Saturday 28 November 2009

Buckley's Sporting Vision Fulfilled

On launching Sporting Football Liam Buckley a couple of seasons ago was fulfilling both a personal and a professional ambition by pursuing a vision of how he believes a League of Ireland club should develop over time. It was also based on his own view that any club with which he is involved should aspire to the highest level of achievement on all fronts and be part of the local community.

The result in Fingal has been a project that is the fulfilment of that dream and the achievements this season have been beyond even his expectations.

On a personal level, Liam Buckley’s views and ambitions are based on very practical experiences of the League of Ireland given that over the years he has earned his keep at St. Patrick’s Athletic, Athlone Town and Shamrock Rovers before this latest opportunity came about.

Some years ago Buckley was attracted by the Belfield Park job when a vacancy arose at UCD AFC. In his view the club had a great pitch, great training facilities, scholarships which would allow the players to be available for training during the day. It also triggered many ideas that could not be contemplated in other "part time" clubs at the time all operating on small budgets that did not allow for full tome football.

In the end that particular opportunity did not come about and probably for the right reasons so he moved on. As Liam Buckley always balances his pragmatism with a positive “can do” attitude it sets him apart as a manager in many ways.

It is those characteristics, which at times are not apparent beneath his personable and affable manner, which encompass a passion and competitiveness that are too often underestimated. He also portrays himself in a causal and easy manner often using very few words with the media. However, underneath the flowing hair and those perpetually youthful looks lies much ambition and a person who loves to win and who is fiercely competitive.

For those not old enough to recall his glory days in the early eighties at Glenmalure Park alongside Alan Campbell with Shamrock Rovers, his efficiency and ability in front of goal was undisputed in the League of Ireland. It was this reputation that saw him attract the attention of continental football clubs, finally leading to a move to Belgium in the mid eighties after being a regular top scorer for “The Hoops”.

When he did travel abroad in 1986 he left the best club set up in Ireland under John Giles and Noel Campbell, and the great pitch at Milltown allowed for skilful ball players to ply their trade; provided for great training facilities for weekly sessions and a level of professionalism brought back from England by Giles.

So when Buckley went to Waregem in Belgium to see the things at the club with his agent Goyvaerts, before he made his decision to move, it was the practical side that reassured him it was right to leave Ireland. Things like a good stadium, proper training facilities and the professional people at the club were the key details that influenced him.

His move to Belgium also gave him the opportunity to play in the UEFA Cup and the club reached the semi-finals in his first season away from the League of Ireland. The Following year he joined Racing Santander where he competed on a weekly basis with clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona; Valencia and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

On his return from overseas he played for a variety of clubs eventually getting into management after working alongside the likes of Brian Kerr and Pat Dolan, amongst others.

For Liam though success on the field on a weekly basis could not always guarantee any club’s long-term future and he appreciates what can happen if the fixtures do not go well and his team are not in the hunt for any league or cup glory. He always balances these two extremes with patience and realism and Sporting Fingal now is a case in point. In building a club from nothing from a vision he developed by seeing community based clubs succeed in continental Europe he has fulfilled part of his ambition.

But Buckley has been around long enough to know that there is a long way to go yet before he can feel completely satisfied and that the job is really only beginning for him at Fingal. However his optimism is infectious and his style is inimitable and that broad smile equips him well to make Sporting Fingal a success.

Based on what he has achieved so far and the blueprint he has started one would be slow to bet against further success in the near future.

Monday 23 November 2009

Qualifying School Second Stage Results

by Rossa McDermott

A blistering six under par 66 by Niall Kearney of Royal Dublin on the last day of Stage 2 secured a place in the final round of European Tour Qualifying to be held next week. A total score of 276 at the Costa Ballena Club gave the 2009 Walker Cup player joint 3rd place only two shots behind the winner, Fredrik Ohlsson of Sweden,

The Irish celebrations at Costa Ballena also included St Margaret's John Kelly as his joint 11th place after a 69 on day four gave him playing rights next weekend.

The good news for the Irish spread to Sherry Golf where a 72 from Simon Thornton qualified him for the final stage when his aggregate score of 284 secured joint 6th place. He will be joined by Colm Moriarty who signed for a 72 which was enough for a joint 14th place after an aggregate of 285.

The Hacienda del Alamo course brought further good news when Jonathan Caldwell’s 7 under total secured joint 12th place and the chance to battle it out once again next week at the PGA Catalunya.

At Arcos Gardens the best placed Irish player was Michael Collins of FORE Ireland in 26th which was beyond the reach of the 19 automatic places available. Cian McNamara and Gareth Shaw finished further down the field to see their challenge for their 2010 Tour card also come to an end,

The Q School battle came to an end as well for former European Tour player David Higgins, along with Mervyn Owens, Michael McGeady and Eddie Barr.

A total of 304 players competed over the four venues in Spain for 74 spots in the Final Qualifying Stage and out of a total of twelve Irish challengers at the start of this weekend y five have made through Stage 2.

Final Qualifying will take place at the PGA Golf de Catalunya near Girona from November 28th to December 3rd.

The Irish contenders will be Niall Kearney, John Kelly, Simon Thornton, Colm Moriarty and Jonathan Caldwell.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Irish Scores – Second Stage Round 3

FORE Ireland's Michael Collins shot a round of 68 on day three to push him into joint 26th place on level par with an aggregate 216 in Arcos Gardens. The Mallow man was ten shots behind leader Michiel Bothma from South Africa who was leading with a total of 206.

With only 19 qualifying places on offer at Arcos Gardens Mallow’s Mick Collins result places him within sight of the next round of qualifying going into Monday’s final round of Stage 2.

The other Irish players included Cian McNamara who came in with a 78 and a total of 223 with Gareth Shaw on 75 and a total of 221.

At Costa Ballena the event leader Alvaro Velasco from Spain recorded an aggregate 202 with Niall Kearney recording a 67 placing him 7 shots adrift on 210 in joint 21st place. The effort of John Kelly was also notable as he came in with a 68 and aggregate of 211.

At Sherry Club de Golf Simon Thornton signed for a 71 leaving him 7 shots behind the leader Philip Archer of England on 205.

The other Irish scores after day three were a 74 for Colm Moriarty on an aggregate 213; Michael McGeady on 72 and Waterville’s David Higgins in with a 73 and total of 221 with Eddie Barr two shots adrift on 75.

The Irish contingent at Hacienda del Alamo were left in chase of American Ryan Blaum who with 16 under and total of 200 was in commanding lead. Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell was 212 after a 71 on day three with Mervyn Owens 71 leaving him on 217 and a challenging last day.

A total of 304 players are competing over four venues in Spain for 74 spots in the Final Qualifying Stage later this month.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Tardelli Back With Trapatonni


In the World Cup Final of 1982 in Madrid German defender Uli Stielike missed a penalty early in the game and on the foot of their semi final win against France days earlier it seemed that maybe their luck was running out. Their opponents were an Italian side with flair players but playing the Italian style “catennaccio” - the name given to the defensive brand of football they practised.
The tournament’s top scorer was Italian though and Paulo Rossi came to life after 57 minutes and sent the momentum the other way. Then twelve minutes later Marco Tardelli drove a low ball into the back of the next leaving the German goal keeper stranded to make it 2-1. He then set off a celebration run that is still remembered today.

With momentum gone from their efforts Germany went forward in search of an equaliser and were punished for their troubles by a future team mate of Brady's at Inter Milan, Alessandro Altobelli. That third goal set the result despite a late reply from Paul Breitner three minutes from the full time whistle.

Italy were deserved victors, even if surprising ones, in what had proven to be anticlimactic final. 
The abiding memory remains those images of Tardelli's and the celebration after scoring his goal at such a pivotal point in the match. That image is as vibrant today as it was in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium twenty six years ago. 
For the record the names on the Italian side that Sunday afternoon in July ring out like a footballing hall of fame starting with Dino Zoff in goal; then Giuseppe Bergomi, Antonio Cabrini, Fulvio Collovati, Claudio Gentile in defence, with Gaetano Scirea, Gabriele Oriali , Marco Tardelli in the midfield, Bruno Conti and Paolo Rossi leading the attack. On that day Franco Baresi was just a young sub on the bench. 
Having spent a ten years of a playing career with Juventus with Giovanni Trapattoni as his manager, Marco Tardelli departed to Inter Milan in 1986. When he retired from the game two years later in Switzerland he switched immediately to coaching joining the Italian Under 21 set up where his team won Youth European Championship. 
A year later he left to become manager of Inter Milan but that did not last beyond the end of that season. He then had stints managing Bari, the Egyptian national football team and Arezzo, all without success. 

It was as a player though that he really made his mark winning a World championship in 1982 and between 1975 - 985 winning 5 Serie A titles; two UEFA Cups in 1985 and 1977, and Cup Winners Cup in 1984 – all with Juventus. 

It was all with one manager as well, Giovanni Trapattoni. 

OSM - All rights reserved 2009

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