herald

Friday 18 April 2014

Ole Molde-ing into Fergie II

Insiders will tell you there was a mutual admiration society at Old Trafford between boss Alex Ferguson and his "substitute from hell" Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

When the striker retired, Fergie immediately asked him to take on coaching duties.

Solskjaer had studied Ferguson's approach. "Learning which buttons to press," is how he puts it. Impressed, Fergie made him reserve team manager.

Last November, Solskjaer returned to Norway as manager of Molde, the club he left to join United. He guided them to their first Norwegian league title in their 100-year history, prompting tweets of praise from many of his former Old Trafford team-mates and speculation that this quiet, shrewd and analytical coach could one day walk in Fergie's shoes.

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The pitch 'n' putt lads down in my local are all agog. And who can blame them? As I predicted here recently, The Race to Dubai is hotting up. Big time.

Sensational back-to-back wins for Sergio Garcia at the Castello Masters and the Andalucia Masters have propelled him from 23rd to seventh in the race.

All eyes will be on this week's Champions event in Shanghai where Rory McIlroy will have a glorious opportunity to overtake absent race leader Luke Donald. The Englishman will miss the event to be present for the birth of his second child.

The happiest man in golf at the moment must surely be Conor Ridge of McIlroy's new agency Horizon Sports.

Not only has his new client turned on the style, he seems poised to become part of a lucrative global celebrity double act with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

Brand Wozzilroy? You can bet Chubby Chandler is scratching his head today.

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There are many great stories of courage and endurance from the Dublin Marathon.

One I like concerns Dubliner Greg McQuaid, producer and presenter at top San Francisco radio station KFOG.

Despite having been unable to train because of a broken collarbone, McQuaid travelled to Dublin and ran through the pain barrier to honour a commitment to raise funds for The Leukemia and Lymphona Society.

His finish time of 4:20 sounds great to me.

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Although it's nice to hear Gaelic footballers enthuse about the opportunity to wear an Irish jersey, there's something less than spectacular about the circumstances when you consider it's for a hybrid sport called International Rules and the opposition can't be bothered to compete at a level that prevents a 44-point defeat in front of a desultory audience.

Why doesn't the GAA put together a team of inter-county players from overseas and give them a day out against Ireland at Croke Park?

Anything would be preferable to the farce Down Under.

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