Sideline Cuts – 21

Managers don’t concede goals

Dundee United and Bournemouth shared an unwanted statistic at the weekend. Both shipped nine goals against Celtic and Liverpool respectively and both clubs currently find themselves managerless after the services of both Jack Ross and Scott Parker were defenestrated with by their respective employers.

Utterly ridiculous and another shameful illustration of the way football has gone. The managers didn’t concede all the goals. Far better would it be for those in control at sub-standard clubs to either dock or withold pay from players or their recruitment staff. Essentially, Parker was fired for telling the truth.

Say What You Like About Rory – You Can’t Beat Class

Rory McIlroy is one of the greatest enigmas in the sporting world. The Down man’s acumen at his chosen profession is beyond question. There are throngs of golfers who play out their entire careers without winning a Major, yet the man from Hollywood has four of them.

Rory: Three-time FedEx Cup winner

For all that, there has always been the feeling that he has fallen short of what he might have won in the game. Balderdash. On Sunday last, the 33-year-old won the Coca Cola Tour Championship and lifted the FedEx Cup for a third time.

Thus, notionally at least, proving himself the best golfer of the season. Whatever about that being so in an exact sense, he is absolutely the best ambassador the game presently has.

As displayed not only in the gargantuan comeback he engineered in the final round – coming from six behind to usurp the sensational Scottie Scheffler but, even more so, in the humility and grace shown to his vanquished opponent and his family.

All a far cry from the greed and selfishness of those who have signed up to the Greg Norman/Phil Mickelson led quango that is LIV Golf. Now, for the most part, those jumping ship aren’t good enough to win on either the PGA or DP Tours.

However, the game changer may have arrived with the disgraceful defection of Cameron Smith. The Open Champion – who also carries the title of Champion Golfer Of The Year – has done the venerated trophy he has won and golf as a whole a disrespectful disservice.

THE FRUSTRATING SIDE OF HORSE RACING

No secret has ever been made of the fact that National Hunt racing will always get first preference in this corner. There are numerous reasons for such being the case, but the longest standing exhibit is the fleeting careers stars on the level – colts in particular – have.

Though not a fan of the practise either, fillies and mares being retired early is slightly more understandable call given their forthcoming value from a bloodstock viewpoint.

Colts or geldings should be surely allowed race on. Even if that means they end up with the latter conformation. Today, however, Joseph O’Brien’s Royal Ascot winner State Of Rest was retired to stud.

The decision was apparently arrived at when something showed up in an MRI scan. Being reasonably au feit with equine injuries – i. e. where in the animal they most commonly occur, my guess with be something like a tendon, or a suspensory ligament or a pelvic injury.

To the best of my knowledge, nearly all of the above can be overcome and a return to racing made. But if a horse is in the wrong code in the sport it most likely won’t get the chance. Such a pity.

Notoriously lacking class

There tends to be a lot of talk about sports stars being role models for youngsters. Of course, there’s no obligation and it’s not their primary role, but, thankfully, sport near and far is flush with shining examples to future stars.

Irish sport in particular. From Rachael Blackmore to Katie Taylor, David Clifford, Johnny Sexton, Rory McIlroy, Sam Bennett, Ciara McGeeann and inumerable others. And then, for another swathe of people, Conor McGregor has been the epitome of the ordinary man done good.

McGregor: Thrashy

In one way I get that entirely. Whether the activity he excelled at should be considered a sport at all or not is an entirely different issue but, considering he is the world renowned face of the thing, he continually lets it and himself down.

Forget the latest nefarious brouhaha this week, one could very easily list of a litany of thrashy goings on in which he has become involved. In the Octagon, he was undoubtedly world class. Unfortunately outside it, that quality is notoriously lacking.

PRESSURE AND A WINNING HANGOVER MEAN A QUICK END FOR EMMA

Naturally, from the perspective of the Women’s championship, the build up to this year’s US Open tennis has been dominated by what is purported to be Serena Williams’ swansong in the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Meaning that many other contenders slipped somewhat under the radar.

However, one competitor who had no such luxury was defending Ladies champion Emma Raducanu. The Briton was an unheralded unknown before the last weekend of August last season but caused one of the great sporting sensations by blitzing through the entire field and taking the title.

It probably stood to reason that, having began the current campaign off the back of such an astonishing one last year, the only way her trajectory could possibly go was downward. That said, by no means should the 2021 winner be written off.

Her plight at present reminds me of that of a player inhibited by being appointed captain of a team. It may well be a case of form and confidence returning once the burden is lifted.

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