Ian Madigan must have had the most public break up with a club in rugby's professional era. The Leinster man's French exile is finally over with confirmation that he'll be linking up with the new Bristol boss Pat Lam next season.
After publicly expressing discontent with how Bordeaux was being run, and losing his place to 23-year-old Simon Hickey, the club president granted the Leinster man an early release from his two-year contract and he's nailed down his future now. Ireland international outhalf Madigan has signed a three-year deal believed to be worth over €1.5 million. Like the beer, it seems it was worth waiting for!
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) March 6, 2017
The summer signs aren't great if you are a Cork GAA fan. Kieran Kingstons senior hurlers allowed Kilkenny register their first win of the Allianz league in Nowlan Park where the Cats beat the Rebels by 22 points to 15. And what years ago would have been considered a shock result was registered in Ennis, where the Banner senior footballers came out 2-11 to 0-9 winners over Cork. It's a measure of how far Colm Collins has brought the Clare squad that the result didn't create too many shockwaves outside of Leeside. With performances on the pitch lacking, at least the Leesiders can take pride from the spanking new Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Now if only the performances on the field could match!
Slaughtneil savour Croker win
Amidst today's world of professional sport where business principles as opposed to sporting principles tend to win out, it was refreshing to see the camogie ladies of Slaughtneil celebrate their All Ireland win at GAA HQ.
A record attendance witnessed an Ulster team win the All-Ireland Camogie Senior Club Championship for only the second time as Slaughtneil of Derry beat Sarsfields of Galway 1-10 to 0-11 points
It is a first success for a Derry side but just further torment for Galway, as it represented a fifth consecutive final defeat for the county’s representatives. An aggregate of 6,123 came through the Croke Park turnstiles, and for the finals to attract a highest attendance ever bore testimony to an increasing appeal. Slaughtneil’s presence undoubtedly had a lot to do with that, the club having secured an historic three-timer at senior level in Ulster, while the mens football team also in an All-Ireland final on St Patrick’s Day.
This was had extra resonance though, as joint manager Thomas Cassidy had passed away just before the drawn Ulster final, having been the leading light in the development of camogie and hurling in the club. It was Cassidy who enticed Antrim legend Dominic McKinley to join him and Damian McEldowney and the latter duo steered the ship magnificently through an emotionally testing period. Cassidy’s three daughters Aoife, Brona and Eilís played two days after burying their father and were magnificent on the biggest stage of all. As captain, Aoife had the honour of lifting the Bill & Agnes Carroll Cup before delivering a memorable speech entirely as Gaeilge in what was probably the ultimate tribute to her father, who fostered a love of the native tongue and culture in all his children. The beauty of sport. You won't find anywhere to register all that on a spreadsheet. Chomhgardeachas to all involved.