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Mary Hannigan: Drama has been the theme of Novak Djokovic’s career

Karen Duggan writes about the financial struggles faced by professionals in women’s soccer; and Stephen Kenny readies his troops

Novak Djokovic is currently on duty at the French Open where he is aiming for a record 23rd Grand Slam, so is he keeping his focus on tennis and avoiding any potential off-court controversies? Don’t be silly. “Drama-free grand slam? I don’t think it can happen for me,” as he put it himself.

Johnny Watterson takes a look at the latest spot of bother the Serb finds himself in after he inserted himself into Balkan tensions by writing “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” on the camera after his first round victory in Paris. “Driven by drama – it has been the theme of his career,” Johnny writes.

Limerick folk might regard Joe Canning as the Djokovic of hurling punditry after he suggested on the Sunday Game that all the crucial refereeing calls went their way in their one-point win over Cork last weekend. He got no end of stick for his analysis, but, he writes, “it was a water off a duck’s back to me”.

And Seán Moran talks to Wexford county chairman Micheál Martin about his unhappiness with the GAA’s revised model for development funding, describing it as a “one size fits all” approach, Wexford’s representations to Croke Park on behalf of their hurling plan falling on deaf ears.


Women’s soccer could do with some development funding itself, former international Karen Duggan writing about the financial struggles faced by most players, even at professional level. “A starting salary for primary school teaching is €8,000 more than an initial one-season-pro-contract in the UK or Europe,” she tells us.

Also in soccer, Gavin Cummiskey talks us through the squad Stephen Kenny has picked for the pivotal European Championship qualifier against Greece on June 16th.

Bill Corcoran, meanwhile, brings us the story of Grace Doyle, a veteran of Ireland’s national surfing team, who has been helping the efforts of Mozambican town Tofo to turn itself into a surfing destination and, in turn, uplift the local community economically.

Back home, Ian O’Riordan took himself over to the newly refurbished Morton Stadium which is now ready for action and will host the National Championships at the end of July.

And in horse racing, Brian O’Connor looks ahead to Derby day at Epsom tomorrow, telling us about the unfortunate fate of the 2000 winner Serpentine. His triumph “didn’t spare him getting the unkindest cut of all” – he became the first Derby winner in more than 100 years to be gelded. Some reward, that.

Telly watch: Friday’s menu is overflowing. There’s day two of the test between England and Ireland at Lord’s (Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am, BBC2 will have highlights at 7.0), day one proving to be a mismatch, there’s round two of The Memorial Tournament (Sky Sports Golf, 5.0-11.0) and the third leg of the Diamond League athletics series (BBC Three, 7.0-9.0). If that’s not enough for you, TG4 has the Munster minor football final between Cork and Kerry (throw-in 7.30) and RTÉ2 has the Premier Division meeting of Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk (kick-off 7.45).