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Dublin: 14°C Monday 21 September 2020

The truth about Ravel Morrison and the rest of the week's best sportswriting

Stick the kettle on and enjoy this week’s best writing.

Ravel Morisson scores for Man United in a FA Youth Cup game in 2011.
Ravel Morisson scores for Man United in a FA Youth Cup game in 2011.
Image: PA

1. “I don’t feel ready to retire, but do I want to start all over again with a diminished product? So I did think about [resigning] but all three urged me not to do anything silly. I’ve also talked to people at Sky and part of the job is to make sure it’s not a diminished product and it’s fun and lively even in a Carabao Cup week. We did a show and once we got into the games you can’t help but enjoy it. It was a short show from 2.30pm to 5pm and I got messages from Charlie and Tommo saying: ‘We’re watching. Have a good show, mate, just be professional.’ So that’s what I did last Saturday, that’s what I’ll do this Saturday and we’ll see what happens.”

Following the sacking of his three friends and colleagues, Jeff Stelling sits down with Donald McRae for The Guardian. 

2. Morrison, Ferguson wrote, was “perhaps the saddest case”. He had “as much natural talent as any youngster we ever signed but kept getting into trouble”.

What has never been reported until now is that Morrison had also been diagnosed with ADHD, a mental health disorder, and there were perhaps complex reasons, therefore, why the player may have acted the way he did sometimes. But then again, Morrison has gone through almost all of his professional life without people knowing the facts and judging him on reputation alone. People know what he has done — just not necessarily why.

He and his close circle will never be persuaded that Manchester United looked after him appropriately and one vital detail came out in one of his court appearances: Morrison’s football career meant he wasn’t taking the medication he had been prescribed to help him cope with his disorder.

For The Athletic, Daniel Taylor writes back against the prevailing narrative around Ravel Morrison. (€)

3. As a piece of political slipperiness, the Government’s ability to be in charge of everything right now without being to blame for anything is almost admirable. The carry-on last week with the pubs and the keeping of receipts for 28 days was a classic of the genre. It was, said Stephen Donnelly, a measure aimed at a very small proportion of pubs who weren’t playing by the rules and anyway, the rules wouldn’t be in place for very much longer so it soon won’t apply.

So there you have it. A country in the grip of a once-in-a-century health crisis, one already battening down the hatches for the imminent economic tornado and one which, at best, is crossing its fingers for the mental health implications of both combined, that country’s government is using its time to legislate for something that it claims isn’t happening to any great extent, while emphasising that said legislation will soon be null and void in any case.

The Government can pull this sort of nonsense because they walk with a shield in front of them. The quiet, unfussy medical people who head up Nphet have taken a disproportionate amount of blame for the nuttiest of the measures. The €9 meal wheeze in pubs was strictly a Government invention but you can be sure that if you stopped people in the street and asked, Nphet would get a significant portion of the blame.

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The Irish Times’ Malachy Clerkin uses the absence of crowds at games to point out a few inconvenient truths for the government. 

4. Four minutes into Lismore and Abbeyside’s Waterford hurling quarter-final at Fraher Field last month, commentator Kieran O’Connor brought the local knowledge.

It was the type of colour you want – but don’t always get – from a native commentator; the garlic dip that sometimes comes with a takeaway pizza.

“The teenager strikes in the top corner,” said O’Connor, “the man with just one kidney but he’s playing as if he has more than two at this stage.”

The statement threw up a couple of questions: Would having three kidneys really make you a better hurler? And, more importantly, why did Oisín O’Gorman, the scorer of the Lismore goal, have one kidney fewer than most of us?

Moments earlier, a long ball from the Lismore fullback line scaled the Abbeyside defence and rolled down the other side into the possession of O’Gorman. He raced through on goal and batted the sliotar to the net, rolling away with his fist raised in celebration before remembering there was another hour of defending from the front to be done.

The 19-year-old scored 1-5 in all, helping his side progress to the semi-final where they lost to the Ballygunner seven-in-a-row steamroller.

The answer to why Oisín has just one kidney is found 12 years ago in the week before the 2008 All-Ireland final. That game is a nightmare Waterford hurling fans will never forget. It was the day they met Kilkenny at their most monstrous and walked out of Croke Park on the end of a 23-point defeat.

For the O’Gorman family, the week was the beginning of a year-long ordeal which made matters on the pitch trivial.
PJ Browne of shares Oisín O’Gorman’s inspiring story. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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