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CATHAL MacSUIBNE’S DONEGAL GAA BLOG: DONEGAL BELOW PAR AGAINST DOWN

first_imgBY CATHAL MacSUIBNE IN NEWRY: While last week’s patchy performance against Meath was generally viewed as a welcome eye-opener for Donegal, today’s against Down suggests that Jim McGuinness’ men have some serious work ahead of them if they’re to slay the Oak Leaf County on May 25th.The anticipated response following the game in Ballybofey on Sunday last did not materialise in Pairc Esler and instead the county’s followers are left with more questions than answers. In some ways it is tricky to judge today’s game by comparing the teams as in truth neither side looked in any way impressive in what was a scrappy, error-strewn affair. The blustery conditions led to both teams over and under hitting passes and you wouldn’t have guessed that these sides contested the provincial championship showpiece less than two years ago. Down looked dangerous early on and scythed through Donegal’s unusually porous central channel for some easy scores. They had a few half-goal chances in the opening exchanges and when Niall Madine finally did register a major, it would prove to be the game’s crucial score as they never relinquished the lead it gave them. The main problem again today was the kick-out and it really is becoming a serious worry as we look ahead to Championship 2014. Again Donegal tried to create a large gap for their midfielders with even more emphasis being put on the defenders in creating that space. Corner backs Karl Lacey and Eamonn McGee were instructed to stay tight to the touchline on Paul Durcan’s kickouts – this either meant they were an option for short kick-outs on any occasion they weren’t picked up by their marker or it left the centre of the field largely free for Martin McElhinney and Rory Kavanagh. The problem is that Donegal without Neil Gallagher are severely depleted under their own restarts – and teams know this. Therefore opponents are happy to close off those potential short kick-outs and force Durcan to kick long. We saw it in the first half in particular today and of course we saw it to devastating effect in last year’s Mayo massacre when a far from fit Gallagher was dominated by an inspired Aidan O’Shea.With Down on top in the middle and gaining primary ball, they ran at Donegal with Mark Poland especially causing numerous problems. Poland is one of the classiest footballers in the country and he is very difficult to tackle such is his small stature and low centre of gravity. Leo McLoone at centre back tried to get forward as much as possible in an attempt to drag the Longstone clubman away from his centre-forward station and to limit his effect on the game; it was to no avail however and instead it led to space for Poland and his team mates to exploit and this they did. Frank McGlynn took over marking duties for parts of the second half and did have a bit more success but the conundrum remained largely unsolved.Kevin McKernan and Peter Turley were excellent at midfield, providing power and physicality while the hosts’ defence did well on sharpshooters Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden. In contrast to Donegal’s tactic of a roaming centre back, Down’s Aidan Carr held his position and acted as a screen in front of his full back line, particularly in the second half when the wind-assisted Donegal played a more direct game.Much was made last year of Down referencing the McGuinness template in the Ulster semi-final between the teams at Breffni Park and in particular the defensive aspects of it. On today’s showing it appears that they have now subsumed the entire portfolio with their much-improved attacking play and ability to commit more numbers to breaks a measure of their evolution. In spite of the erratic nature of today’s display, Donegal could easily have won the game such was the amount of chances wasted both before and after the short whistle – they recorded twelve wides in all. Corner forward McFadden was guilty of two poor misses from frees and his style of getting height on the ball is a risky one when the breeze is as strong as it was today; on both occasions the wind carried the ball to the right and wide on his own side, the cardinal sin for a free taker.McLoone had a bit more freedom after the break and was one of the few Donegal players who could be satisfied with their performance. He notched one wonderful point when he showed great intelligence by opting to flick the ball past an on-rushing Mourne defender instead of trying to gain possession immediately and being swallowed up in the tackle – he collected the ball on the other side and stroked over.That had come after a fine score by Martin McElhinney as Donegal started the second half with much more intent and purpose in their play. McElhinney was excellent throughout and bar one bad miss in front of the posts he performed admirably for his side throughout. With the current problems the team is experiencing around the middle third it would be no surprise to see Gallagher return alongside the current midfield pairing as opposed to replacing one of them, with Kavanagh or McElhinney possibly lining out at wing forward.The cavalry arrived in the form of Gallagher, Patrick McBrearty and David Walsh but even they couldn’t change the direction of the game and McCartan’s charges saw it out with two points to spare.It certainly isn’t a time for panic in the ranks or anything of that nature but there needs to be signs of improvement in the remaining two league games to show that the solutions to the problems that have arisen in the past week are working. It may well be three games with promotion chances and a subsequent divisional final spot still looking likely; bottom side Louth the next visitors to the North West. It is ironic though that it was this very same weekend last year, on St Patrick’s weekend, where the first cracks began to emerge. On the Saturday night in Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork, Donegal’s second half performance was light years away from the heights they had reached the previous summer. A week later we saw a similar show in Castlebar with Mayo deserving winners following another poor exhibition from the men in green and gold. The next few weeks will go a long way in telling us what 2014 holds in store. CATHAL MacSUIBNE’S DONEGAL GAA BLOG: DONEGAL BELOW PAR AGAINST DOWN was last modified: March 16th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:CATHAL MAC SUIBHNE’S DONEGAL GAA BLOGdonegaldoneglaDownNewrylast_img read more

Canadian groups tell gold company to stop harassing Costa Ricans

first_imgNo related posts. Seven Canadian environmental and human rights groupssent a strongly worded letter Tuesday to Infinito Gold mining company CEO John Morgan demanding he end the company’s “decade-long harassment of the people and the government of Costa Rica.”MiningWatch Canada, Sierra Club Canada, Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine and four other groups asked Infinito Gold to withdraw an April 4 threat to sue Costa Rica for $1 billion over its loss of a mining concession at Las Crucitas, an open-pit mine site near the Nicaraguan border, a press release stated on Tuesday.“Infinito Gold has tried to portray itself as the victim of a capricious court system. In reality, the Calgary-based company has tried to strong-arm Costa Rica’s judiciary into overturning two Supreme Court rulings (2010 and 2011) that upheld the country’s ban on open-pit mining. The courts told the Canadian company it could not develop the Crucitas mine, and told Infinito to pack up and go,” a statement issued by MiningWatch Canada said.On April 4, Infinito Gold sent a letter to Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González demanding the government “allow local franchise Industrias Infinito SA (IISA) to resume full operations of the Crucitas mine located in San Carlos, Alajuela, which was closed after the approval of an amendment to [the country’s] Mining Law that banned open-pit mining in the country.” IISA’s spokeswoman Yokebec Soto said at an early April press conference that the company “believed the investment was guaranteed, because our company was invited to the country to develop the mine.”The Canadian company already has invested $92 million in the project, and it claims to have lost $1 billion in potential profit, Soto said.The company said it would file a $1 billion lawsuit for breach of the Costa Rica-Canada Free Trade Agreement, as outlined in protocols of the Bilateral Investment Treaty, approved by both countries.On Jan. 30, 2011, the Costa Rican Supreme Court’s Civil and Administrative Law Branch annulled the mining concession and upheld a ban on open-pit mining, approved after an amendment to the country’s Mining Code was adopted in 2010.“Instead of leaving, the company ratcheted-up a campaign of intimidation, attempting to censor a University of Costa Rica course focused on the mining project and launching defamation suits against two professors and three other Costa Ricans who have spoken out publicly about the potential impact that this mining activity could have on a fragile environment,” the MiningWatch Canada statement said.The group also claimed that in 2012, Costa Rica asked the Canadian government to “provide information about an alleged US$200,000 donation to then-President Oscar Arias’ Arias Foundation in 2008, coming from Canada, and made just days before Arias decreed that the Crucitas mine was to be considered ‘in the national interest.’” “Canada’s Department of Justice responded to this request in early February of this year, but has refused to comment on the information provided. The Costa Rican government suddenly announced last week that the long-time head of the Arias Foundation had been named as its Ambassador to Argentina,” the statement added.MiningWatch Canada spokesman Jamie Kneen said the company’s actions have “seriously damaged Canada’s reputation in Costa Rica, a country that is a favorite destination for Canadian eco-tourists.”“Today’s letter calls on Infinito Gold to drop all legal actions against Costa Rica and its citizens and to leave the country. It also calls on the Canadian government to immediately divulge what it knows about the questionable payment made to the Arias Foundation in 2008,” Kneen said.Tico Times editor David Boddiger contributed to this report. Facebook Commentslast_img read more