THE GAA has been hit with another Ballyragget-gate type scandal, according to the Red Tops.
A tabloid, relentlessly pursuing a version of the truth, reported, quoting our old friend, the “anonymous source”, that a scantily-clad female attended a function in Tipperary following an U/21 hurling final.
Images of the saucy celebrations appeared on social media under the caption Ballyragget P2 as a mark of respect to the recent exposé featuring Sabrina and Fife, who were scantily-clad in a bar in Kilkenny after a GAA match.
A local priest offered the stray Cats confession following that shocking incident but admitted that he wouldn’t be holding his breath in anticipation of a pew full of hurlers turning up for a session of ‘bless me father for I have sinned’ – as opposed to how’s your father.
Some claim that the moral decline in our indigenous sports can be traced back to the decision by the GAA to stop bishops throwing in the ball in hurling finals. From that day forth, some maintain, the GAA, in both codes, started going to hell in a handcart.
Incidentally. whilst we can all afford a wry smile at the GAA, it was noticeable that they recently had their snouts buried deep in the trough and snaffled up the lion’s share of the doubloons from the Capital Grants Sports scheme.
Meantime, we asked our GAA comrades but they can’t put an exact figure on the stand out stats from the previous season either. How many times did the great Marty Morrissey say “they’re beginning to believe” when the cameras panned onto fans in Croker in 2017?
I counted five. He said it from the All-Ireland football and hurling semi-finals up, and just when we began to believe that he was going to stop saying they were beginning to believe, he noted that Mayo fans were beginning to believe against Dublin, until, I believe, Dub fans started beginning to believe.
Similarly, Irish lightweight Peter McDonagh found himself beginning to believe sitting alongside Uri Geller on a flight to London.
Readers will recall that Tel Aviv-born Geller is famed for bending spoons, illusions and conjuring tricks. He’s an expert in telepathy, according to himself. A total chancer, he claimed that he believed he could unlock McDonagh’s “human potential.”
McDonagh said – after it was confirmed that Geller was on his team – that he reckoned that the cutlery twister could help “unlock his human potential.” Going forward perhaps?
Subsequently, in the bowels of Dublin’s National Stadium, listening to a fighter droning on about the titles he would never win, the fights he would never have, the purses he would never earn, we noticed that Geller was sitting on the table behind us texting someone. Obviously, he was unlocking their human potential.
The boxing hacks approached their quarry. The self-proclaimed psychic noted the “positive energy”, as he put it, emanating from some of the most cynical keyboard tappers in the realm and asked for a moment of silence, to create, presumably, an ambience. An ambience of positivity perhaps?
“Why do you need to text if you’re an expert in telepathy, Uri?”asked yours truly. Hey, c’mon, it’s a reasonable enquiry. Other questions, intrepid questions, followed, such what was he doing here, what did he know about boxing, who was “yer wan” he was photographed with at the Airport and would he bend a spoon for us, using your mind – and that was just the broadsheets.
Geller made his excuses and left, lively. Note how psychics generally bamboozle folk with paranormal codology but that their extrasensory perception never extends to divulging useful information, such as who will win the two thirty at Newmarket. Ask them which nag to put your money on and all you get is sullen silence.
Speaking of gambling, the bookies haven’t yet figured a way to allow punters wager on which fly leaves the table first, but they’re working on it, while a report compiled by the University of Limerick (UL) found that an alarming percentage of athletes have participated in a fixed sporting event.
The Fix the Fixing study, which assessed data from more than 600 sports people in Ireland and five other European nations, found that nearly 15% of respondents said they had been asked to fix a match within the last year, with 12% confirming they had played in a fixed match.
It’s hard to say whether the match-fixing claims have been conflated with spot betting, wagering on the minutiae of games, such as who gets the first throw-in, corner, yellow card etc.
Spot betting – as opposed to match-fixing because gamblers don’t want to hang around for over an hour and a half to see if their ship come in – facilitates live betting online and is an even bigger issue.
The UL research also cited the case of Irish boxers Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly at the Rio Olympics. Conlan bet on a number of bouts he wasn’t involved in and Donnelly bet on himself to lose. Both men were reprimanded and apologised for their actions.
The UL report is commendable. Illegal gambling will, if it goes unchecked, destroy the integrity of sport quicker than doping.
Gambling, however, is an integral part of some sports. Take horseracing. Who, for instance, would be interested in Lilliputians tearing around a field on nags if they couldn’t bet on them? However, inside betting is an entirely different ball game, particularly when athletes put money on themselves to lose.
Some low paid professionals and semi-professionals could be susceptible to manipulation. Then again, yours truly reported almost a decade ago that bets were being placed on League of Ireland (LOI) games from thousands of miles away.
Match updates were being relayed live to a person in Germany who was passing on the information to Asia. The report was ridiculed. When the mob are running toward the edge of the cliff the person heading in the opposite direction will always looks as if he’s going the wrong way.
Then again, I might have been making the whole thing up about the LOI. Right? Would you put a tenner on it?