I just received some encouraging information from my local barman Terry from Dundalk who has persuaded the owner of the Irish pub franchise to get Setanta on cable which will remove the dilemma all ex-pats have of searching the internet looking for ways to access the games.This has been the biggest frustration as RTÉ usually block the coverage. The recent game against Israel was a excellent example I ended up finding the game on the net but the commentary was in Hebrew and in Russian on two different stations. Previously the game against France was watched in the only French piano bar which had access to the channel the game was on.The black tie rules were relaxed on the night and we were all discretely tucked away in a corner. I got the feeling the owner was relieved it ended 0-0 as the atmosphere was not interrupted with cries of Goal!!!
The on going debate about using Croke Park received some interest as the Olympic stadium in Helsinki is undergoing major refurbishment before the forthcoming World cup athletics meeting in the summer. The debate is about the cost of covering the whole stadium which was built before the outbreak of the Second World War for the Olympics and was finally used for the Olympics in 52. The wisdom of spending vast amounts on such a large stadium which has little use in the winter months and once in 1983 attracted 197 people for the Finnish Cup Final to a stadium which holds 48,000!!
The GAA strict rule also received some attention as well as the fact Croke Park is now Europe’s 4th largest stadium! The comments of George Best on an all Ireland team have been a topic of interest among the ex-pats. Opinion is splitting us down the middle the way Roy Keane did.
by Tommy Reilly in Helsinki