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first_imgDonegal Daily sports columnist Paddy Walsh talks gold medals, Setanta and why he’s still writing his column this week despite winning €17,000 on a €5 football bet this week.SETANTA ANNOUNCE DONEGAL COVERAGE…BUT RORY WON’T BE FEATURINGRory Kavanagh bulked up enough to help Donegal win an All-Ireland final.Time was when if you mentioned Setanta in relation to Donegal G.A.A. you were referring to the hardy hurlers from Killygordon. But now the television channel of the same name is sliotaring into serious contention in the county with the live showing of Donegal’s opening Allianz League clash against Derry on January 31st. And not only that, just a week later, the station will also be featuring the Dublin/Donegal game as it happens from Croke Park.For those of us without Setanta there’s an obvious problem though not, of course, if you take the trouble to actually get along to either game.Whatever way, local fans will be happy to take their leave of the McKenna Cup and bring some real competition into their weekends even if there were some positives to pick up in the match against Fermanagh last Sunday.One man who won’t feature in either of the Setanta live broadcasts will be Rory Kavanagh unless the cameras catch sight of him in the crowd. It was both a surprise and no surprise that the St. Eunan’s midfielder opted to shelf his inter-county career but there’s no question his very presence will be sorely missed, not to mention his ability to find the target. They call him the ‘eight meal a day man’ – a reference to a remark by former Donegal boss, Jim McGuinness (remember him?) who considered Kavanagh was too light when he first took charge and urged him to bulk up on the food front.As far as performances for Donegal are concerned, he certainly earned his meal ticket.Meanwhile, it will be interesting to get the Setanta spin on the National League though they’ll hardly be able to resurrect the late, great Kenneth ‘They think it’s all over…it IS now” Wolstenholme to cover the matches for them.And in any case, as I just read yesterday, it was hurling that the former B.B.C. commentator ranked as the second best global sport behind soccer. Which would certainly please the other Setanta.DISAPPOINTMENT FOR ST. EUNAN’S The U19 St Eunan’s College team.While the huge ‘Good Luck Boys’ banner was still hanging over the front entrance of St. Eunan’s College in Letterkenny yesterday it must have felt like a cruel taunt to the members of the school’s under-19 basketball team when they showed up for classes.They had looked almost certain to take home an All-Ireland crown when they blitzed into a 58-36 lead against Ard Scoil Rathangan, going into the last quarter of the Final staged at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Monday.But somehow their Kildare opponents clawed their way back into contention and a remarkable return of 34 points, as opposed to the Letterkenny college’s nine, swung the game, and ultimately the coveted trophy, in their favour. You can only imagine the bus journey home for the Eunan’s players, coaches and supporters – not to mention the disappointment back at base when the result came through.Had they been on the sharp end of a trouncing it, ironically, might have felt better than throwing away a hefty lead and finishing just three points behind. Drama has inevitably followed the College boys around this tournament – they overcame both their quarter-final and semi-final rivals by a solitary point so no surprise that Monday’s showdown was so close.Nevertheless an heroic effort by the boys and one which surely should earn them a hoopful of free classes.Incidentally, St. Eunan’s College and the sport of basketball are no strangers to this columnist. Check the photographs on the courtyard wall of basketball teams from the past – the far distant past I should admit – and you’ll find a tall, imposing figure of a student who looks as if he knows a thing or two about the game.No, that’s not me – the only time I got close to playing the hoops was in the odd quick throw-about between classes in the hall. And as for being picked to represent the college in a tournament, I had a better chance of catching an ‘A’ in mathematics. Or, let’s be honest about it, a ‘D’ minus.Okay, let’s be really honest about it, a ‘D’ minus in anything.FROM SILVER TO GOLDShould Olive Loughnane be awarded the gold medal from the 2009 World Championship, as looks likely, will it make the 20k event, it will surely make it the longest walk in history. Five years on and the Irishwoman is heading for pole position.The decision by the Russian Anti-Doping agency to impose a suspension on Olga Kaniskina who took the gold in front of Loughnane, is one that will almost certainly, propel the latter into first place and, consequently, only Ireland’s fourth ever gold medal at the Worlds.Interviewed on R.T.E. television’s Six One, the Cork athlete revealed that her daughter was hoping her mother would also be allowed to hold on to the silver medal she received on the day of 20k walk. ‘I’m working along those lines too,” admitted Loughnane.Ah now, let’s not get too greedy here, surely that silver will be, rightly, destined for the third placed finisher?HOOKER PRAISES LETTERKENNY!The man himself Dave GallaherTuesday’s edition of the Belfast Telegraph (or North West as its known in these parts) carries a weekly focus piece on its junior rugby pages.Yesterday it was the turn of Grosvenor’s Mark Cartmill who plays hooker/tight head prop to come under the spotlight.Under the heading ‘Favourite Away Ground To Play At And Why?’, he responded: “Qualifying rugby isn’t overflowing with grounds I look forward to visiting but in terms of hospitality and good craic, Letterkenny is up there.”I think that man might be due a pint or two on the house the next time he and his club come a-calling to Dave Gallaher Park. Least they can do after that stirring recommendation.Of course those who have savoured the post match cheers at a game involving Letterkenny R.F.C. will know all about tight heads.ULSTER FRIEDAs if the final score didn’t tell us a tale of some shade of disharmony in the camp, the respective comments after Ulster’s 60-22 walloping in Toulon at the weekend, merely served to reinforce it.Head coach Neil Doak, while expressing his disappointment at the result in the European Champions Cup, insisted afterwards: “It was a pretty big effort…I’m very proud of the players….they can hold their heads high….”.But then along came winger, Andrew Trimble, with a searing analysis of the performance, going close, though not quite as dismantling, to echoing the views of pundit, George Hook, who labelled the Ulster fry-up as “embarrassing and humiliating”.Declaring that Hook’s remarks may have been over the top, Trimble nevertheless pointed out: “Maybe it might be good for us to think along those lines as well though because we’ve got very high standards and if we concede 60 points and we come out and say that we’re proud of the character we’ve shown and we take positives from it then I think at some stage we’ve got to say that there’s something not quite right.”Sounds like a serious split in the ranks to me.IRISH BOOST FOR KIERANThere was some good news on the Ulster rugby front this week, at least for Letterkenny native, Kieran O’Gorman. The Old Belvedere flanker has been picked for the 32 man Ireland Club squad for a couple of international matches next month. A well deserved honour for the 30 year old by all accounts.They should be posting his photograph on some gable wall in his home town in tribute!LONG SHOT…Can’t remember the name of the B.B.C. commentator who presided over last week’s televised F.A. CUP replay between Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town (see, I can remember him), and Ronald Koeman’s (and him) Southampton. But along with his sidekick, Mark Lawrenson (even him), there was a lot of gushing about Republic of Ireland striker, Shane Long, who scored the winning goal, and his never-say-die attitude in running to put pressure on harried Ipswich defenders at every opportunity and chasing lost causes.“I wonder does he get greyhounds chasing him down the street?,” declared the Beeb’s man with the mike at one stage.“Not for long,” quipped Lawrenson.Some lines you’ll always remember.…AND AN EVEN LONGER ONEAnd finally, 17,000 well dones to the punter who, for a fiver stake, correctly predicted the results of 11 English soccer matches on Saturday and collected his winnings from Ladbrokes in Letterkenny yesterday.Apparently it’s the biggest single football bet paid out by the branch – possibly even for the company – on such a comparatively small outlay. And when you think those games involved the likes of Gillingham, Milton Keynes and Doncaster Rovers, it makes it an ever better achievement. Some stake.I’m just annoyed I didn’t treble it!SHANE’S A LONG SHOT BUT RORY HAS THE BEEF – IT’S WALSHY ON WEDNESDAY! was last modified: January 21st, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalWalshy on Wednesdaylast_img read more

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