Walsh a man in demand

 

SEPTEMBER ROAD:OVER THE past few months Kevin Walsh has become the most sought-after football manager in the country.

Since taking over Sligo almost two years ago, the Galway native’s stock has risen steadily, with this season’s championship victories over Mayo and his native Galway making him target number one for every county looking for a new manager.

But perhaps Walsh’s greatest achievement came at the weekend when the Sligo juniors won the All-Ireland title – beating Kerry, 2-10 to 1-7.

Just to put that achievement in perspective, consider this . . . The first All-Ireland title Sligo won at any grade came in 1935, when they claimed the junior football title. Their second All-Ireland crown at any grade arrived on August 21st, 2010.

Last week, Walsh committed to Sligo for another two years.

It’s a massive boost for football in the county.

Gaelic fans can see better value

WE’VE complained about the ticket prices for championship games this summer, but it is only fair to acknowledge that GAA supporters have it good.

A ticket to yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final sell-out was €45 for the stand. The terrace was €30.

Down the road, for the friendlies at the Aviva Stadium, the IRFU are selling their tickets in four-game packages – each costing your first-born or €340.

And a ticket to watch the Republic of Ireland play the mighty Andorra next month in an Uefa qualifier is between €50 and €70.

We’re not here to criticise the IRFU or the FAI, but, sometimes, it’s good to pay GAA prices.

The bets you could have had . . .

But it’s too late now! We’re told that the gambling on yesterday’s All-Ireland football semi-final can be counted in seven figures.

Let’s hope these were some of the bets chosen by punters.

Cork to win 4/6

Handicap Draw (Cork -1) 8/1

Cork to win by 1-3 pts 13/5

Red Card for Ross McConnell 33/1

Bernard Brogan to score first goal 13/2

Bernard to win RTÉ Man of the Match 9/2

Donncha O’Connor to score first point 11/2

Donncha to score a goal 4/1

Donncha to score a goal and Cork win 6/1

Goal to be scored from a penalty 11/4

Either team to win by one point 7/2

Kerry v Tyrone in ‘other’ semi-final

MANY OBSERVERS tipped Kerry and Tyrone to reach the All-Ireland senior football semi-finals this season, and so it has come to pass.

Filling the gap vacated by the men’s teams, the women of Kerry and Tyrone have caused big upsets by reaching the semi-final stage, and now will clash for an All-Ireland final place.

In the tie of the weekend, Tyrone stunned a Cork side looking for their sixth All-Ireland title in a row.

As with the men’s code, the provincial winners have been falling away, though Leinster champions Dublin are still standing and will take on the team they beat in the provincial decider, Laois, in the other semi-final.

Women’s football has often featured champions that wouldn’t be used to victory in the men’s game. In the early days of the championship, in the 1970s, Tipperary, Roscommon and Cavan were to the fore. In the 1990s, Waterford and Monaghan were the strongest, before a great Mayo team took over.

Now, though, the powerhouses of Kerry and Tyrone are making waves.

Kerry v Tyrone in an All-Ireland football semi-final.

Familiar, yes. But not as we’ve known it.