Category Archives: Sports

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 14. On Cricket

England won the Second Test yesterday at Trent Bridge, beating to the world’s best test playing side, India by 319 runs.

What? I hear you shout. Why is James babbling on about a game none of us neither like nor understand? The answer is very simple. I inherited a lot of things from my father (good looks notwithstanding), including my support for Manchester United and a working knowledge of the ins and outs of cricket.

It’s a field game in which the side that’s in avoids getting out. The side that’s out wants in. Oh and they take tea. A lot.

 

 

Twitter Ye Not: Ryder Cup 2010

Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomery and Corey Pavin have slapped a Twitter and Facebook ban on their teams during this year’s tournament at Celtic Manor, Wales. This is a preventative measure on both parts, designed to stop the leaking of information to media and fans alike.

The ban will also stop players from posting embarrassing updates and status reports. Last month, English cricket international Kevin Pietersen embarrassed himself and his selectors by complaining about his non-selection for the one-day series against Pakistan via Twitter. Nice one, Kev!

If Twitter is banned for the Ryder Cup, we would miss out on some Tweet gems such as:

“Tiger missed out on a hole-in-one but finished with a 69. Some guys get all the luck.” Luke Donald.

“Haha! Sleeping in can pay dividends!” Jim Furyk

“Hey Colin! Who ate all the pies?” Corey Pavin

“Fuck off, Pavin! Call me Mrs Doubtfire again and I’ll cut you a new one.” Colin (Mrs Doubtfire) Montgomery

“Should’ve gone to Specsavers instead.” Padraig Harrington

“BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SOB!” Sergio Garcia

“Keep your fucking hands away from my wife, Woods.” Lee Westwood.

“I wouldn’t touch her with yours, Lee.” Tiger Woods.

“We’ll win by 18 points to 12.” Ian Poulter.

“It’s a 28 point tournament, you Muppet.” Ross Fisher.

“At last, England loves a German.” Martin Kaymer.

“No we don’t. You’re only here because you won the USPGA, you Kraut!” Miguel Angel Jiminez.

“Is the bar open yet?” Graham McDowell.

Rebel Yell: Cork Take Home Sam.

Man of the Match, Daniel Goulding (Cork) has a ball. Image c/o RTE.ie

In a pulsating match, in front of a packed-out Croke Park, Cork became the All-Ireland Senior Football Champions for 2010. They beat a dogged and determined Down team by a single point. The final score was Cork 0-16, Down 0-15.

Cork could and perhaps should have been up a goal in the first minute but Down goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh had to produce a brilliant save to deny Ciaran Sheehan. This lost chance had an unsettling effect on the Cork team and they scored just two points from play in the entire first half.

Down took advantage of a misfiring Cork side and played with purpose and style, with Mark Poland and Martin Clarke providing the clever passes and inside duo John Clarke and Paul McComiskey the finishing power. Down went into the second half leading by 0-8 to 0-5.

Cork’s main man, Graham Canty – their injured captain – was withdrawn from the starting 15 due to a hamstring scare, but came on in the second half and immediately brought the lack-lustre Leesiders to life. Alongside another seasoned campaigner, Nicholas Murphy, Canty guided Cork into their best spell of the game, and with man of the match Daniel Goulding scoring nine points (including four frees and three 45s), Cork took the lead for the second time in the 56th minute – and never let it slip.

Down refused to give up, and late scores from Benny Coulter and Hughes narrowed the gap to a single point, but Cork held on to win the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time since 1990, much to the jubilation of their travelling supporters.

So Cork, very much the nearly men of the last few seasons, made up for last year’s loss to Kerry with a second-half performance that put paid to their critics. The Mourne Men will rue their defeat over the next few days but they can hold their heads up high. They played the best football over the whole season and there can be no doubt that their day will come again.

Cork: A Quirke, E Cadogan, M Shields, R Carey, J Miskella, N O’Leary, P Kissane,A O’Connor, A Walsh, C Sheehan (0-1), P O’Neill, P Kelly, D Goulding (0-9, 4f, 3 ’45), D O’Connor (0-5, 2f), P Kerrigan (0-1).
Subs: N Murphy for A O’Connor, G Canty for Kissane, C O’Neill for P O’Neill, J Hayes for Kerrigan

Down: B McVeigh, D McCartan, D Gordon, D Rafferty, D Rooney, K McKernan (0-1), C Garvey, P Fitzpatrick (0-1), K King, D Hughes (0-3), M Poland (0-1), B Coulter (0-1), P McComiskey (0-3), J Clarke (0-1), M Clarke (0-3, 3f).
Subs: C Maginn for J Clarke, R Murtagh (0-1) for McComiskey, B McArdle for Rafferty, C Laverty for Poland

Additional reporting from RTE.ie

Nadal Slams Djokovic!

Rafa wins US Open Title at Flushing Meadows, NY

Last night World No.1 Rafael Nadal became the seventh man to complete a career Grand Slam, and the youngest to accomplish the feat in the Open Era, when he defeated World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the US Open Final at Flushing Meadows. Nadal, the reigning Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion, became the first player to win three straight Grand Slam tournaments in the same season since Rod Laver won all four in 1969.

Nadal joins a list of tennis legends who have accomplished a career Grand Slam: Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.

Laver, Agassi, Federer and Nadal’s triumphs come in the Open Era, which began in 1968 when the Grand Slam tournaments allowed professional players to compete.

If Nadal wins in Melbourne next January, he will become the first player since Laver to hold all Slam titles at the same time. With the kind of form he’s showing at the moment, coupled with the fact that the Fed Express is on the decline, who’s going to bet against that happening?

Republic of Ireland 3, Andorra 1

Image courtesy of RTE

It has been at least twenty years since I’ve been to a soccer game. I’ve attended GAA games in Croke Park, Major League Baseball in Dallas, but not a soccer game. I’ve become lazy in this world of wall-to-wall televised sports. I’ll watch anything with a ball in it, my mother says, even cricket.

I love cricket!

The Aviva Stadium at night. I took this photo.

So it was with a huge degree of excitement and optimism that the Good Lady and I got tickets to see the Republic of Ireland team take on the minnows of Andorra in the first competitive match at the new Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road.

And what a marvellous new stadium it is, too. Every seat is afforded a perfect view of the pitch. The open-plan roof provides cover from the elements; but the rain decided to give itself the night off – thank God.

As for the game, it was very enjoyable; fast-paced, with plenty of goal mouth action. Ireland scored three goals, courtesy of Kevins Kilbane and Doyle and skipper Robbie Keane. The downside was the Andorra goal in the dying moments of the first half. But you can’t have everything.

Ray and me.There was the added bonus of a fan photo with the legendary ex-Liverpool, Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland midfielder Ray Houghton. He put the ball in the net against England in Stuttgart in 1988 (our first ever victory over the traditional enemy) and against Italy in USA 1994. Ray happily posed for photos before heading off to his media duties.

Results on the night see Ireland top Group B with Slovakia (who beat Russia, the top seeds in the group, 1-0). Armenia and Macedonia played out a 2-2 draw. Already I’m looking forward to our next home game, against the Russians on 8 October.

Tipperary v Kilkenny: The 2010 All-Ireland Hurling Final By Numbers

81,765 – the attendance at Croke Park for the final. A few seats short of a full house.

8 – points margin by which Tipperary beat Kilkenny. Tipp scored 4 goals and 17 points (29), Kilkenny scored one goal and 18 points (21).

Tipperary Hurling Crest

21 – the number of games Kilkenny played unbeaten in the All-Ireland series.

5 – in-a-row: what Kilkenny were aiming for; an unprecedented number of titles, never before achieved.

9 – the number of years since Tipperary won their last All-Ireland title (2001 against Galway).

Kilkenny Hurling Crest

58 – the number of All-Ireland titles shared by Tipperary (26) and Kilkenny (32).

40 – the amount of money (in euro) my boss had on Lar Corbett to score the first goal at odds of 13/2. Corbett duly obliged.

3 – the number of goals Corbett scored in today’s final.

12 – the number of minutes Henry Sheflin (Kilkenny) lasted on the field before coming off injured.

13 – the number of bar staff working today in Meagher’s for the final. (Yours truly was one of them.)

8 – months before it starts all over again.

Armenia v Republic of Ireland

The Boys in Green are on their way. The road to qualification for Euro 2012 has begun in the best possible way – with a 1-o victory away to Armenia.

Conditions weren’t ideal. The heat was intense in the Yerevan Republican Stadium but Birmingham City midfielder Keith Fahey came off the bench to smash the call past Roman Berezovsky to snatch victory.

Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland's Keith Fahey

No-one will have been more delighted than captain Keane, who passed up a glorious early chance, had a goal ruled out for offside and then hit the post on a night when things did not go for him in the final third.

However, there was as much relief as pleasure as he and his team-mates left the pitch having been put to the test by their hosts.

Keane wasn’t at his best, it must be said. He missed chances he would have buried on any other day. Once again he’s unsettled at his current club, Tottenham Hotspur. The all-time leading scorer for the Irish team finds that he has to fight for his place in the starting XI. The transfer deadline has come and gone and now Keane has to knuckle down and hope Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, finds it in his heart to include Keane in his team.

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

Another Irish player who’s at odds with his club, Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given, had little work to do during the game. Armenia gave as good as they got and although Given had few saves to make which genuinely taxed him, the home side were quick, direct and technically gifted and were certainly no push-over.

No doubt “Il Trap” – Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni – will be very happy with the result, though. His side head into Tuesday’s home game in Dublin against the minnows of Group B, Andorra, knowing a perfect start would set the up very nicely for what lies ahead.