herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

A place in Paradise still awaits Fenlon

Bohemians could be looking at a welcome mid-season cash bonanza, if manager Pat Fenlon makes the big switch to the SPL.

Unable to persuade Dundee United to part with a quarter of a million in compensation for Fenlon in January, Bohemians will feel they're in a stronger bargaining position should Glasgow Celtic heed the advice of several prominent deal-makers, who are urging the club to bring Fenlon to Celtic Park.

There are a variety of viable scenarios that could see the former Celtic scout take up a prime position at Paradise.

Fenlon's managerial record, which includes winning five Irish titles in seven seasons and a stint with the Ireland U23s, is impressive. His experience in Europe with Shelbourne is still highly regarded and, as they discovered at Tannadice, Fenlon has an unrivalled knowledge of the SPL, which he's known to monitor with the zeal of a hardcore anorak.

Bohemians have had a worrying start to the season and, in common with other League of Ireland clubs, are haunted by financial nightmares.

A Fenlon move from Dalymount might answer a few prayers. And it's believed the Dubliner would receive a warmer Celtic welcome than Avram Grant.

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When Meath meet Offaly in the preliminary round of the Leinster SFC in Portlaoise next month, the Royal's former All Ireland-winning captain Graham Geraghty will be present but might be too busy to watch the action.

Geraghty's attention will be focused on the day's second match between Louth and Longford. As Glenn Ryan's forward coach, Geraghty will be hoping to work miracles with a depleted Longford attack. There won't be huge pressure on Geraghty, because things can't get much worse for Longford, who finished ahead of London and Kilkenny at the bottom of Division 4 in the League.

Mileage shouldn't be a problem for the busy forwards coach, who still plays with his local club in Meath as well as managing Meath's intermediate side Na Fianna.

The Longford tent at Punchestown this year is said to have raised over €120k. More than enough to cover mobile phone costs in the county.

But will Geraghty stay on if the whispers of Glenn Ryan being asked back to rescue Kildare prove less than unfounded?

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As if the IABA didn't have enough problems already, the homecoming plans of the Irish squad from the AIBA World Youth Championships in Azerbaijan were delayed by the volcanic ash fallout.

When the squad's arrival, with gold medal winner Joe Ward and silver medallist Ryan Burnett, was postponed from 1.30pm, minister Mary Hanafin was forced to alter her plans. Officials had hoped the minister would have been able to use the happy occasion to encourage the Irish Amateur Boxing Association and the Sports Council to settle their ongoing dispute over the appointment of a high performance director.

The IABA had selected association president Dominic O'Rourke to take over the job vacated by Gary Keegan after Ireland's successes in the Beijing Olympics, sidelining head coach Billy Walsh who'd been running the high performance programme since then.

The Irish squad were re-routed from Istanbul to Manchester. But the positive news is that in Joe Ward, who's now won two world titles this year, Ireland has a remarkable senior Olympics prospect. The Westmeath teenager confidently predicts he'll win gold for Ireland at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

With their butchery of Pete St John's anthem The Fields of Athenry, I can understand why Liverpool supporters are targeted by opposing fans. But why have they all gone on the offensive with Sam Cooke's Only Sixteen?

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