FAI is on the brink; news expected on extent of Johnny Sexton’s injury
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Ballyboden St. Enda’s Darren O’Reilly celebrates at the final whistle after the Leinster SFC final win over Éire Óg. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
After a tumultuous week which exposed the dreadful financial state of the FAI’s finances, there was some positive news last night with the news that Minister for Sport Shane Ross hopes to restore the majority of state funding for grassroots soccer. The €2million being channelled by the Government to grassroots soccer would fund the roles of the approximately 60 community development officers nationwide and their associated programmes. It’s a major boost for an association who, according to one of Ireland’s leaders on corporate governance – Professor Niamh Brennan – are at death’s door and only government interventioncan save them. Writing this morning she examines the FAI statements released on Friday and sees very little light at the end of the tunnel. “Over many years, the FAI board allowed itself to be captured by its CEO, John Delaney. Board capture results in dominant CEOs, in effect, setting their own pay. The FAI board appears to have approved Delaney’s 2014 contract, without sight of the contract. This seems extraordinarily lax,” she writes.
On to rugby and it was a positive weekend on the whole for Irish provinces against their English counterparts with the loss for Connacht and Johnny Sexton’s knee injuries the only blips. Leinster are expected to update on the extent of the outhalf’s injury at their media briefing this morning. The news will be crucial not only to Leinster but also to Ireland as Sexton is considered one of the favourites to take over the mantle of captain heading into next year’s Six Nations, writes Gerry Thornley. Leinster’s win over Northampton Saints was an impressive performance from the Irish outfit and Saints manager Chris Boyd says that the province are operating at a different level to most. “It’s a learning for us that there is another level of physicality and fitness required if we are going to compete at any stage with teams like Leinster,” he said. In Limerick, Munster pulled off the scalp of beating Saracens and captain Peter O’Mahony afterwards lauded second row Billy Holland for his huge impact in the lineout.