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If Big Sam hates the present so much, why should we entrust him with Ireland’s future?

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by Adam Moynihan

Yesterday, by complete coincidence, I consumed two pieces of media that focussed on brash, larger than life Englishmen.

The first was a Second Captains interview with football manager Sam Allardyce and the second was a 2006 Channel 4 documentary about Roy Chubby Brown, aka Britain's rudest comedian.

For those unfamiliar with Brown's work, "rude" is a very kind way of describing his frankly awful brand of outrageously offensive comedy. Many of his jokes cannot be repeated here but the narrator of the documentary sums him up well when he notes that, "on stage [Brown] uses themes that most other comedians discarded several decades ago". He developed a significant following regardless, making millions of pounds off his live gigs, VHS tapes and DVDs.

I was struck by the many similarities between Allardyce and Brown, two controversial celebrities whose success has never been greeted with the acclaim they feel it deserves.

Allardyce is considered one of the leading candidates for the vacant Ireland managerial post and, when prompted by host Eoin McDevitt, he willingly threw his hat into the ring at a Second Captains live show in Dublin. The former Bolton, West Ham and England boss was initially given a warm welcome by the audience but McDevitt and co-hosts Ciarán Murphy and Ken Early subsequently pointed out that the atmosphere soured as the interview wore on.

Allardyce certainly has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way. He and Roy Chubby Brown have that in common. But that’s not where the parallels end.

Perhaps the most tangible link is both men's aversion to foreigners. Brown frequently takes jabs at immigrants as part of his routine, while Big Sam is vociferously opposed to non-English managers and owners coming to the Premier League and, in his words, "pinching our jobs". While Allardyce is obviously nowhere near as overtly xenophobic as Brown, that particular remark is exactly like one of Brown’s gags, albeit without the punchline.

Like Brown, Allardyce rails against modernity and refuses to accept that times change. He claims we have all been brainwashed into thinking that possession football is good in much the same way that Brown believes we've all been brainwashed into thinking that taking the piss out of minorities is bad.

In taking that stance, they both reveal how out of touch they are with the majority of the population. (The classic Principal Skinner line "no, it’s the children who are wrong" springs to mind.) Instead of adapting their approach and moving with the times, they remain devoutly true to their methods, however outdated the rest of the world deems them to be. Emboldened by a small cult following of Little Englanders, they lack the self-awareness to realise why they are out of favour with everyone else. And they're not for changing.

Allardyce, who lost his England job after just 67 days due to alleged professional malpractice, favours a direct style of football. There may be a time and place for such an approach but most people prefer to watch possession-based football, and most players prefer to play it. It’s not a global conspiracy to do old-style managers like Allardyce out of a job. "Tippy tappy football", as Big Sam calls it, is popular for a reason.

In the documentary, Brown (then 61) laments the fact that he hasn't been on TV in 18 years. The audiences at his live shows are dwindling and the money coming in isn’t covering his expenditure. But, of course, he and his material are not to blame. Society is the problem.

(The Middlesbrough native is still performing, incidentally, although earlier this year a number of his shows were cancelled. His manager accused venues of "bowing to the woke/snowflake pressure".)

Allardyce’s best days are more than likely behind him too. His career peaked in the mid-2000s when he brought Bolton all the way to Europe. That was a fantastic achievement but in football terms it’s a lifetime ago.

As I reflected on the interview and the documentary, it occurred to me that giving the Ireland job to Sam Allardyce would, in a way, be like giving The Late Late Show job to Roy Chubby Brown. What message would that put out? What values would it promote?

More importantly, why should we entrust the future of Irish football to someone who clearly despises the modern game?

If that's how he feels about the present, imagine how he'll feel about whatever comes next.

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Kingdom youngsters defeat Dublin outfit to capture Kennedy Shield

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Kerry won their first piece of Kennedy Cup silverware in seven years by defeating the North Dublin Schoolboys/Girls League (NDSL) by two goals to one at the University of Limerick.

After drawing with Tipperary South 3-3 and losing 1-0 to Waterford in heartbreaking fashion in the group stage, the Kingdom entered the shield. Goals by Thomas Keane and Donnacha Vaughan helped them to a 2-1 win over Carlow in the quarter-final, which set up a semi-final tie against Clare.

That clash with their fellow Munster men ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time (Jayden Hurley provided the Kerry goal) and so the match went all the way to penalties. Kerry held their nerve to prevail 6-5 and advance to the final.

Kerry started well against NDSL in the decider and goals via a Lachlann Scannell corner and Darragh Keane gave them a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes.

The Dubliners pulled one back in the second period but the Kerry lads showed courage, heart and plenty of skill to hang on and capture the coveted shield.

Congratulations to players and management on a fantastic achievement.

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Silver and gold for Muckross rowers at Munster Branch Regatta

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Muckross Rowing Club had a large contingent of crews competing in the recent Munster Branch Regatta held at the National Rowing Centre in Cork.

The event was the latest in an action-packed regatta season for the club that has already taken in regattas in Limerick, Leitrim and a number of events in Cork.

The club enjoyed a very successful outing with three wins, four second place finishes and 11 further crews placing third in race finals.

The club was especially successful in the Men’s J18B Double event, taking both gold and silver in the final with four crews from the club among the final six. The other two golds for Muckross were secured in the final of the Men’s J16 Double and the Men’s J14 Quad.

The club is now looking forward to its next regatta, another outing to the National Rowing Centre for the two-day Cork Regatta. The Cork Regatta is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, June 22/23, with 28 Muckross crews entered.

The Cork Regatta also takes in a round of selection trials, with a number of Muckross rowers in contention for selection to national crews.

The final weekend of June is then among the busiest for the club. On Saturday, June 29, the Rowing Ireland 1k Classic in Lough Rynn, Leitrim is the top national event for Junior 14-15 and Masters crews. And on Sunday, June 30, the historic Killarney Regatta will see local rivalries renewed in the contest for traditional ‘Sixing’ races. The Killarney Six style of traditional rowing boat is now unique to the town.

The busy spell of competition for the Muckross club then leads on to the ultimate national contest: the Irish Rowing Championships in mid-July.

WINNING MUCKROSS CREWS: Men’s J18B Double – Seán O’Donovan, Cillian Leslie. Men’s J16 Double – Ronan Fahy, Cian Scannell (Muckross A). Men’s J14 Quad – Aaron O’Connor, Connor Duffin, Oscar O’Sullivan, Aaron Hegarty.

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