|Cork City manager Dunne: happy to re-sign former captain|
18 January, 2012
15 January, 2012
|Kieran Behan: delighted to be Ireland's first gymnastics Olympian|
Irish gymnast, Kieran Behan, capped a famous week in his career by finishing fourth in the floor final at the London Prepares Series Test Event in Greenwich Arena yesterday. Having suffered a debilitating illness as a 10 year-old, he spent many months in a wheelchair and it was doubtful that he would ever walk again. Rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in 2010, combined with a number of other career threatening injuries; makes this 2012 Olympic qualification all the more remarkable.
The 22 year-old was suitably ecstatic to have met the Olympic qualification criteria. He finished fourth overall, having been in third place until the very last competitor; narrowly missing out on a medal. He scored 14.900; missing out on a medal by 0.500
Kieran spoke of his excitement and joy at having made London 2012; proclaiming that it'll be the closest thing ever to a home Olympics and that he would make the most of his opportunity: ""I'll definitely maximise my floor and get a good high start value. I can't wait for the summer. Would I like to win a medal? Of course I would, but whatever happens, happens!"
"There are hundreds like me. After finishing football, there is nothing to get up for in the morning," - Dean Windass
In an open and frank interview; former FA Premier League striker and famed hardman; Dean Windass has revealed his battles with alcohol and depression. The Hull native, who played in the Premier League for his local club, stated: "I have cried every day since I've finishing playing professional." He also called for more help from inside the game for players struggling to cope with life after football.
|GLORY DAYS: Windass puts Hull into top flight for first time|
- Dean Windass
Last year, the father-of-two split from his police officer wife of 18 years after he was caught having an affair with a girl he met in a pub. Then, just a few days ago, after the sudden of his father, Dean attempted to take an overdose of pills. However, a former girlfriend turned up at his door, realised what he had done and forced him to drink pints of water until he threw up.
But the following day after slipping back into the grips of depression and drinking half a bottle of strong amaretto liqueur, he tried to commit suicide again. For a second time, he was saved by a miraculous stroke of "luck," when a friend of his knocked on the front door.
|..and celebrates the feat: Championship Play-Off, Wembley 2008|
At the height of his fame Windass was earning more than half a million pounds a year.
In 2008 he scored the goal that took his home town club, Hull City into the top flight of English football for the first time in their 104-year history. He also appeared in the Premier League for Bradford City and Middlesbrough and played in the Scottish Premier League with Aberdeen before ending his professional career, which spanned 19 seasons, in 2010.
But after squandering most of his fortune on clothes and top-of-the-range cars Windass has been left almost bankrupt, unable even to pay for his son's car insurance. After retiring from playing Dean had hoped to move into management. But things didn't work out and he found it impossible to get work.
|HARD MAN: but Windass had similar problems to Gary Speed|
Without the day-to-day routine that life as a professional footballer brought, things soon spiralled out of control as Dean filled most of his days with trips to the pub. As a local footballing legend, punters were only too happy to buy him drinks.
"After two failed suicide attempts, I need to get myself sorted out, which is why I'm speaking out now. It's part of me getting better - part of the healing process. People see me as a strong man, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I tried to end it all after a string of setbacks. I just couldn't shake off the depression at feeling what a failure I'd become."
At 42 years-old; Windass is the same age as Gary Speed, who recently committed suicide and the troubled man finished by stating: "We (footballers) are not the brightest but you play football all your life. There are hundreds of us in the same situation. After finishing football, there is nothing to get up for in the morning."
14 January, 2012
|TOP AWARD: New Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill (left)|
The new Northern Ireland manager saw off competition from Sligo boss Paul Cook and midfielder Joseph Ndo, Cork boss Tommy Dunne and Eamon Zayed, who has just moved from Derry City to an Iranian club.
Derry's Gerard Doherty won the goalkeeper of the year award ahead of Brendan Clarke and Gary Rogers. His former manager Stephen Kenny wanted to take him to Shamrock Rovers but the custodian is staying in his native city, where pre-season training has already started.
|SPECIAL MERIT AWARD: Former Ireland manager Eoin Hand|
13 January, 2012
|Ulster's Trimble running riot at Ravenhill|
Ulster have enjoyed many famous nights at their ground of Ravenhill. However, beating possibly the biggest British franchise in professional rugby; the Leicester Tigers, must really top everything else. Spearheaded by a forward pack led by Chris Henry and masterminded by fly-half Ruan Pienarr; Ulster played second (third and fourth) best for just about the entire game.
Whilst Ulster's foreign stars were monumental; it was apt that it was homegrown talent which was the key difference and broke Leicester's back when all was said and done. David Trimble's second try early in the second-half put Ulster over the 14 point lead, which was really the game defining score and a deficit the visitors were never going to recover from.
Yes, Ulster won the Heineken Cup in 1999; but that was without any English clubs so there is an argument that should Ulster win their Pool (and it looks very likely that they will) then the 2011-'12 season will become Ulster's greatest. To knock Leicester out of the competition and beat the two time Heineken Cup winners by 34 points tonight (with a bonus point) was a truly sensational achievement and should Ulster win their Pool; there won't be many sides who will relish visiting Belfast for the Quarter Finals.
|What odds an all-Irish Heineken Cup Final in 2012?|
12 January, 2012
|Alan O'Flynn (right) in action for Cobh|
The 18 year olds first completed their Leaving Cert last summer before heading over for a five-and-a-month trial. Alan had an uncle in Mexico and told his friend Peter that they were looking for players.
The two lads crossed the Atlantic and said they found it difficult to get used to training over the first few weeks, as the altitude and heat were a big factor. A typical day would have involved rising at 5:30a.m. for a training session, then sleeping most of the day and possibly another training session in the evening. Training was six days a week with a one week break in October.
|Peter Nolan (foreground) in the same game|
The boys' future plans hit a big glitch when their coach was sacked in early December. This was the final nail in the coffin for the boys who were given letters of reference thereafter.
The new manager had three games and had to win all three with the boys being told that they would have to be let go as they could be a distraction. The boys said going to Mexico was hugely beneficial to them, to their game and that they have had some interest from clubs in the U.K.
|GAA DIRECTOR of FINANCE: Tom Ryan|
Some clubs have claimed that their officers were warned by banks that they could be personally liable for debts.
However, Ryan said that while club trustees might have signed a loan agreement, they were only doing so on behalf of the club and could not be held personally responsible.
"As long as everything has been done, club officials are indemnified," said Ryan. Ryan was at pains to stress the latter point as individuals being liable for club loans would undoubtedly reduce the number of officers who would make themselves available for work within clubs.