Sarsfields Newsletter

November 8, 2018




The Weekly Online Newsletter of Sarsfields GAA Club



Well done to  Kildare and to the Sarsfields representation of Pauric, Alan, Gary and Eoin  on their U21 Leinster semi-final victory over Carlow. The final is fixed for Wexford Park this Sunday at 3.30. Best wishes to them in the final and to the Kildare Minor team which will be captained by Sarsfields’ Sean Cambell when they play Dublin on Saturday in the Leinster Championship in Parnell Park at 1pm.


Sarsfields 2-6 Allenwood 2-5


League Champions Sarsfields threw off their lethargy of the previous week to edge out Allenwood by a point at Sarsfields Park on Sunday night. In dismal conditions Sarsfields made better use of the ball in the second half to gain the upper hand over a lively Allenwood side. An early Sarsfields goal by Paddy Cambell was the main difference between the sides in a low scoring first half with Sarsfields leading 1-3 to 0-3 at the interval.

On the resumption Allenwood reduced the deficit to  two points but Ciaran Dempsey quickly cancelled  that point with a well taken score. John Geraghty increased  Sarsfields lead to four before Ernie Price brought Allenwood back into contention with an opportunist  goal to leave just a single point between the sides. As conditions deteriorated in the last 10 minutes with the game been played in near twilight tempers flared and on a couple of occasions referee Mick Spencer earned his keep trying to separate the combatants.

With five minutes remaining Sarsfields substitute Keith Brown scored a goal after an excellent move by Full Forward Niall fortune. Allenwood quickly replied with a Gary Judge goal to leave just a point between the sides. Allenwood dominated the last few minutes and had couples of chances to equalise but a combination of poor shooting and solid Sarsfields defending denied them a share of the points.    


Allenwood: Niall Judge, Cormac Sullivan, Mark Hogarty,  Robbie Carroll, Will Curley, Tom Corrigan, Ernie Price, (1-0) Darren Maher, Aiden McAndrew(0-1)  Niall O’Callaghan, (0-2) David Bourke(0-1) G Judge(1-0)


Sarsfields : Gavin Slicker, Ciaran Carey, Robbie Murphy, Conor Duffy, Liam Sex, John Kavanagh, Robbie Confrey, Martin Dunne, Alan Barry, Joe O’Malley, Ciaran Dempsey,(0-2) Conor Tiernan,(0-1) John Geraghty, (0-2) Niall Fortune, Paddy Cambell.(1-1) Subs: Keith Harvey for J O’Malley (45mins) Keith(1-0) Brown for John Geraghty  ( injured 50 mins) Referee Mick Spencer, Kilcullen.





Statement from Dublin County Committee in relation to the head butting of Monaghan footballer Thomas Freeman

The Dublin County Committee have investigated an incident during the Dublin v Monaghan National Football League game last Sunday in Parnell Park and have identified the individual involved. The identity of the individual has been communicated to the Central Competitions Control Committee and disciplinary action has been taken. The individual involved was Dublin’s statistician  The Dublin County Board, Team Management and the individual involved have personally apologised to Thomas Freeman and regret that the incident ever occurred.


John Costello

Dublin County Committee



Walsh backs bid to bring All-Ireland finals forward


 By Martin Breheny
Thursday March 27 2008

AN attempt to further compress the GAA’s inter-county season is to be
made at Congress next month where Clare will propose bringing forward
the All-Ireland senior hurling and football finals by two weeks.

They want the hurling final played on the third Sunday in August,
followed by the football final on the first Sunday in September.

A need to increase the dates available for club activity is behind the
Clare motion which was originated by St Joseph’s, Milltown Malbay, home
club of former Munster Council chairman and presidential candidate, Noel

He said that completing the senior and minor inter-county competitions
by the second Sunday in September would be a big boost to club
championships both at county and provincial level.

‘Apart from the benefits to the club scene, earlier All-Ireland finals
would bring about a tightening up of the entire championship season
which is a good idea anyway,’ said Walsh.

‘Traditionally, we have always played the All-Ireland finals in
September but that’s not a good enough reason to continue with it if
there’s an even better reason for change. And I definitely think there

Up until 2006, the All-Ireland senior and minor finals were played on
the second and fourth Sundays in September but were brought forward that
year in order to facilitate the arrangements for the Ryder Cup in the

However, the earlier dates proved so popular that it was decided to
retain them, so the reaction to the latest proposal to bring them
forward further will be interesting.

Walsh also believes a change in pre-All-Ireland final protocol is
necessary, allowing team managers, county chairmen and secretaries to be
added to the party to meet the President of Ireland.

‘These men do a huge amount of work throughout the year and they
certainly have more right to be in the party to greet the President than
the four umpires,’ he added.




GAA Buries Anti Grant Group In One Fell Swoop

By Eugene McGee


DESPITE reports from time to time, there are examples of large bodies moving swiftly and decisively in matters of public importance — present government excepted, of course.

There was a classic example of that last week when the GAA came out with all guns blazing in order to quell a perceived ‘mini-revolt’ by a group of individuals who have been campaigning against possible changes to the GAA’s amateur ethos, Rule 11.

The dissenters focussed their case on the €3.5 million given free gratis and for nothing by the Irish government to senior inter-county hurlers and footballers at the behest of the GPA.

The vast majority of GAA people seemed to be quite happy with this decision, since it was not taking money that would otherwise be devoted to the GAA and the €50-odd per- player per-week which the figure reflected was not going to set any players’ world on fire anyway.


But, of course, nothing is ever simple in the GAA — an organisation that has a higher population of ‘hob-lawyers’ than any other group in Irish society. The people opposing the players’ money started a campaign of meetings which soon fizzled out, but with strong backing from Ulster teams, they made a reasonable attempt at rattling some cages in the GAA.

That in itself is not a bit of harm but when the three GAA presidential candidates started prevaricating on the issue in public debates, the GAA chiefs began to lay their plans for a demolition job on the ‘Of One Belief’ group.

The GAA really pulled out all ammunition at their disposable to quell this dissent. Most importantly they got unanimous sanction from the Central Council for total acceptance of the GAA’s scheme.

That left their opponents dead in the water as the rest of the formalities to the whole affair were merely academic and the GAA can always handle that.

But the presentation of the GAA’s case was masterly. I don’t know if outgoing PRO Danny Lynch was the mastermind behind the wording; if so, he deserves to at least receive an Honorary Degree in Literature when he leaves Croke Park this year.

Most notable of all was the total exclusion of the word ‘grant’ from the document.

For the past four months the most common word used among GAA people was grants. The GPA had referred to grants, so had the Irish government, the Sports Council, the media and the GAA as well for a long time. But, hey presto, from nowhere the word ‘grants’ had disappeared to be replaced by this amazing outburst of loquaciousness:


My old friend Larry McGann would love that one, even if he had to write it on the back of the cigarette packet along with the team line-out of Knocknavanna Gaels.

You have to agree that’s a long way from a Mickey-mouse expression like ‘grants.’ But the document starts like it continues with a non-stop barrage of spectacular language, which some of us will struggle to understand under this new GAA style of communication.

Just try this one, Rule 10.1 under the heading: ‘Approval of Team Development Account.’

‘In relation to each panel, the Team Development Fund shall be such account of the Team Committee as is from time to time approved by the National Scheme Committee, subject to such conditions, regulations and procedures as may from time to time be set out by the National Schemes Committee in relation to any such Team Development Account.’

Now I hope all you players and committee members around the country have total grasp of all that so that there won’t be any more confusion on these matters regarding free money for the lads. Of course, all that is involved in this lengthy document is that county players will get their government money through paying expenses legitimately allowed by the GAA and the Revenue Commiossioners. One sentence would have covered the whole lot.

This long document about what used to be called GAA grants has certainly had more than the GAA’s touch to the finished product and it buried the anti-grant people in one fell swoop. There may be the usual formalities before the obsequies at the upcoming Congress in Sligo but that’s just for the cosmetics . The grants as we knew them are dead and buried.

In truth it could never be be any other way because the case against government money for county players was based on hypocrisy.

Amateur status was supposed to be the cornerstone of the dissidents, but I know that many of the leading organisers of this campaign had been actively involved in illegally paying GAA club managers for several years.

Therefore, to be basing a documented case against government grants and the purity of Rule 11, was pure duplicity and it was time for GAA bosses to stand up and be counted — which, for once, they have done with this document, convoluted and all as it is.

The GAA has not been solely amateur for the past 40 years when national coaching schemes started. The games are amateur, but the organisation is not.

There will be no push for professional inter-county players for many years, at least 10 to 15, but the GAA should be warned that if the massive illegal expenditure currently being spent on club and county managers continues, then the days when county players will be full-time will arrive a lot quicker. The best safeguard for preserving the GAA’s so-called amateurism is to get rid of paid managers in every county in Ireland.

But what GAA president, Central Council, Provincial Council or County Board officer will bite the bullet on that one?


Last Monday, in a mention about last year’s Connacht football final, I gave the attendance listed in the GAA’s annual report as 7,586.

Connacht Council treasurer Michael McDonagh pointed out to me that, in fact, the correct figure is 17,586 and he should know. One wonders if there are any more such errors in this report ?

Also, on a communication matter at Croke Park ,when will the GAA produce a proper results system which would be available IMMEDIATELY on the internet around the world from Bohola to Bangkok? Last Saturday by late evening there was not a single word about the All-Ireland Colleges semi-finals nor could I find news about seven U-21 football championship results from Saturday afternoon.

Surely the main source of GAA information should be the GAA itself.



Innocent bearing brunt as Rebels move on



By Martin Breheny
Wednesday March 26 2008

WE should have known that the fall-out from the Cork nuclear strike
would result in serious abnormalities in Allianz League land.

Actually, we all did know, but such was the apparent joy at establishing
peace in our time among the Rebels that anybody who pointed out the
consequences was drowned out by the noise from the welcome back party
for the errant Cork state.

Whatever about the internal Cork arrangements, the settlement deal as it
applied to the Leagues, which saw teams awarded points for non-played
games involving Cork, was fundamentally unjust.

Meath and Dublin (football), Kilkenny and Waterford (hurling) were the
beneficiaries, having each been awarded two points, thereby putting them
at an advantage compared to the others in their group who had to play

Whether the lucky quartet wanted to play Cork (Kilkenny offered but were
turned down) is not the issue. What’s important is that several counties
have had this season — and possibly the next one as well — discommoded
by a strike in which they were not involved.

Still, there was such an air of relief at Cork’s return that legitimate
objections to the Central Competitions Control Committee’s decision were
fobbed off on the basis that the broader interest demanded some give and

Problem is that some gave and others took. The end result is a total
mess as proven last Sunday evening when several counties had no idea
what was to happen next after the final round of NHL group games.


Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Cork were through to the Division One
quarter-finals but with the 1A scoring difference mechanism corrupted,
the pairings couldn’t be decided because Cork and Waterford finished
level on points.

As for relegation, Dublin argued, successfully as it happens, that since
both they and Wexford completed all five fixtures, scoring difference
should count to decide who dropped down.

The upshot is that we now have the crazy situation that placings in one
group are decided by different methods. What’s worse, a play-off is
being used to decide the unimportant matter of how Cork and Waterford
line up against Tipperary and Limerick, while the far more crucial issue
of relegation is settled by scoring difference. Any wonder Wexford are
furious and the rest of us confused?

The full extent of the problems in Division 2 football won’t become
apparent until the final round is completed next month, but it’s almost
certain there will be innocent victims of the Cork strike.

With two promotion and two relegation spots, crucial placings are likely
to be decided by the points awarded to Meath and Dublin. Imagine for
instance, how Monaghan, who still have to play Cork away, will feel if
they lose and then miss out by a point to Dublin or Meath for promotion.
Suddenly, the value of the walk-over Dublin and Meath received against
Cork will have shot up.

Roscommon manager, John Maughan was the first to complain about the CCCC
decision and he was right to point out the unfairness of the call to
counties who were always likely to be battling against relegation. And
as for those who mutter that Roscommon should remain quiet after losing
to Armagh by 24 points, that’s akin to claiming that only the very top
teams should be heard.

It’s because they have lost games that Roscommon are fully entitled to
argue that nobody, least of all the strong contenders like Dublin and
Meath, should be given an advantage.

The big danger is here is that counties who went about their pre-season
business in an orderly way, while Cork squabbled among themselves, will
now turn on each other as the implications of the CCCC decision become

Meanwhile, Cork hurlers, who missed the two toughest games in their
group, are happily ensconced in the League quarter-finals, while the
footballers are powering up the Division 2 table and could yet earn

Effectively then, neither Cork team will have been punished for
disrupting the League. Instead, innocent parties will be the victims
which is unfair.

Quite simply, CCCC should have thrown Cork out of the Leagues when they
missed the first two games. Failing that, they should have done whatever
it took to persuade all four teams who missed the early games with Cork
to squeeze them in at some stage. At the same time, Cork should have
started on -4 points in football and -3 in hurling, which has fewer

Whether by ejection or points deducted, Cork, and not their rivals,
should have been punished. Instead, Cork pressed the nuclear button only
to now find themselves safe in the shelter bunker, while others are left
exposed to the dangerous radiation.


Hurling for Dummies

Howryez! Welcome to the The O’Byrne Files  easy-to-follow, comprehensive online cut-out-and-keep guide on how to follow the sport called ‘hurling’. It’s full of handy advice to make even the most clueless person into an avid hurling fan in only a few centuaries. I should let you know first that hurling had a major role in the legend of Cuchulainn, who was a sort of Herculean or O’Byrne -type hero in early Irish politics and was apparently related to the country’s latter day greatest villain, C. J. Haughey. I should also mention that in Scotland the natives practised ‘shinty’, the Scottish form of hurling, alone in the hills of the Highlands (it was a solo game there for obvious reasons) and around St Andrews. This led to the creation of golf. Hurling also reached Nova Scotia in the early 1800s and was picked up by the Micmac Indians, to create the multimillion-dollar sport known today as ‘Ice Hockey’. Now, where were we? Oh yeah, the lessons.

Lesson #1:

‘What the feck is Hurling?’

Hurling is an ancient game from the Ice Age, but it didn’t get official recognition until approximately 1889 or thereabouts. As Liam Griffin, the former Wexford hurling manager and amateur poet, once described it: ‘Hurling is the Riverdance of sport.’

NB: This doesn’t mean that it involves loads of tap-dancing by poncy blokes in black mini-skirts (or girls either). Hurling is actually a venerable outdoor activity, a traditional game of immense skill in which people of all ages beat the crap out of each other with quite big sticks. It also involves a ball (called a ‘Sliotar’), two goalposts (shaped like a ‘H’, or a ‘h’ if they need repairing), and a very muddy field named after a dodgy bishop.

The ball is about the same size as a tennis ball, only much heavier if you get whacked with one. If you get the ball over the bar but between the posts (as if they extended infinitely into the air), you get one point.

When you do this, you get a damn big cheer and people slap you on the back and say ‘Fair play’. If you get it under the H, you get a goal. This is worth three points. So you get three times as much cheers. More about cheering techniques in lesson six or seven.

There are 15 players in each team, until several of them are sent off. The players’ sticks are called ‘hurleys’ (after which Elizabeth Hurley’s family gets its name). These sticks have a broad bit at one end called the bas (boss). The rest is called ‘the rest’.

Incidentally, one of Ireland’s former taoisigh (but not Jack Lynch) was also known as The Bas, and also sometimes called The Crook.

Fair play to ya! You’ve reached the end of lesson one! Now turn off your PC and memorise all this until the next lesson…. …and we are outta here. Remember: In case of doubt, just make what you think you know sound convincing.

Lesson #2:

Now, where were was I? Oh yeah.


A hurling stick or ‘hurley’ is essential for every hurling fan. They are available at your local sports shop, usually next to the Liverpool and Chelsea shirts, for a very modest sum. But if you’re from abroad you can easily make one yourself. All it takes are the following readily available items:

* 1 large ash tree

* 1 axe/saw

* 1 plane

* 2-3 other tools

* 1 good carpenter

Well done! Now that you have a hurley, it’s time to pick your team. This is normally not required, because you are simply stuck with the parish/town/county you were born in. You are also stuck with a geansai (jumper or jersey) of a particular colour and shape. But for The O’Byrne Files many overseas readers this may not be an option. So you will have to plump for either Wexford or Kilkenny – because these are good hurling counties but brutal at football (let’s keep it simple) – or Cork if the worst comes to the worst.

Fair play to ya! You’ve reached the end of lesson 2! Now turn off your PC and memorise all this until taking the next lesson.

Welcome back to the The O’Byrne Files  easy-to-follow, comprehensive online cut-out-and-keep guide on how to follow the sport called ‘hurling’.

Lesson #3:

‘Going to your first match’

For this you will need the following equipment:

# A decent coat

# 1 umbrella

# Several wire coathangers

# 4 washing up liquid bottles

# An assortment of beer-mats

# 1 roll of Sellotape

# 1 pair of wellies

# 1 cap

# A good bit of cash

(* It is often necessary to bring more money than this of course, e.g. you might have to survive for a week in a strange town if you are up for a big match such as a provincial final, or if you go on something called an ‘All Ireland Almight Bender’.)

On arrival at the ground, make a rough assessment of the players’ ages. If they look like they’re under 18, you’re at a ‘Minors’ match. Any older and you’re probably at a ‘Seniors’. Unless, that is, they are Under 21s. To complicate things, though, some players could be playing both Senior and Under 21. Then again, others simply give up playing. And sometimes they are actually picked for an important game and though they are on the pitch they aren’t actually playing. Seasoned match-goers often refer to this condition by its old Irish terms (either ‘Arafeck yalayzee bollicsya’ or ‘Getuptha fieldya cunchya’).

For the first few matches, keep as quiet as possible: listen to the other fans nearby, and if asked a question, answer as briefly as possible and never smile. It is always better to communicate with a quick nod or shrug of the shoulders rather than actually talking. Remember to clap when everyone else claps or jumps in the air.

Then in the pub afterwards, you might be asked to re-create the finer moments of the game you have just witnessed. The Fairy Liquid bottles make an ideal bottom of the goalposts, and construct the rest of the posts with the coat hangers and sticky-back plastic. Get a sharp Stanley knife (always ask an adult to help you) and cut the beer-mats into the shapes of each member of both teams, in order to create that vivid action replay in full colour.

Fair play to ya! You’ve reached the end of lesson 3! Now turn off your PC and memorise all this until the next lesson….

GAA and other Quotes


‘Teddy McCarthy to John McCarthy, no relation, John McCarthy back to Teddy McCarthy, still no relation.’

‘Teddy looks at the ball, the ball looks at Teddy.’

‘Pat Fox has it on his hurley and is motoring well now. But here comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail. I’ve seen it all now – a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park!’

‘In the first half they played with the wind. In the second half they played with the ball.’

‘He grabs the sliotar… he’s on the 50 … he’s on the 40 . . he’s on the 30 … he’s on the ground.’

         Micheal O’ Muircheartaigh

‘Did you have to explain to the English what hurling was about?’
‘No, but I have to explain it to the people of Wicklow.’
        – Des Cahill and Dara Briain, former Wicklow hurler

The miracle of the GAA is that it works so well despite itself. Paranoia, self-doubt, trenchant conservatism, fear of outside sports and veneration of the past are all key parts of the GAA psyche. In order to love the GAA, you have to swallow these faults whole.
        – Keith Duggan, ‘The Irish Times’ (2002)


         I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield. Even if they didn’t know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympics, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles… At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare.
        – George Orwell, ‘The Sporting Spirit’ (14 December 1945)

 What counts in sports is not the victory, but the magnificence of the struggle.

– Joe Paterno


Players win games, teams win championships.

         Bill Taylor


‘A daily festival of human suffering.’
        – Lance Armstrong describes the Tour de France

After all, if you remove the gambling, where is the fun in watching a bunch of horses being whipped by midgets?
        – Ian O’Doherty, not a fan of horse racing, ‘The Irish Independent’

Umpires Course

Anyone wishing to get involved in umpiring and getting to understand the finer nuances of the art is asked to contact chairman Brian Dempsey an acknowledged expert in the dying art of good umpiring and who will be conducting a one day seminar on Saturday week next. Guest speaker will be Allenwood’s Joe Jacob another acknowledged umpiring expert. Both will demonstrate all the eventualities that can occur during all game. Because of the realistic nature of the demonstration it is advisable that young children not be present





A Fiver’s Worth


Prince Charles decided to take up jogging.

Every day, he’d jog past a hooker standing on the same street

corner. He learned to brace himself as he approached her for what

was almost certain to follow.

 ‘One hundred and fifty pounds!’ she’d shout from the curb.

 ‘No! Five pounds!’ He would fire back, just to shut her up.

 This ritual between him and the hooker became a daily

 occurrence. He’d run by and she’d yell, ‘One hundred and Fifty

 pounds!’ He’d yell back, ‘Five pounds!’

 One day, Camilla decided that she wanted to accompany her

 husband on his jog.

 As the jogging couple neared the working woman’s street

 corner, Prince Charles realised she’d bark her 150 offer and

 Camilla would wonder what he’d really been doing on all his past

 outings. He figured he’d better have a good explanation for his wife.

 As they jogged into the turn that would take them past the

 corner, he became even more apprehensive than usual. Sure enough,

 there was the hooker. He tried to avoid the prostitute’s eyes as she

 watched the pair jog past.

 Then, from her corner, the hooker yelled, ‘See what you get

 for five pounds, you tight bastard?!’

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