Davis Wears The Crown At York!

Maynooth man Sean Davis partnered the Richard Fahey trained Crownthorpe to a convincing win in the ‘Racebets Money Back 2nd 3rd 4th Handicap Stakes’ at York Racecourse in the 2.40 on Friday.

3lb claimer Davis, who is currently in a battle with Cieren Fallon for the British Apprentice Championship title, sent Crownthorpe to the front just over one furlong out before keeping on strongly to win by 2 & 1/4 lengths, with Firmament back in second place.

Today’s victory is in stark contrast to the last time the pair partnered up at York on August 22nd when Crownthorpe unseated Davis at the start before galloping on with the rest of the field.

There is no denying that he can be a tricky horse on his day but owners and trainers alike will forgive him this following today’s fine win at one of Britain’s finest and most popular tracks.

One punter on Twitter said of Crownthorpe: “Lst four runs. U36F Not often you see a horse with more letters than numbers in his Flat form but you can add a 1 now to Crownthorpe, who has won the 2.40 at York”

Crownthorpe also won best turned out for the race. And jockey Davis is now back to within seven of Fallon with just over a week to go in the race to be crowned Champion Apprentice.


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!!





    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 -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.



    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 


    GAA Qualifier Picks July 6th & 7th

    Round 4 of the football qualifiers takes place this weekend with some very interesting ties as the last 4 remaining places in the Super 8s look to be filled come Sunday afternoon.

    After giving our customers (Bruce Betting) a very tasty 10/1 enhanced winner in round 3 of the qualifiers last weekend, I hope to follow that up with the enhanced price of 7/1 for Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone to all be victorious in their respective games.

    Andy McEntee’s Meath team will have more than just a strong Clare team to contend with at 2pm on Sunday, as history will also be against the Royals, with teams from Leinster not faring too well in round 4 following heavy defeats to Dublin in Leinster finals in the last few years.

    The two teams come into the tie off the back of contrasting performances in a game that is still difficult to call.
    Meath will have done plenty of soul searching after notching just four points in a Leinster final pummelling at the hands of Dublin, but manager Andy McEntee will be adamant that they can recover from that loss and join the final eight.

    Clare are worthy adversaries however, the Banner men were narrowly beaten by Kerry in a Munster semi-final and have enjoyed wins over Leitrim and Westmeath in the backdoor to make the final twelve, however I am going for the Royals to recover, find their shooting boots and prolong their season into late July,early August.

    Next up is the battle of the west (in Limerick). The GAA have placed the Galway v Mayo Round 4 qualifier in Limerick as they deemed that no other venue in Connacht could hold the expected attendance the game will attract. The GAA offered the teams a coin toss for home advantage but sides refused. So, this is where we are now and a massive game to decide who goes to the Super 8’s will take place in Limerick. I am going with Galway to bounce back from their disappointing provincial final loss to Roscommon. Kevin Walsh’s Tribesmen have won the last three battles between the sides in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mayo have been very unlucky with injuries so far in 2019 and with the news that Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea are likely to miss out, I think the ball is now certainly in Galway’s court.

    For Galway to progress, they will need massive performances from Fiontan O’Curraoin Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Michael Daly. And if their talisman for the past few seasons Damien Comer makes his return from injury, as rumours suggest he will, then this will be a major boost for the men in maroon.

    For the 3rd selection a row, I am going with a beaten provincial finalist, in this case Cork. Despite been very disappointing earlier on in the year enroute to relegation to division 3 of the league, their demolition of of Limerick in the Munster championship and their decent performance in a narrow Munster final loss to rivals Kerry, gives them high hopes of reaching the Super 8s at Laois expense. In Brian Hurley, Mark Collins and Ruairi Deane the Rebels have the firepower to find the net at ease, remember they have scored 6 in their last 2 games.

    In contrast Laois have had a fine 2019 to date, replacing this weekend’s opponents in division 2 of the league for 2020. John Sugrue’s men come into the game on the back of four championship games. They beat Westmeath 0-12 to 0-10 in the Leinster quarter-final, before losing out to Meath in the semi-final 3-13 to 0-11. John Sugrue’s men have turned things around since then though with a 1-13 to 0-12 win over Derry and then last weekend a 0-20 to 0-15 win over Offaly. They will surely fancy their chance of winning this one as well. In defence, Denis Booth, Stephen Attride and Robert Piggott will need to have big games. In attack, much of the scoring will likely be done by Paul and Donie Kingston who kicked 0-10 between them in the win over Offaly, Colm Murphy could also have a big say on proceedings.

    I tipped Laois up to overcome Offaly last weekend but I feel their fine season will come to an end at the hands of Cork on Saturday evening in Thurles. This is the first meeting of the sides in championship football and Cork will reach the quarter-final for the first time since 2014 come the end of play.

    Last up is the meeting of the two Ulster sides Cavan and Tyrone in Clones on Saturday evening. Cavan exceeded all expectations in reaching their first Ulster final for a number of years, where they fell short against an impressive Donegal. Mickey Graham’s side are the one provincial final losers that I don’t think will recover as I fancy Tyrone a resurgent Tyrone, arguably back playing some of their best football, to catch the Ulster finalists cold, with the Red Hand men knowing that a place in the final eight with Dublin and Roscommon looming will be their reward.

    Mickey Harte’s men were dumped out of the province by eventual winners Donegal last month, but are back on track after a labouring victory over Longford and a more finely-tuned display over Kildare last weekend.

    But Cavan have been one of the surprise packages of the summer, dispatching of favourites Monaghan in the provincial quarter-final and eventually getting the better of Armagh in a replay before losing to Donegal themselves in the decider.

    In Cathal McShane and Peter Harte, Tyrone have two of the most in form players in the country at the moment and I feel their firepower will send them on their way to Dr.Hyde Park the following week and a meeting with Roscommon in their opening Super 8s tie.

    Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone all to win are priced at 11/2 but we are enhancing that to 7/1 for our in shop (Bruce Betting) customers.

    Kilduff nominated for June player of the month

    Kilcock’s Shelbourne FC striker Ciarán Kilduff has been nominated for the SWAI and SSE Airtricity League player of the month award following some fine performances and crucial goals for the Tolka Park side in June.

    Kilduff, who is the sole representative from the first division, is there on merit following goals in important games against Drogheda United and Limerick FC, as The Reds won all three games during the month, extending their winning run to seven in a row in the process.

    The former Dundalk striker has also been a pivotal target man, bringing more than just his finishing prowess to Ian Morris’ league leading side. His work rate up top is immense, winning and holding up the ball on almost every attack. A perfect fit for Shelbourne as they continue their push for promotion.

    The six-man shortlist for June’s SWAI Player of the Month is as follows: Danny Mandroiu (Bohemians), Sean Gannon (Dundalk) ,John Mountney (Dundalk), Ciaran Kelly (St Patrick’s Athletic), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Derry City) and Ciaran Kilduff (Shelbourne).