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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Tommy backs 'Red' O'Neill

MARTIN O'NEILL might be pleased to hear Tommy Docherty, Manchester United boss from 1972-77, reckons he's good enough to have taken over from Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

Speaking in Hampden Park on Sunday, when he was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, Docherty said: "When asked who I thought would replace Fergie, I said Moyes and Martin O'Neill."

* Ireland's new manager must be encouraged that so many journalists have asked if he'll be spending time at League of Ireland games. He may think we've been keeping the next Lionel Messi away from the many scouts who trawl the pitches of Ireland in search of raw talent for English and Scottish clubs. Meanwhile, others ponder the logic of our domestic set up where, despite having won nothing, capable Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is voted Manager of the Year for finishing second in the League, while Mick Cooke is let go by Drogheda United despite having rebuilt the side, secured European football last season, finished eighth in the League this season and reached the final of the Setanta Cup, the final of the EA Sports Cup and the FAI Cup final, defeating Kenny's Dundalk in the semi-final. Do O'Neill and Keane really need to spend time at League of Ireland matches other than to help confirm the League's existence?

* Disgraced former cyclist Lance Armstrong says he'll tell all and name names to the commission investigating doping in cycling. Estimated to have been worth more than €93million as a result of a winning career that included seven successive Tour de France victories, Armstrong is worried he'll go broke as a result of a series of impending lawsuits. He promises investigators "100 per cent transparency and honesty". But will they believe the whingeing 42-year old Texan?

* The story of doping in Jamaican athletics that I outlined last month continues to rumble on with one of Jamaica's most senior drug testers, Dr Paul Wright, claiming the six athletes who tested positive in June may just be the "tip of the iceberg". Previously, Renee Anne Shirley, a former director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (Jadco) claimed Jamaican athletes weren't tested in the five months prior to the London Olympics. Now Dr Wright says they don't test blood or check for EPO. Worryingly, he alleges a potential conflict of interest for directors of Jadco who also represent sports.

* AFTER the buzz of their ODI against England in Malahide, the Irish cricket team play Papua New Guinea today in Dubai in their last warm-up match ahead of the ICC World T20 qualifiers. Over three weeks, 16 nations will battle for the six places available for next year's T20 World Cup tournament in Bangladesh. Phil Simmons' side play their first qualifier on Friday in Abu Dhabi against Namibia.

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