SportsNet - March 2013
Let’s face it: there are a lot of career records in Major League Baseball are unlikely to be touched any time soon.
But the one mark that stands head-and-shoulders above all the others on the unbreakability scale often tends to get overlooked.
This record has been in place for more than a century without being challenged, and all indications are that it is getting tougher and tougher to approach with each passing year.
It’s not Nolan Ryan’s records for strikeouts or no-hitters, nor is it Pete Rose’s hits mark. Tris Speaker’s record for doubles has been approached in recent years, while all of Barry Bonds’ recent marks could be vulnerable should the game move back toward slugging.
September gone, after a string of impressive performances for Noel King’s Republic Of Ireland Under-21 side, Robbie Brady was called up to Giovanni Trapattoni’s senior set up. This meant he missed the final European Championship Group 7 Qualifier with Italy. But King’s side recorded a famous victory on Italian soil on September 10th.
Goals from Sean Murray, Derrick Williams, Aaron Doran and the stand out effort from Conor Henderson saw Ireland win 4-2 in a game that also saw two red cards for the visitors and two instances of floodlight failure. It was a dramatic climax to Ireland’s campaign. But more importantly it was the foundation for further development in the Irish Under-21 set up.
Proving that the Italian victory was not a freak result but a culmination of a series of promising displays throughout the qualifying campaign, Ireland last month took on their Dutch counterparts at Shamrock Rovers’ Tallaght Stadium and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners with a penalty from Anthony Forde and two goals from Crawley Town striker Aiden O’Brien.
If there was any doubt why Chelsea is so hated no just in the English Premier League (EPL) but across Europe, one of its budding young stars Gael Kakuta’s latest comments just confirmed this public opinion.
Kakuta told The Sun a few days ago that there are too many players at Chelsea and he is contemplating playing elsewhere next season. The 21-year old Kakuta spent the last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland (he also had temporary bouts with Fulham, Bolton, and Dijon).
Like so many young talented footballers, he came through the Blue’s training system as a teenager—and it was predicted that he would have an outstanding career with the Chelsea. However, the lack of playing time has caused reality to set in with the youngster. Kakuta was quoted as saying “I don’t dream about Chelsea anymore – I used to, now I know better. I hope I can join a club like Vitesse next season, where I can play every week. Chelsea has far too many players…at my age I need to play regularly but if I go back I’ll just get 10 minutes a month and I don’t want that.”
As Arsenal look set to finish their eighth consecutive season without silver-ware, many Arsenal fans are beginning to become frustrated by the lack of success. Arsene Wenger took the rains at Arsenal FC in 1996 and enjoyed a number of years of success, the biggest of course was Arsenal's unbeaten season (2003/4). The last trophy won by the Gunners was the FA Cup in 2005 - at which point they lost star player Patrick Viera.
Looking back on eight years of mediocrity, Arsenal have stuggled to stay in the top 4 at many points over the period, and after 8 years the question has to be raised as to why the Frenchman still holds his job. No other club in England would have allowed this fruitless period to continue for so long, take Chelsea for example - abramovich pulls the trigger on even successful managers.
Robbie Keane’s scan on a calf problem sustained after taking a knock in Stockholm on Friday night has been deemed serious enough to rule him out of Tuesday evening’s crucial World Cup qualifier with Austria in Dublin. Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Kevin Doyle has now been called into the squad by Irish manager, Giovanni Trapattoni.
However the likelihood of Doyle starting or even seeing any action at Landsdowne Road is unlikely, most obviously by virtue of his original exclusion. Doyle will be drafted in as cover for Jonathan Walters who may start in Keane’s absence, Conor Sammon and Simon Cox.
If Walters is retained on the wing, Wes Hoolahan would be the popular choice to take Keane’s place. This scenario however is unlikely with Jonathan Walters likely to partner Shane Long up front and Andy Keogh or Robbie Brady to take his place on the wing.
It’s not impossible that Trapattoni will start with Conor Sammon up front, but based more on how he struggled in the friendly match with Poland then the brief appearance against Sweden, it would be deemed a gamble.