Author Archives: Robert Cox

About Robert Cox

I'm a sports journalist based in county Meath, Ireland. I have a passion for all sport, the people behind it and the stories they have to tell. You can find me on the sidelines, end terraces or a parade ring near you!

Whitty and Regan among six Meath players nominated for the Champions 15 team

Shane Whitty (far left) with his Blackhall Gaels team mates Hugh Smith and Stephen Morris.

Blackhall Gaels’ Shane Whitty and Kiltale forward Jack Regan have both been nominated along with four of their Meath Gaa team mates for the Champions 15 team 2019.

A collective of players from the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups will make up the All Star team.

The pair are joined by fellow their fellow County men Sean Geraghty (Captain), Shane Brennan, Damien Healy and Keith Keoghan, as the Christy Ring Cup winners head the list of nominees.

This is the first year that a selection of 45 players has been chosen from the Ring, Rackard and Meagher competitions with the new selection process introducing player and coach feedback.

Those selected were finalised by an independent selection committee of journalists and referees with all players competing in the Joe McDonagh Cup excluded as they were considered for the PwC Liam McCarthy Cup All-Stars.

The Champion 15 selection will be awarded as part of the PwC All-Stars event in Dublin’s Convention Centre on Friday November 1 with 20 counties featured across the extensive list of 45.

Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Champion 15 Nominees:

Simon Doherty, Dean Gaffney, Caolan Rice (all Armagh), Diarmaid Carney (Cavan), Brian Óg McGilligan, Sé McGuigan (both Derry), Danny Cullen (Donegal), Stephen Keith, Dáithi Sands, Eoghan Sands, Caolan Taggart (all Down), John Duffy (Fermanagh), James Burke, Jack Sheridan (both Kildare), Darren Crowley, Ronan Crowley, Greg Jacob (all Lancashire), James Glancy, Declan Molloy, Enda Moreton, Liam Moreton, Gavin O’Hagan (all Leitrim), Shane Lawless (London), David Buckley (Longford), D Geoghegan (Louth), Shane Boland (Mayo), Shane Brennan, Sean Geraghty, Damien Healy, Keith Keoghan, Jack Regan, Shane Whitty (all Meath), Fergal Rafter (Monaghan), Cathal Dolan, Pádraig Kelly (both Roscommon), Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch, Keith Raymond, Joe Starr, James Weir (all Sligo), Damian Casey, Tiernan Morgan (both Tyrone), Willie Allen, John Collins (both Warwickshire), John Henderson, Stephen Kelly (Wicklow)

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Maynooth Jockey Maye partners Geological to famous Dundalk victory

Young Maynooth Jockey Vanessa Maye rode her first career win onboard ‘Geological’ in the ‘Book your Christmas party at Dundalk 7f handicap’ at Dundalk Stadium tonight.

The victory was one of the most popular on the night as ‘Geological’ won on his 100th career start and 55th (5wins) at the County Louth track, giving Maye her first victory.

Maye got the eventual 22/1 winner to the front one furlong in and found herself two lengths clear with two furlongs remaining, before extending that advantage and though they were slightly reeled in close to home, they held on well.

‘Geological’ has a habit of giving jockeys their first career win, with 10lb claimer Maye the 3rd jockey to benefit from the Damian English trained legend crossing the line with its nose in front.

English gave his reasons for booking the highly rated Maye; “We thought her 10lb claim would come in handy and he’s won twice before for girls so we thought we’d give it a go. That’s the third jockey he’s given a first winner to as well”

The former Scoil Choca Naofa and Scoil Dara Kilcock student, who works out of Jack Davison’s yard in Dunboyne has a very promising future.

Kilcock Ladies reinstated to Leinster Junior Championship

Kilcock Ladies Footballers have been reinstated into the Leinster Junior Championship along with Moate of Westmeath and Longford side Grattans.

The extraordinary turn of events comes at the expense of Carlow champions Old Leighlin, who have beaten all three sides enroute to what was meant to be a Leinster final meeting with Navan O’Mahonys on October 26th.

The Carlow Senior Champions won the Leinster Junior Championship in 2018, thus bringing into effect Rule 222: A Club which wins the Provincial Junior or Intermediate Championship must move up a grade for the following year‘s Provincial Championship.

Old Leighlin defeated Moate in the preliminary round, before needing extra time to overcome Kildare Champions Kilcock in the Quarter-Final.

However it is since their most recent victory, a 6-07 to 3-05 win over Longford side Grattans, that this has come to light.

The Longford Intermediate Champions queried that fact as to why they were playing the current Leinster Junior Champions, when Old Leighlin should in fact have been playing in the Leinster Intermediate Championship.

More to follow….

Costa Rica, Dinosaurs and Magpies; Meet Mick O’Grady

We caught up with Kildare and Celbridge defender Mick O’Grady recently to try and get to know him a bit better.

On the pitch he is one of the tightest markers in the country but off it find out why magpies, dinosaurs and Costa Rica are of interest to him!

Name: Mick O’Grady

Club/county: Celbridge and Kildare

Current position: Full Back

Any superstitions before a game? I have to salute a magpie if I see one on its own.

If there was a Gaa transfer market, what 2 players(male/female) would you want your team to sign? Michael Murphy and Sean O’Shea

What is your greatest achievement? Playing with Kildare/Making it through college alive.

Favourite Position(on the pitch)? Full Forward – I’m wasted in the full back line.

Played my first game: An under 10 competition with Celbridge and against AIT in the O’Byrne cup in 2014 for Kildare.

Favourite players growing up: Darragh Ó Sé and Dermot Earley

What or who made you want to play football: My Dad is a Kerry man so I grew up watching them win All Ireland’s in the 2000’s and I think that was a major factor in why I wanted to play football

Best piece of advice for up coming player: Don’t let any setbacks define you. There’s always another path if you work hard enough.

Other sports you play or would like to play: I used to play hurling and soccer. I’d love to play a competitive American Football match.

What was the best sporting event you ever witnessed? Liverpool’s comeback in the Champions League final 2005.

If you could go back in time to witness an event, what would it be? Building of the Pyramids or Prehistoric times to see dinosaurs roaming.

Where would you love to go on holiday? Macchu Picchu or Costa Rica

Favourite TV show? Father Ted

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Grabbed hold of Mark Donnellan’s beard

Favourite month of the year and why? December – Christmas and silly season

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Skinny or chunky chips? Chunky

Tayto or King? King

Fanta Orange or Club Orange? Club Orange all day

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Quickest teammate: Daniel Flynn

Funniest teammates: Keith Cribbin/Mark Donnellan

Most skillful teammate: Niall Kelly

Fittest teammate: Paul Cribbin

Player who spends most time in front of mirror: Kevin O’Callaghan

Most Committed: Eoin Doyle

Best Dresser: David Slattery

Worst Dresser: David Hyland without a shadow of a doubt

Downey protests his innocence following French suspension

Kildare jockey Robbie Downey is actively protesting his innocence saying he will definitely be appealing and doing everything he can to clear his name after receiving a 6-month suspension from racing authorities in France after allegedly testing positive for taking cocaine.

The 24 year old, who is based in Britain, has had two independent hair tests carried out, which returned negative results for the drug, however the authorities in France have refused to take them into consideration.

Understandably Downey is upset by this and has made public the results of his tests, saying he is “bitterly disappointed to have been found in breach” and that authorities have ignored the medical evidence he presented which shows he has not taken the drug.

An official report posted by France Galop reveals that Downey, who has been used mainly this season by trainers David O’Meara and David Barron and who has ridden nine UK winners, tested positive for metabolics of cocaine while in action at Lion d’Angers on June 19th of this year.

At a France Galop hearing on October 3rd, the Kilcock native was found guilty. The verdict has stunned Downey and indeed the Professional Jockey’s Association, who will ask, if necessary, that the BHA reciporate the punishment which is due to come into effect from October 24th to April 23rd 2020.

The PJA have claimed a complete miscarriage of justice after the France Galop imposed a six month suspension for allegedly riding under the influence of cocaine, despite Downey providing two hair tests that returned negative for the drug.

The PJA’s plan to appeal this comes in light of the BHA announcing last month that it may introduce hair testing, give that drug use can be detected in hair three months after consumption.

The PJA are extremely concerned that there could be a serious risk of a miscarriage of justice and chief executive Paul Struthers, who is firmly behind Downey, stated; “It must be extremely upsetting to be facing a six month suspension when you have never taken cocaine and I am very concerned that there is a risk of a miscarriage of justice.

“As soon as Robbie found out that his ‘A’ sample had returned a positive result he immediately paid for a hair sample at an accredited British laboratory in order to prove his innocence. He also paid for a second hair sample at an accredited French laboratory and both of these tests returned negative. These results clearly demonstrate that he hasn’t taken cocaine. We are greatly concerned that these two seperate and independent results have been ignored by France Galop.

“It is unclear why France Galop is refusing to apply the same testing thresholds that operate in other testing regimes and why they refuse to disclose the levels in Robbie’s urine, this despite the fact Robbie asked them to do so when reporting the analysis of his ‘B’ sample.

“We are therefore taking the unprecedented step of making those hair samples public to demonstrate that Robbie is telling the truth.

“The BHA recently announced that they would be bringing in hair sampling as an additional testing matrix and Robbie has two such samples that prove his innocence.

“In those circumstances it would be a grave injustice were he to be banned for six months for something he clearly hasn’t done.

In the publicised summary of the hearing the France Galop noted that, while the hair samples showed that Downey was not a habitual user of cocaine, they did not prove conclusively that he had not consumed the drug.

Downey said; “I am 100% innocent and have never taken the drug. I have two negative hair samples to back this up and I will be definitely appealing and doing everything I can to clear my name”

MVP for Kilcock’s Kirsten Monaghan in Limerick

Well done to Kirsten Monaghan of the North Kildare Eagles u18 girls basketball team who won MVP (most valued player) when her side played in a tournament in UL on Saturday last.

The Eagles finished third in the tournament, beating the hosts UL Huskies & losing to Titans from Galway & St Colms from Limerick.

Monaghan, who is also a top athlete with her club St Cocas in Kilcock, was joined on The Eagles team by fellow Kilcock girls Katie Goodwin, Caoimhe Matthews & Hanna Eneaneke. The rest of team are made up of girls from Maynooth, Leixlip & Naas.

Maynooth Student begins journey that could lead to Paris Olympics 2024

Maynooth Post Primary/CC student Aoife Doran has been specially selected to take part in a regional development squad for the Irish Swim Team. Effectively, this will give Aoife the very best shot at being picked to represent Ireland in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

The ambitious programme aims to enter 4 young Irish females as a relay team to the 2024 Olympics.

Interestingly, this will be the first Irish entry since the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

There are only 3 hubs of 12 swimmers based around Ireland and athletes will have to maintain high standards to stay in the squad. As well as being in the Leinster Regional development squad, Aoife trains hard 7 times a week. She could also be called up to the Swim Ireland International team shortly.

This Sunday, Aoife will compete in the Senior Schools gala for Maynooth Post Primary.