ET Bitesize: Salt and Finger

Thu, Oct 20 2016

The City support urging crisp packets across goal. Credit: Extratime Team

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I was all ready to dedicate this week's ET Bitesize entirely to the discussion of crisps.

 

Ever since Stephen Kenny unveiled his theory about crisp packets and the Shed at Turners Cross, I've been utterly consumed by the topic.

 

I'd come up with all sorts of musings on the places where football intersects with crisps, about Hunky Dorys Park and Tayto Park up there in the magical north-east.

 

About how, by now an adopted Dundalk man, Kenny's obsession with crisps must stem from a deep-seated, albeit recent, antipathy for all things Drogheda and, by extension, the rest of Meath (Drogheda is in Meath – get over it.)

 

I thought about Perri crisps – what happened to them anyway? Largo Foods, that's what. Ashbourne, Co Meath. Exactly.

 

I was even prepared, by way of previewing the Lilywhites' Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg, to look into Russian crisps.

 

Do St Petersburger crisps even count as Russian crisps? Or are they caught in a perpetual halfway house – not Russian enough to be Russian crisps, not European enough to be European crisps?

 

Doomed to linger forever on a shelf in an Eastern European supermarket, neglected, smelling faintly of offal.

 

But such nonsense will have to wait for another day, or perhaps never, depending on when another League of Ireland manager says something weird about crisps.

 

Kenny Shiels, I'm counting on you.

 

For St Patrick's Athletic went and threw a spanner in the works by battering Cork City at Richmond Park, Liam Buckley's side scoring three of the goals while City could only manage one of the goals.

 

The result effectively means there's nothing remotely interesting left in the Premier Division, unless one of Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Finn Harps lose all their games. Which is unlikely.

 

So all focus turns then to the First Division and the play-off to determine which of Cobh Ramblers and Drogheda United has the pleasure of being beaten by Wexford Youths.

 

Or, should Youths beat Harps this weekend and gain another three on the Ballybofey side in the final weekend, the pleasure of being beaten by Harps.

 

One man who won't play a part either in the league run-in or any hypothetical play-off is Kevin McHugh – the Harps captain has unfortunately been forced to retire a few weeks earlier than intended.

 

I missed the news during my couple of weeks away on holiday, but McHugh lost a finger in a freak accident during a coaching session when his wedding ring got caught on a fence.

 

The 36-year-old was due to end his playing days at the end of the season anyway, but it's doubly cruel, on top of his impairment, that he's been robbed of his ability to exit on his own terms.

 

One of the best things about seeing Harps in the Premier Division this season – apart from the obvious pleasure of seeing Optimism's Ollie Horgan on Soccer Republic – has beenthe chance to witness the Killea man have one last crack at the top league.

 

While Pat Morley may sneer, McHugh has been one of the most prolific strikers the First Division has ever seen during his time with Harps, and it's a shame he didn't get to spend more time at Premier level.

 

With the Harps under-19s narrowly losing out to UCD in the league semi-finals last week, there seems to be plenty of young talent coming through at Harps.

 

The fact he live-tweeted his emergency room experience – and the grace and practicality with which he's taken the life-changing news – stands to his character.

 

We wish him the best in coaching and the future – who knows, he may soon be working with his sucessor.

 

 

 

FROM THE ECHO CHAMBER

 

 

PODCAST

 

It's a thrice-managerly affair on the ET Sportcast this week as host Josh Dolan flies solo, speaking to Wexford Youths boss Shane Keegan, Drogheda United's play-off-bound chief Pete Mahon, as well as Cork City under-19 head honcho Stephen Bermingham ahead of their UEFA Youth League tie with HJK Helsinki at Turners Cross on Wednesday.

 

 

QUIZ TIME

 

Have you got the knowledge of the League of Ireland to mix it with Extratime.ie's most esteemed eggheads? Take the ET Weekly Quiz and let us know you get on Twitter @ExtratimeNews.

 

 

IN-DEPTH

 

Liam Buckley told Dave Donnelly he wanted his Pat's side to have a say in the title run-in despite being out of the picture themselves... and they duly did, beating Cork City 3-1 to all but ensure the league trophy remains in Dundalk.

 

Cork City's latest under-19 to graduate to the first team, Chiedozie Ogbene, gives his thoughts ahead of the younger side's UEFA Youth League showdown with HJK Helsinki.

 

Philip Nolan muses on the battle for League of Ireland supremacy in sporting-mad Dublin.

 

Turlough Kelly reflects on the usual Extratime.ie subject matter: Beckett, cricket and the void.

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Drogheda United and Cobh Ramblers will contest the First Division promotion play-off after finishing the season second and third respectively. Dates and details in the article.

 

And the Drogheda boss Pete Mahon was rewarded with a new two-year deal.

 

Optimism's Ollie Horgan extended his Finn Harps deal until the end of 2017.

 

But Horgan's joy was bittersweet as Keith Cowan sustained a long-term injury in the draw with St Patrick's Athletic.

 

Cabinteely are on the look-out for a new manager to take the club forward as Eddie Gormley steps aside.

 

21-year-old full back Regan Donelon was rewarded for his form in his Sligo Rovers breakthrough season with a two-year contract extension.