommon for over 30 years and time was when it was one of the major events in the county during the winter months. It used to start at 1 pm on a Sunday and on several occasions it took two sittings to get the business done such was the level of debate.
Thankfully things are more streamlined now and on Monday night the 2017 Roscommon convention was held in the Abbey Hotel. There were two motions discussed in total and the entire business of the meeting took about an hour and a half.
I remember years when there might be 35 motions on the Clár. The vast majority of the meeting was taken up with the financial report presented by outgoing treasurer Seamus Maher. In all the years of attending the convention it was the most comprehensive and easy to understand presentation I have seen.
The finances of the board were in a very perilous state when Maher took over the post two years ago but it looks like they are well on the way to stability now. It is a massive job with huge responsibility now and the County Board turned over in excess of €2 million in 2017 which is on a par with many mid-size businesses.
Seamus Maher stepped down from his position which is a pity because he did a superb job. However, he will hand over to David O’Connor who is well familiar with how the system works having done such great work with Club Rossie over the years. He has big shoes to fill but he will be well capable of carrying on the baton and I wish him the best of luck.
Rocket Ronnie is the greatest
Snooker was one of the most watched TV sports in the 80s and 90s. Interest has waned in the past decade but there are still some players worth watching and one of those is Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Last Sunday night I watched the final session of the UK Championship when he faced Shaun Murphy in the final. O’Sullivan was simply majestic as he registered one brilliant break after another. His skill and control of the cue ball was unbelievable.
Stephen Hendry was one of those in commentary. He and O’Sullivan are often spoken about as the greatest players ever to play the game. Hendry said: “Looking at Ronnie O’Sullivan tonight I don’t think there is any doubt about who is the greatest of all time”. A nice thing to say and very revealing too.