damp squib

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damp squib last won the day on September 16 2017

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  1. I wouldn't really use that as a measure of RL progress. Italy are like Ireland in that they benefit from having a large pool of good RU players to make up their RL team which Spain don't have. No one would argue that Serbia are the benchmark for Grassroots RL development in Europe but both Ireland and Italy have beaten them recently. In fairness I don't think anyone is claiming that. It is possibly one issue among many.
  2. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    Leaving aside the fact that Sinn Féin are repeatedly elected on a clear mandate for abstention, every Tory "rebel" would vote for the hardest of hard Brexits rather than be seen to be voting with Sinn Féin so there would still be no majority. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil know this but Sinn Féin are the major opposition party so it is an opportunity for point scoring. This is actually a case of domestic politics intersecting with Brexit politics, as opposed to the fantasy vision Brexiteers have of Leo "The Irish Tory" Varadkar reinventing himself as Michael Collins because of Sinn Féin political pressure. No it was a reasonable, common sense solution that would have seen a scaling up of already existing checks (on agricultural produce) at the small number of ports/airports either side of the Irish Sea, rather than create an entirely new, militarised infrastructure along a 500km "border" with over 300 crossings handling a far larger volume of goods and people and in contravention of an International Peace Treaty. It is a solution favoured by every major NI political party bar the DUP. If the Tories weren't dependent on that gang of corrupt bigots to prop up their shambles of a government it would have been signed off months ago....oh wait it was...until the DUP got wind of it!
  3. That may be the case but that's why I my hope is that this new system will create a core group of highly committed volunteers who can take some of that responsibility off RLI (who clearly don't have the manpower or ability to do it). So it looks like Casey Dunne is opposed to this which makes me doubt myself somewhat as he's pretty much single handedly driving the only real grassroots development in the country with Athboy. Communication is shocking - there's still nothing on the RLI Facebook or Twitter pages. Apparently there is an AGM in a couple of weeks so hopefully we will get some clarification. Seems like that might have been a better time to announce this... Is it just me or are a lot of major pieces of news in Rugby League made public through angry responses before the official announcement is even made? 😕
  4. damp squib

    New sky format

    I registered with them because I'm interested in their Serie A coverage and I might subscribe once they release their prices. I was asked to pick my favourite sport from a list of options and I chose Rugby League so if a few people do that it may turn their heads.
  5. I agree with your first point. Europe has a disproportionate number of WC qualifying places based on the strength of the Irish and Scottish heritage teams. On your second point - that's not not for us to judge. Some players have given me every reason to believe they have a deep and meaningful connection to Ireland. Other have given the opposite impression to put it mildly. While I would prefer if the latter were not representing Ireland, I think RLIs decision should be discussed for what it is - an attempt to improve grassroots RL in Ireland - rather than what it isn't - a judgement on the "loyalties" of English-born Irish internationals as Liam Finn was implying. In any case limiting the number to five will certainly weed out those who were only in it for a jolly to the World Cup.
  6. I'd love to see Hemel and Skolars develop a partnership with RLI to bring players over the way Coventry bears have. It can be difficult to entice players to move to the UK on a semi-pro contract but London has a real pull-factor and I'd say young lads would be more up for it.
  7. Indeed it could. I make a small distinction though because Lebanon has shown a real development on the domestic front where Ireland has not. It also does not have to use the national team to compete with RU for it's player base. There are a few other reasons why it's different as I mentioned in my DM.
  8. Because if the Ireland RL team was an accurate reflection of the state of RL in Ireland you would see that they are good enough. In fact they are much better, because their background as relatively high-level amateur and semi-pro Union players makes them a stronger team than even Serbia, who are light-years ahead in terms of grassroots RL development. I think it will produce a core group of players who are invested in the sport, who along with their friends and families could make up a genuine self-replicating grassroots for Irish RL (starting at maybe 1,000 people) that could see small but steady growth over time as they receive real and not token rewards for their dedication. If that seems depressing and small-time it's because it's an accurate reflection of where we're at. I think one of the reasons countries like Serbia and Lebanon have been so successful domestically is that they are 100% clear about where the game stands in their country and build on it accordingly. Ireland's successful heritage team hugely distorts this perception and makes it difficult to know where to start building from. I realise there are many more factors involved but I do think this influences things. I'm extremely pessimistic about the chances of RL ever establishing itself in Ireland for many reasons, so I agree that it is unlikely to deliver growth. But I do think it has a lightly better chance than what came before.
  9. Ireland RL currently has very little to offer to incentivise decent Rugby Union players to embrace Rugby League for more than a summer training camp. The season is short, the player base is small and game just generally presents an image of a niche hobby. Recently RLI has focused on pushing the idea that if you dedicate yourself to League you have a real chance of representing Ireland internationally at the top level i.e. not in a B-team playing Hungary. This was a lie as the World Cups and European Championships have repeatedly demonstrated. Now it is true. Of course Ireland are now weaker than before and may not qualify for the WC, but the amateurs are also much better than people give them credit for. A domestic squad with 5 decent SL players would be on a par with Wales or not far off. We will still be reasonably competitive in the Euros and will be in with a small chance of qualifying for the World Cup. We may get hammered like Wales did but I will repeat - it is not the job of RLI to provide a competitive team to fill out the World Cup. As a fan I will be much more engaged with this team than I was before for many reasons. The Irish diaspora are an extremely important part of Irish society. You are reading comments by English people so I'm not sure why you have used them to form an impression on the position of the Irish diaspora. I will send you a DM.
  10. I pretty much agree with this. The idea that having a successful Irish team made up of heritage players will raise the profile of the sport here has been proven wrong time and time again. The sport's profile is lower than it ever was. There are two major issues which affect the credibility of the Irish RL team. 1) Almost nobody knows it exists. 2) No team made up entirely of heritage players has any credibility in the eyes of the sporting public. The argument that our heritage team benefits point 1 is demonstrably untrue, however these steps do address point 2. I can't speak for all fans but for myself I felt very little enthusiasm for the Ireland team in the WC. Half of the squad had either never played for Ireland before or had coincidentally last played during the previous WC. Liam Finn can say what he wants about building on that success but if nothing had changed what are the chances I would be watching Kyle Amor and Mickey McIlorum take the field in Bray in the Autumn? Zero. And God forbid any Irish fans new to the game checked out some of their social media profiles during the WC as I did and saw them clamouring to play for Great Britain (imagine even IRISH internationals forgetting to add "& Ireland"). People forget that having so few Irish-born people involved in the Ireland RL team means that many off-field aspects of the team are culturally tone-deaf to actual Irish fans. Finn's point about Ireland RL now only being made up of RU players that didn't make it also ridiculous - when has it ever been different? But remember that there are only four professional RU teams in Ireland so there is a lot of talent to go around, at least now there is a clear pathway to actually represent your country. I genuinely believe that the Irish RL team needs to reflect the actual state of RL here or we'll just tread water for another 30 years. Dave T is right that we really should be reducing the number of teams in the WC now. But that shouldn't influence the decision of RLI whose responsibility is to develop the sport in Ireland, not to provide a competitive team to make the WC look better. Last thing I'll say is that I'm very disappointed in how Liam Finn has responded to this and fair play to Richard Egan for making a bold and brave decision, regardless of what happens. edit: I'll just add that it would not surprise me if some of the impetus for this decision came from the domestic players themselves.
  11. damp squib

    FIFA World Cup 2018

    Yeah that's fair enough. I get that's its a buzz-kill to be talking about it right away.
  12. damp squib

    FIFA World Cup 2018

    They're not all that and will be beaten comfortably by France. But they were still far calmer and more composed on the ball than England and didn't panic when they conceded. All of this is not because of experience but is down to the fact that their players, all but two of whom have less natural talent and athletic ability than anyone in the England team, were miles ahead in terms of technique. This is not a natural phenomenon and is down to fundamental problems with coaching in grassroots football. None of this should take away from your enjoyment of the WC run but it's still worth analysing what went wrong and how it can be improved so these moments aren't so rare in future.
  13. damp squib

    FIFA World Cup 2018

    I think people are being a bit unfair to Adelaide Tiger, mostly through misunderstanding. Of course getting to a SF is amazing, should be celebrated and enjoyed and the players and Southgate deserve their praise. That's one thing. The other thing is - did this SF run demonstrate that anything in English football has changed fundamentally to suggest that England will now consistently perform as well at these tournaments as they should, given their population and resources. The answer to that is no, for all the reasons Adelaide Tiger pointed out. The width of a post could have seen England knocked out in the 2nd round to an average Colombian side and this amazing experience you've had would never have happened. Discussing these things doesn't negate the celebration, although I can understand that people maybe don't want to talk about it so soon after being knocked out. On the other hand if you've been watching England make the same mistakes since 1970 I can also understand thinking "when is a good time to talk about it?" I'm speaking as a fan of Ireland who have the same fundamental problems multiplied several times but which never get addressed because we occasionally have a decent run in a tournament.
  14. I've seen Gavin Willacy make these comparisons before and they're really not the same thing. Only Morocco is a little bit comparable and they're a massive outlier in football and still have 25% native born. Also I don't remember anyone criticizing the fact that most of the players don't play in the countries they represent, just that they don't come from there. Willacy has a vested interest in repeating this point though as he's involved with Scotland RL who are by far the worst offenders. As mentioned above it's the nation swapping that's the real problem and pretty unique to RL. It is glaringly obvious that most of the Ireland squad, particularly the higher profile players, would rather be playing for England or GB and most likely will if they hit some good form. As a fan it's very difficult to get behind a group of players like that. I doubt many England fans would cheer for a player who they knew really wanted to be playing for Australia. At least in football they have to make a lifelong commitment.