Hip­ster All-Stars just pun­dits show­ing off

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - COMMENT - BACKPAGE@IN­DE­PEN­DENT.IE

DE­LIV­ER­ING the oblig­a­tory an­nual snub to Stephen Clux­ton isn’t even the daftest thing the All-Star foot­ball se­lec­tors did. There are al­ways dis­agree­ments about the choices made, that’s half the point of the thing. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a se­lec­tion which is quite so self-ad­mir­ing and ea­ger to draw at­ten­tion to it­self.

Take the plac­ing of Colm Ca­vanagh at full-back for ex­am­ple. There is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing to man the edge of the square and mark a full-for­ward and merely stand­ing in front of it to cut out long balls. Why not re­ward some­one who ac­tu­ally played in the full­back line? Ca­vanagh should have been se­lected at mid­field and Brian Howard in the half-for­ward line.

But the ul­ti­mate proof that this is the Hip­ster All-Stars was the se­lec­tion of Ian Burke ahead of Shane Walsh and Damien Comer. There’s noth­ing the self-im­por­tant pun­dit likes more than bang­ing on about the ‘un­seen work’ done by play­ers. Burke laid off some very nice stuff dur­ing the year, but pre­tend­ing he had any­thing like the im­pact of Comer and Walsh is just show­ing off.

XAN­DER SCHAUF­FELE’S vic­tory in the WGC Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment com­pletes a stun­ning sea­son for Amer­i­can golf. The Yanks won three out of the four Ma­jors, all four WGC events, all four FedEx Cup play-off events and the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship. The sole re­sis­tance came from Bri­tish Open win­ner Francesco Moli­nari and over­all FedEx Cup cham­pion Justin Rose.

The al­most to­tal Amer­i­can dom­i­nance in Shang­hai, where they filled seven of the top 11 places, un­der­lines what a hol­low sham Europe’s Ry­der Cup vic­tory was. In the af­ter­math of the win there was much non­sense about how it proved the Euro­peans pos­sessed some kind of qual­ity the Amer­i­cans lacked.

But all Europe really had was an abil­ity to de­liver in a mean­ing­less com­pe­ti­tion. When it really mat­tered, the Amer­i­cans kicked our ass this year. Not for the first time the Ry­der Cup was noth­ing more than a con­so­la­tion prize.

AUS­TRALIA’S Winx is a na­tional icon in a way no other race­horse can match. Last week the seven year old mare bur­nished her leg­end by be­com­ing the first horse ever to win the Cox Plate, Aus­tralia’s most pres­ti­gious race af­ter the Mel­bourne Cup, four times in a row.

Winx’s record now stands at an as­tound­ing 29 wins from 29 races, 22 of which have been Group Ones. So it’s no won­der that the Aussies are sen­si­tive about any slights casts on Winx’s achieve­ment. Her trainer Chris Waller de­scribed Bri­tish TV pre­sen­ter Matt Chap­man as “a bit of a dick­head” for sug­gest­ing Winx’s op­po­si­tion has been, “fairly mod­er­ate.” That’s why we won’t men­tion that the Cox Plate run­ner-up Ben­batl, who fin­ished just two lengths be­hind Winx, came fifth in the Jud­dmonte In­ter­na­tional and tenth in the Queen Anne Stakes in her last ap­pear­ances on these shores.

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