Category Archives: Uncategorized

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”

Advertisements

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.

Coffee, Christmas and Cows: Meet Mickey Burke!

We caught up with Mickey Burke recently to try and get to know the Meath Gaa legend a bit better. On the pitch we know he isn’t one bit afraid of his opposite number when it comes to winning the ball but off the field of play, what is Mickey’s worst nightmare, what’s the bravest thing he’s ever done and what’s on the Longwood man’s bucket list?

When are you happiest? When drinking coffee, in the gym/training or watching sport on TV.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? Never give up.

Do you have any pre-match rituals? A lof of caffeine plus I like to go for a jog or lift some weights before a game to warm me up.

What is one moment in sport history that you will never forget? I will never forget USA 94. I was very, very young but our own pub was packed for the Ireland games. I remember the final and thinking wow that World Cup trophy is very shiny!

What is your favourite post-exercise snack? A protein shake from ROS Nutrition.

What is your all-time favourite food? Fresh fruit. I love all the berries.

Your idea of hell on earth? A room full of rats!

What is on your bucket list? To attend the Rugby League Grand Final at Old Trafford. Or I’d love to box professionally, even for one fight.

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Getting on my father’s cattle most days. It takes great bravery and you have to have your wits about you. BEWARE OF THE BULL!!!

Any superstitions? Not really, I just make sure I have all my gear ready the night before a match, so I lay out “the man”

Favourite month of the year and why? December. It’s Christmas and everyone is around, all the family and friends.

Fav TV show? Only Fools And Horses.

Position: Anywhere! I’ve played championship football for Meath in every position except in goals and midfield.

Played my first game: I think it was an u10 game v Ballinabrackey in Longwood.

Favorite player growing up: Darren Fay and or Trevor Giles.

What was the best sporting event you ever witnessed? Meath winning the 1999 All-Ireland final v Cork and the craic we had on Hill 16 alongside my father.

Where would you love to go on holiday? The Blue Lagoon in Iceland or New Zealand.

****** Which would you rather? ******

Tayto or King? Neither. Ask Ross Ryan!

Tea or coffee? Coffee.

Skinny or chunky chips? Chunky.

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

**** Teammates ****

Quickest teammate: Cillian O’Sullivan.

Funniest: Sean Tobin.

Most skillful: Mickey Newman or Sean Tobin.

Fittest: Séamus Lavin

Committed: Donal Keogan.

Best dresser: Shane Glynn.

Jumpers for Goalposts

By David Doyle of Rhyle Sports

Looking Out into that empty field evoked differing emotions in Keith Kelly. There was sadness that the same space that once was home to the tackles, the shrieks the boyhood heroes but above all the connectivity was now vacant. Struggling with his own mental health at the time there was also a yearning for the return of those carefree times, for the camaraderie and the simplicity.

Kelly went on to found Jumpers for Goalposts. It is a throwback concept to the days when outdoor activity ruled and its concepts are simple, accessible and inclusive. The ‘rules’ could not be simpler and in an era where almost everything is measured, ranked and tracked it is a refreshingly qualitative concept. The ‘rules’ alternate between simple and humorous. It is played on a grass area large enough to host a game. All that is required is a ball and four jumpers for goalposts. There are no officials, half time is when players need a break and when it’s time to finish up ‘next goal wins’.

The current media is awash with the epidemic that is mental health. Despite the fact that transportation and communication are easier than ever before as a race, we are more isolated and disconnected than at any time in history. With the situation worsening on a daily basis the ability to apportion blame is ongoing. Whilst Jumpers for goalposts is not a panacea for all male mental health ills it uses the dual strands of simplicity and retracing your steps to return you to a point in your life where you were at your happiest.

It is not a competitor to masters football and its origins and motivations in setting up tip the hat as far in the direction of mental health as they do to football ‘Jumpers for goalposts is very much about promoting a mental health space. As men, we just don’t talk and it is about giving men the opportunity and confidence to build up a network. Football acts as the hook’ adds Kelly.

Founded on a trial basis Kelly recalls an element of apprehension prior to the first meeting ‘It began as a sort of social experiment, I was tending to meet old friends mainly at funerals and I remember thinking would anyone actually turn up? Over 70 people showed up and had a great time’. From there the concept expanded to new locations and continues to gain a foothold in new communities. It has recently begun in Kilcock, Galway and Mountmellick.

As long as I can recall I have had a fascination with retracing your steps. In literal and simplistic terms retracing your steps is a regressive technique used to find something you lost. In metaphorical terms, it is about reconnecting with an inner sense of happiness and simplicity that has subsequently been either lost or eroded. Like many, when trying times or circumstances present themselves I tend to revisit places or activities that you associate with the creation of happiness. It has happened that often that it is uncanny.

In many ways, Jumpers for goalposts adopts that symmetrical approach by bringing you back to a situation that brought you happiness in your childhood and early adulthood. Whilst initially the love of the game may have brought you here it is now that plus the camaraderie and connectivity that has brought you back. Kelly sums up the concept ‘It gives you a really great sense of belonging, sometimes I think there is just not enough laughter in the world. Jumpers for goalposts is completely non competitive. If you fall over, someone picks you up”.

The success of the concept and the uptake thus far is something Kelly is very proud of as it creates a sense of laughter and community spirit. The concept has now spread to four locations throughout the region and new community leaders have come on board. Participants have included Paul Howard (of Ross O’Carroll Kelly fame) and Kelly has been interviewed on the Ryan Tubridy show as well as being featured in the Irish Independent by acclaimed journalist Ewan McKenna. Yet, despite the lights, camera, action moments that have arisen since the creation of the concept I am left in little doubt that the intrinsic satisfaction garnered from the simple differences jumpers for goalposts makes in the lives of the participants outweighs that of any national profile or attention ‘I tend to arrive a little bit early and reflect, I remember sitting on the side of the hill one day and a guy arrived early. In our conversation he opened up to me describing some of the issues he was having with alcohol and cocaine. I remember thinking that jumpers for goalposts was almost part of his therapy and ultimately that is what the concept is all about’.

The next time you pass by a grassy area on Sunday morning you may be greeted by an unfamiliar sight. A plethora of middle aged men may now occupy the previously vacant space. Whilst you will bear witness to the banter, the laughter, the tackles, the therapy and the connectivity there will come a point where the tension may tangibly increase, just as the game draws to a close.

Next goal wins.

McDunphy wins the Danny O’Shea Open 10 Mile TT

Kilcock man Conn McDunphy has won the Danny O’Shea Open 10 Mile TT promoted by Sorrento Cycling Club in Co Wikclow.

Now racing with CC Nogent-sur-Oise in France, McDunphy is home at present and put in a good time yesterday; clocking 20:19 on a day when the riders faced a stiff breeze.

McDunphy was 12 seconds up on runner-up Paul Kennedy (Foran CC), with Greg Swinand (Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo) in 3rd at 28 seconds

After the race McDunphy took to twitter with his reaction “Finally won a bike race this year at the Danny O’Shea TT. Happy to be back going fast on my TT bike, now have all eyes on the remaining races with CC Nogent-sur-Oise. Thanks to my chauffeur Jennifer, now I can afford money for petrol”

Top 5

  1. Conn McDunphy CC Nogent Oise 20.19.79
  2. Paul Kennedy Foran CC 20.32.96
  3. Greg Swinand Dan Morrissey MIG Pactimo 20.47.41
  4. Peter McColgan St Tiernans CC 21.13.46
  5. Paul Keogh Yeats Country CC 22.42.33
  • Photos: Sean Rowe

    Robert Cox’s GAA Weekend Treble

    Robert Cox’s GAA Weekend Treble – July 13th & 14th

    The Super 8s are finally here this weekend and apart from a few expected one-sided and dead rubber games over the course of the next month, we can now actually start to look forward to some close encounters and high quality football.

    All eight teams are in action over the course of this Saturday and Sunday and I have taken a look at three of the games, opting to leave the Donegal v Meath game well alone!!

     

    IMG-20180609-WA0001

     

    ROSCOMMON v TYRONE

    Tyrone -2

    First up is the meeting of Connacht Champions Roscommon and perennial qualifier experts Tyrone at 5pm in Dr. Hyde Park at 5pm on Saturday evening. Once again I expect Mickey Harte’s men to come away with a relatively comfortable victory. Ever since their disappointing Ulster semi final loss to Donegal, the Red-Hand men, lead by their instrumental full forward Cathal McShane have racked up routine wins away to Longford and Kildare and against Cavan in Clones. The Cavan win was particularly impressive, given its margin, 16 points in the end. In McShane and Harte they have two of the best players in the country at the minute but they are more than just a two man team, as the Rossies will find out to their detriment come Saturday evening.

    In fairness to Roscommon they do garner some respect given their exploits in the west, beating both Mayo and Galway enroute to claiming the Nestor cup but one fears that could be the highlight of their year. They have quality in their ranks in the shape of Conor Cox, Enda Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh but the month off since their success might leave them a bit rusty. In comparison Tyrone are flying, with three games on the spin of late. The sides met at the same stage last year, with Tyrone coming out easy winners on a scoreline of 4-24 to 2-12.

    I expect a repeat of this, but not to the extent of 12 months ago so Tyrone -2 is my pick here.

     

    DUBLIN v CORK

    Dublin -8

    It’s the clash of the two big cities at Croke Park on Saturday night at 7pm as Dublin take their next step in their quest for five in a row and I expect them to come through this one with some ease, without probably even needing to get out of the 2nd or 3rd gear in the process.

    To reach this stage Ronan McGrath’s Cork side have only had to negotiate facile wins over Limerick and Laois and though they have been free scoring in both them ties and in their Munster final loss to Kerry, this will be a completely new challenge for them. They have improved somewhat since their poor league form seen them relegated to Division 3 of the league but unfortunately for them it won’t be enough to even come close to the Dubs on the wide open expanses of HQ. The Rebels have found the net 10 times in their 3 Championship games, thanks mainly to their top marksmen Brian Hurley and Mark Collins. Add to that the hard working and skilful Ruairí Deane on the half forward line and they will cause Dublin some problems by running at them. But only early on before the juggernaut takes over.

    Dublin’s season only really gets going at this stage, having easily negotiated their way to their 9th Leinster title in 10 years, culminating in a final rout of neighbours Meath. Cormac Costello has been their main man in attack but they ooze strength all over the pitch. He is ably assisted upfront by Paul Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny and the scoring return to action of Dean Rock v Meath makes for ominous viewing for the rest. Brian Fenton is still the best midfielder in the country and they don’t give up too much at the back either. Jim Gavin knows tougher ties lie ahead in the shape of Donegal and maybe a Tyrone or a Kerry but this is a nice tie for his side to ease themselves into the Super 8s.

    Cork may live with the Dubs for a while but my selection of Dublin -8 looks a shoe in.

     

    KERRY v MAYO

    BTTS A Goal

     The last game of the weekend is surely the most mouth watering of the lot as Kerry play host to Mayo at 4pm at Fitzgerald Stadium. As when Mayo played Armagh a couple of weeks ago, I find the outcome of this one too hard to call, so like that evening I have gone for both teams to score a goal. One thing is for sure when Mayo are around you are always guaranteed plenty of action and drama and with two high class forward lines on display, I feel this Sunday will be no different, so expect the net to be rattled on a few occasions!

    Kerry come into the Super 8s as Munster Champions having laboured to victories over Clare and Cork. Despite the talent at their disposal, Peter Keane’s side are yet to set their 2019 campaign alight and after their domination at minor level in recent years the people of the Kingdom expect. They do have serious firepower in attack and will look to star David Clifford to shin the Super 8s, where he shot to prominence in 2018. If they are to reverse their league final defeat at the hands of Sunday’s opponents they will look to Sean O’Shea, David Moran and Clifford to shine.

    Mayo for their part are gathering pace. After a disappointing Connacht semi final loss at home to Roscommon, James Horan’s men have bounced back with wins against Down, Armagh and more impressively against Galway last weekend. In James Carr they have a very exciting prospect, with the wing forward banging in two goals in the Galway victory. Despite been plagued by injuries throughout 2019 and recently losing Captain Diarmuid O’Connor, Mayo still have a strong panel to pick from. Paddy Durcan and Donal Vuaghan are in fine form and if Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea perform to their abilities they may well leave Killarney with a famous win.

    Still, this one is too hard to call so my selection of both teams to score a goal in what promises to be a good open game of football looks the best bet in this one.

    Tyrone -2,   Dublin -8   &   Kerry v Mayo BTTS A Goal