Tag Archives: sport

On This Day…5 October

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Ryder Cup has come back to Europe, and on the morning after the night before, I wish Colin Montgomery’s team of twelve good men and true a happy hangover.

In all fairness the tournament could have gone either way. Tiger Woods showed why he is still the number one golfer in the world; 21-year-old rookie, Ricky Fowler’s last gasp half against Eduardo Molinari put pressure on reigning US Open Champion, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, needing a win in the last match against Hunter Mahan to regain the trophy Europe lost to the United States in 2008. And win he did. Europe beat the U.S. by 14.5 points to 13.5.

Sorry…this is supposed to be an On This Day post. Pardon my exuberance, my friends. GO TEAM EUROPE!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin with events on this day in…

1143 – The king Alfonso VII of Leon recognises Portugal as a Kingdom. The Portuguese think it’s about bloody time he found his glasses.

1789 – French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.

1864 – The Indian city of Calcutta is almost totally destroyed by a cyclone; 60,000 die.

Rather him than me. (Image: wright-brothers.org)

1903 – Sir Samuel Griffith is appointed the first Chief Justice of Australia and Sir Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor are appointed as foundation justices.

1905 – Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.

1945 – Hollywood Black Friday: A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios.

1962 – Dr. No, the first in the James Bond film series, was released.

And now for something completely different...

1968 – Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland – considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles. It is called the Battle of the Bogside.

1969 – The first episode of the famous comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.

1974 – Guildford pub bombings: bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) kill four British soldiers and one civilian.

2000 – Mass demonstrations in Belgrade lead to resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević. These demonstrations are often called the Bulldozer Revolution.

Happy birthday to:

Steve Miller, of the Steve Miller Band, is 67.

(Sir) Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rat and Live Aid organizer, is 59.

The gorgeous Kate Winslet (Image: enjoyfrance.com)

Guy Pearce, former Neighbours actor who also starred in LA Confidential and Memento, is 43.

Kate Winslet, Oscar-winning actress for The Reader and star of Titanic, is 35.

Paris Hilton, the heiress of uselessness, is 27. That’s probably her IQ, as well…but don’t quote me.

Nicola Roberts, English singer with Girls Aloud, is 25. (She’s the ginger one on the far right.)

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.

DCI Banks: A New ‘Tec On The Block.

Stephen Tompkinson plays DCI Alan Banks. (Image: onenationmagazine.com)

It’s another new season on TV. The summer detritus has blown away like gas from a fibre diet. With the exception of Sherlock, there was nothing on TV worth investing valuable time. Even the World Cup wasn’t all it should have been.

So what is there to look forward to, now that the autumn schedule is almost in full swing? For sci-fi geeks like me, the return of Fringe and Stargate Universe has pride of place. For more down-to-earth entertainment, crime fans, like me, have two new series to look forward to. Mark Billingham’s creation Tom Thorne comes to Sky next month. I’m especially looking forward to this because I’ve read all of Billingham’s novels, and the casting of David Morrissey (he of The Next Doctor) is inspired.

Image: inspectorbanks.com

Stephen Tompkinson plays DCI Alan Banks in a new two-part story for ITV called Aftermath. It’s based on the twelfth book of author Peter Robinson’s series featuring Banks. I’ve read the first book only, so I’m not familiar with him as I would be with Thorne. But it’s a solid enough start. Banks, like most TV detectives nowadays, comes with his own quirks and demons. He’s a divorced father of two (his ex-wife is pregnant by her new husband), he’s a devoted fan of Jazz music, and he sees his victims watching him as he searches for justice.

This is a twisted story, with enough going on to make come back and watch the second part next Monday. Tompkinson is a good actor; he has that drawn and haunted look that served him well when he played a conflicted Catholic parish priest in Ballykissangel. Provided it gets good reviews and the network are satisfied with the finished product, I can see DCI Banks becoming a regular fixture on our schedules.

To be honest, though, ever since John Thaw and Inspector Morse solved their final case and retired to the Great Police Station Up In The Sky, there has been a dearth of quality TV detective shows. I’m hoping that Banks and Thorne can address this.

On This Day…27 September

Monday, 27 October 2010

Happy Monday, friends, readers and fellow bloggers. Before I head into matters in hand, I wish to congratulate the Dublin Ladies GAA Football team in winning the All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship. The Jackies gave Tyrone a right trouncing in Croke Park. Well done, girls.

So, this week we begin with events on this day in…

1540 – The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) receives its charter from Pope Paul III.

1590 – Keeping with things papal, Pope Urban VII dies 13 days after being chosen as the Pope, making his reign the shortest papacy in history. He plainly didn’t fancy the job.

1777 – Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the capital of the United States, for one day. It plainly didn’t fancy the job, either.

It's self-explanatory, really. (Image: posterx.net)

1821 – Mexico gains its independence from Spain.

1854 – The steamship SS Arctic sinks with 300 people on board. This marks the first great disaster in the Atlantic Ocean.

1905 – The physics journal Annalen der Physik published Albert Einstein’s paper “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?”, introducing the equation E=mc². Decades later, the rock group Big Audio Dynamite attempted to explain it by song. The tune was good; the explanation rubbish. (It’s actually a homage to the films of director Nicolas Roeg.)

1928 – The Republic of China is recognised by the United States.

1964 – The Warren Commission releases its report, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Oliver Stone begs to differ.

1995 – The Government of the United States unveils the first of its redesigned bank notes with the $100 bill featuring a larger portrait of Benjamin Franklin slightly off-centre.

1998 – Google is founded. YAHOO!!

Birthdays today include:

Bill O’Herlihy, RTE sports presenter, is 72. The boys of Apres Match do a great impression of him.

Meat Loaf is an edible 63.

Brian Mullins, for Dublin GAA football star is 56.

Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, is 52.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-winning (WTF?) actress, is 38.

Pint-sized rock-chick, Avril Lavigne, is 26.

Euro 2012 – Come On, Ye Boys in Green!

The Official Logo for Euro 2012

The last time the Republic of Ireland’s soccer team kicked a ball in anger during a competitive fixture (as opposed to a ‘friendly’, that is), it was that tragic night in Paris last November, when Thierry Henry’s illegal handball gifted France a 1-1 draw, thus denying Ireland a place in this year’s FIFA World Cup.

France’s resulting failure in that tournament went a long way to salving Irish wounds.

But now it’s time to do it all over again. Euro 2012 is hosted by Ukraine and Poland. 51 teams have been drawn into nine groups: six groups of six countries, three groups of five. The team that finishes top of their group qualifies for the finals automatically. The highest placed runner-up also qualifies. The rest of the second-placed teams (eight altogether) go into a home and away play-off draw, with the resulting winners qualifying for the tournament. Poland and Ukraine qualify as host countries.

In total, 16 countries will play in the finals themselves.

The Republic of Ireland team have been drawn in Group B; alongside Russia, Slovakia, Andorra, Armenia and FYR Macedonia.

These are the fixtures: (A = away game, H = home game at Lansdowne Road)

Armenia (A) Friday, 3 September, 2010

Andorra (H) Tuesday, 7 September, 2010

Russia (H) Friday, 8 October, 2010

Slovakia (A) Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

Macedonia (H) Saturday, 26 March, 2011

Macedonia (A) Saturday, 4 June, 2011

Slovakia (H) Friday, 2 September, 2011

Russia (A), Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

Andorra (A) Friday, 7 October, 2011

Armenia (H) Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

The blond in the middle is the captain, Robbie Keane.

It’s Just Not Cricket!

Have you ever watched a sports event and wondered if what’s happening on the pitch or field is all down to the players and elements of chance?

Have you ever thought that someone down there knows more than they should or has an unfair advantage over their opponents?

Another question to ponder: Is the sportsman/woman in it for the glory of their team or are there more sinister motives abound.

Cheating occurs in all falls of life; in relationships, in work, at home, and in sport. There is money to be made if you play professional sport – loads of money. Just ask Tiger Woods, Brett Favre and any Barclays Premier League footballer.

But what if you decide that you can earn more money by fixing a result or manipulating events on the field? I’m not just talking about doping; I’m saying that businessmen all over the world, particularly in the Far East, use middlemen to approach sports stars, tempting them with vast sums of money if they influence a game.

The British Sunday tabloid, News of the World, is an expert in setting up such stars. You could call it entrapment, but it highlights the greed of some of the world’s biggest stars. Former world snooker champion John Higgins is suspended indefinitely from the sport because he stands accused of “throwing” frames during a tournament.

Yesterday, the tabloid released a video of one such middleman accepting a substantial sum of money, saying he could guarantee when a “no ball” would be delivered during the Fourth Test between England and Pakistan. Events, innocuous in and of themselves, occurred as planned, thereby highlighting the case that if small things like that could be fixed, the overall match result could be in doubt.

The man was arrested (he is currently on bail); England won the game and the series; but the result is tarnished.

This game – any game – becomes pointless to watch if players fall foul to betting scandals and match-fixing allegations. Cricket has been “knocked for six”.

On This Day…26 August

It’s nearly the weekend again, people. I hope you’re all geared up for it. I’ll be bringing my umbrella…and nothing else. So what happened on this day in history. Let me tell you that in…

1858 – First news dispatch by telegraph. It read: “Don’t forget milk. Oh and cookies. Cookies would be nice.”

1883 – The eruption of Krakatoa begins its final, paroxysmal, stage. Movie producers forget their west from their east.

It's actually WEST of Java

1939 – The first Major League Baseball game is telecast, a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn, New York. Who won, does anybody know? I have a bet going on.

1978 – Papal conclave, 1978 (August): Pope John Paul I is elected to the Papacy. He doesn’t last too long, though; 33 days, in fact. His death became a conspiracy theorist’s dream.

Born on this day were:

Chris Pine, the new Captain James T. Kirk, is 40. Beware of Klingons, Chris.

He shares his birthday and age with Home Alone star, Macaulay Culkin.

However, on this day in 1980, the world lost a legend: the cartoonist Tex Avery.  Take it away, Tex.