Dublin, Sir Alex and Heffernan do us a turn

Jim Gavin led Dublin to All Ireland glory in 2013
Surprise, surprise, Inside Track’s glimpse into the crystal ball at the beginning of last year found a few gems. The brightest came under the Gaelic Football heading.

Surprise, surprise, Inside Track’s glimpse into the crystal ball at the beginning of last year found a few gems. The brightest came under the Gaelic Football heading.

“Louth senior footballers, looking resplendent in their new jerseys, to stay in Division Two, giving Aidan O’Rourke a huge confidence-boost. After that there’s the championship, which the new man in charge is targeting. A bridge too far, perhaps.”

And, at national level...

“Donegal to lose their All-Ireland crown – to a Dublin team rejuvenated by Jim Gavin.”

It went a wee bit wobbly after that...

“Pat’s to make it three-in-a-row (in the Louth Senior Championship) – and, hopefully, the game becoming more attractive through the introduction of some of the Football Review Committee’s proposals.”

Then there was this (which still stands, by the way)...

“Skill is being sacrificed, overpowered by super-fitness. We shouldn’t forget it is still, largely, a game played by amateurs, people who work for a living, if they have work to go to, and then go along to train.”

The soccer piece was okay as well...

“New Dundalk manager, Stephen Kenny, appears to be so far making the right moves. He’s been around a bit and knows what’s required. Keeping his students in the highest echelon will count as a winner, and is an attainable goal.”

And across the water...?

“Sir Alex to reign supreme again – at least on home soil. Victory on the continent too much to expect, especially with Barca’s Lionel in the form of his life. Having recently celebrated his 71st, the knighted one to pack it in before the start of 2014. Should that happen, a long range Inside Track forecast, Martin O’Neill to become his successor, will flounder.”

Athletics gave us another winner...

“Fionnuala Britton is in form and should go well (at the World Championships), but it might be that Rob Heffernan walks all over them.”

Robert Kearney, never one to let this page down, was the subject of what we could call a ‘safe’ rugby prediction...

“R Kearney to rekindle memories of (Lions Tour to) South Africa 2009. He’s now older, wiser, and maybe even better under the high ball. Nor has he lost any of his bravery. If Warren Gatland doesn’t include the Cooley lad in the squad (for the 2013 Tour), it can only be for fitness seasons.”

Racing tips wouldn’t have won us any money, but neither would they have cost us...

“Tidal Bay to win the World Hurdle (at Cheltenham).” He didn’t run.

Then there was: “Frankie Dettori, while not in the same league as Lance Armstrong, dirtied his copybook last year and stands suspended until the summer. We should see him in a more subdued mood, regardless of how many big winners he rides, and he is unlikely to do any flying dismounts.”

He rode no big winners on his return, and if he did celebrate finishing first in his usual flamboyant style, there was no-one there to take a photo of it.

Hurling wasn’t so good. Clare didn’t get a mention for All-Ireland honours, just the usual suspects...

“If Kilkenny keep on winning, people will lose interest....Assuming they’ve learnt from last year, and, also, put a muzzle on Joe (Canning) while not curbing his skill, Galway to go one step further.”

The young ‘uns you were asked to keep an eye on – Amy Broadhurst, athletes Nijel Amos and Marcus Lawler, and hurler Walter Walsh, among them - are still young, and can be expected to blossom.