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FIFA craziness (as usual) June 16, 2010

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I had to laugh at this typical FIFA related story – it seems the powers that be will stop at nothing when it comes to protecting perceived sponsorship violations !

I speak of course, of this crazy story, where several dozen orange clad Dutch supporters beauties (see below) were questioned by FIFA in a case of apparent ambush marketing from beer company Bavaria.  The terrible display of national pride – because the Netherlands play in  … wait for it … orange – happened during this week’s World Cup game between the Netherlands and Denmark (2-0).

So even though there were no logos, no slogans or flags or anything – just orange clad women – FIFA took umbrage upon hearing that Bavaria had sponsored the women to go and cheer at the match and promptly started an investigation !

These idiots are ruining football – between that and meddling with the bloody footballs … so far this World Cup has been pretty much crap.

PS : Drink BAVARIA BEER –  for that cool refreshing taste – while watching the World Cup !

For Park Ji-Sung June 12, 2010

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For Park Ji-Sung who just scored to give South Korea a 2-0 win over a woeful Greece side …

(Tune: Lord of the Dance)

Park, Park, wherever you may be,
They eat dogs in your coun-terr-ee
Could be worse, you could be a Scouse,
… Eating rats in a council house …

Free kick of the Decade ! May 21, 2010

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Paul McShane to captain Ireland May 18, 2010

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Paul McShane will captain Ireland in tonight’s training game with the Under-23 side …

Not a big fan of McShanes at all … but Sig. Trappatoni (arguably) has a better footballing brain than me !

The game will also be interesting because Shane Duffy (from Northern Ireland) will be sure to feature at some stage – this player is in the middle of an eligibility row having previously played at under-age level with the North.

Keith Fahey of Birmingham gets a belated chance as well.  between tonight’s game and another training match on Friday (both behind closed doors), we should get a good idea of the strength of our peripheral squad.

The Ireland team is :

Westwood (Coventry); McShane (Hull), Duffy (Everton), O’Dea (Celtic), Cunningham (Manchester City); Lawrence (Stoke), Green (Derby Co), Fahey (Birmingham), Long (Reading); Best (Newcastle Utd), Sheridan (Celtic).

Limerick FC v Barcelona debacle May 17, 2010

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For those of you that don’t know the story with this one – Limerick FC have pulled off a major coup and arranged for the great Barcelona team – complete with Messers Messi (tee hee) and co. to come to Limerick for a football game on July 31st.

The eejits in the FAI have said “Ah hang on now lads – ya can’t be doing that!” and put a sanction on the game, meaning, that at time of writing, it is now not going ahead.  The FAI are tossers.

Their reason for veto-ing the game is that ‘third-party commercial agreements’ (whatever the hell that means) are to blame and that they – the FAI – are also in negotiations with Barcelona to appear at the new Lansdowne Road Aviva stadium around that date.

Tought shit !  Limerick FC got there first and got agreement from Barcelona – the Spaniards didn’t seem to think that they were crossing a line by agreeing to play in Limerick !

I think this disgruntled fan in Limerick sums it all up nicely …

It has nothing to do with the other league games scheduled (none of which involve Limerick FC of course).
I mean is your sanctioned game in the Aviva Stadium against Manchester United a few days later not taking place on the same day that Bohs are playing in the Champions League qualifiers.
Or that 2 days later there is a full set of fixtures featuring Bohs vs Shells, possibly the biggest game in the league season.

It has nothing to do with third parties.
Sure would the GAA not be a third-party that the FAI was more than willing to get into bed with for the last few years.

It is because firstly, due to the fact that the game is being held in an IRFU venue, ye will receive nothing from this.

In other words.
Greed.

Secondly, because the greatest club football team in the world coming to Limerick would take some of the gloss off of the Manchester United game that ye are holding in Dublin a few days later.  It kind of lessens your own achievement, and we can’t be having that now could we.

In other words.
Greed.

And thirdly that ye want Barcelona for yourself, up in Dublin – as in not Limerick – and know that Barcelona are very unlikely to play two full strength friendlies in Ireland.

In other words.
Greed.

I await the outcome of this one with interest … is it any wonder Roy Keane told them all to feck off and walked out of Saipan ?

** UPDATE More on this story here **

England’s 30-man provisional squad May 11, 2010

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England’s 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals. Sure they have it won already !

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Forwards: Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

LPGA player, Erica Blasberg, dead May 11, 2010

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I can’t believe this news – I am an avid follower of the LPGA and news has hit the  web of the untimely death of 25 year old Erica Blasberg.

A more poignant account of the story can be found here, including some reaction from her obviously devastated parents … I just think the whole thing is so sad and I hope that the pressures of the game and life on tour hasn’t gotten to her and she resorted to something terrible.

Goes to show we just never know.  R.I.P.  Skip

Rory McIlroy wins at Quail Hollow May 3, 2010

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Rory McIlroy has come from way down the field to absolutely obliterate the famous Quail Hollow golf course record and win his first PGA Tour event.  He is two days shy of his 21st birthday.  Well done Rory – we are all delighted for you and proud of you.

Several commentators are calling the round of -10 par, the best round they have ever seen and I can only agree with them.  The lad never made a mistake and he was straight down the middle every time – he has such a good demeanour and temperament that he is sure to be the next big star to emerge from these islands.  In the end, he won the tournament by 4 shots.

Runner-up Phil Mickelson and other tops stars like Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk stayed around to congratulate the youngster after their rounds so impressed were they with his performance.

Congratulations Rory !

Crazy finish to basketball game April 30, 2010

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Attack on GAA referee April 27, 2010

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Footage of an attack on a GAA referee has been posted online.

via Footage of attack on GAA referee posted online – Hurling, Sport – Independent.ie

Jaysis, what’s the game coming to ?

I give up ! April 23, 2010

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Five-year-old sinks hole in one – via here … well done !

Makes me feel like giving up the game !  I couldn’t hit sh*t off a turnip on the weekend 😦

What can you say ? April 13, 2010

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The best excuse I have ever heard for not turning up to a very important Under-18 County Hurling Final …

A selector goes to the young player’s door to “collect” him …

Man : Is Johnny ready to go to the match ?
Mother : Ah, he can’t come !
Man : What !  Why ?  He’s our star forward !
Mother : Ah, he’s above in the bed with his girlfriend !

17 years old – G.A.A. legend status assured !

Golf March 30, 2010

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Golf
by the Rambling Man

Now golf is a game of very much pain
its like hitting your head with a stick
you swing and you hit and curse when you miss,
sure the game makes the brightest look thick !

From the tee to the green, and to putts most obscene
we weekly subject all our patience
pushed left or sliced right, tis really a fight
not to lose it for lack of adjacence.

But when you hit a good shot, far more often than not
you lose all your anger in seconds
for theres nothing as cool, as watching men drool
when a birdie or eagle them beckons …

So with a good score secured, surely the worst you’ve endured
but your next shot is barely a scuff
and the lie you’ve just found, on scruffy old ground
makes long grass seem like lawn tis that rough !

So you hack and you whack, and damage your back
and grumble all the way to the green
but the ball it pops out, and leaves you a shout
at a putt like you’ve ne’er before seen.

So when out on the links, if your spirit it sinks
just remember the secret to golf
no matter how badly you play, theres always a way
to walk off the course feeling worse !

What think ye of Tiger ? March 23, 2010

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So, after all his admitted infidelities and sex addiction therapy and apologies and comebacks, what think ye of Tiger Woods – the greatest golfer the planet has ever seen?

Personally speaking, I was so disappointed in him when he cheated on his lovely wife and it was contrary to everything I thought Tiger Woods stood for – heretofore he had been, in my eyes, a model of a man and a sportsman.  I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him a couple of times in my role as a player care marshall at the 2006 Ryder Cup …

So am I glad that Tiger is coming back to golf ?  Hell yeah !  Golf is not as exciting a sport without him and the US Masters at Augusta would not be the same either.  I think the golfing public can forgive him his infidelities – or at least separate them from golf – and he will once again become a crowd favourite.  That’s what I think anyway – he’s too good a golfer not to rise back to the top of his profession.

On the other hand, I hope he has made some ammends with his wife. I am not sure whether they are back together and it’s none of our business in any case – but I wish them well … she sure would have to be the forgiving type.

“The Rugby” March 22, 2010

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So I’m just going to come out and say it … I think Paul O’Connell ain’t all that !  He couldn’t handle a hot dinner on the weekend … dropped feckin’ everything.

(waits for inevitable reaction and sharp intakes of collective breath)

So there ! And as for Sexton, Best and O’Callaghan and a few more … they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either.

We lost to Scotland ! For the love and honour of Jaysis … not that they are a bad side but they aren’t supposedly as good as Ireland.

We couldn’t throw, couldn’t catch, couldn’t kick goals and couldn’t scrum and yet Ireland were still level with 5 minutes to go … please tell me we don’t have another manager afraid of changing things !

My Only Lions Test July 3, 2009

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My Only Lions Test

by the Rambling Man

Last night I dreamed a lovely dream, like I’ve never dreamed before
I dreamed I was a Lion and touched down the winning score
their backline was a little flat, plain for all to see
As I chased down the grubber kick by the girl who makes the tea

I cross and dived, just left of post and smothered the rugby ball
three lads dived too, all red clad men, waiting for the call
the referee he raised his hand and we were in the lead
twas only then I realised, to pee I had a need !

I walked past Shane Williams (!), who was lining up the kick
and I remember thinking, Jaysis O’Gara must be sick
and then in that dreamlike way, the pitch was nowhere to be seen
I had obviously found the toilet, just what could it mean ?

Then the rest of the team were heading home and making for the bus
I was taking their congratulations, amidst the winning fuss
Darren Clarke shook my hand, for he had played scrum half
and the man that runs our golf shop, also joined the laugh

At last as I began to wake, I realised I was going mad
Bull Hayes was walking round my room, looking really sad
the local man who delivers milk had just blocked his clearance down
and was charging over the line again, sliding on the ground
the milkman wore a dark green shirt, shattering all our hope
and the Lions had lost my only test. I dream like such a dope !

All-Ireland Gold June 3, 2009

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I had the pleasure recently – whilst channel hopping – to churf * across TG4‘s excellent series, All-Ireland Gold.  The programme features entertaining and special GAA matches from the last 25 years or so.

On this particular programme, my own county – Wexford (for I am but a blow in to blaa land) were playing Offaly in the Leinster Final of 1996.  Looking back, it was the match that started “it all” … Wexford not only beat Offaly in that game (who were reigning champions) but went on to win their first All-Ireland in God knows how long.

I was at the match in question – I must’ve been about 17 – but its great to be able to look back at a match like this and see it on TV.  You get to see so much more than I did when I was there.  All I remember is running onto the pitch at full-time and being swallied (‘swallowed’ said the Wexford way) by the crowd … I also remember Tom Dempsey getting an outrageous point over his shoulder without even looking at the posts – we were so scared to believe that this day, for once, we wouldn’t be returning to Slaneyside brokenhearted.  And so the TV program brought it all back …

What a team we had in those days – you would find it hard to leave most of the 1996 team out of any modern team … and they went hell-for-leather at Offaly that day as if their lives depended on it.  I haven’t seen a Wexford team harry the opposition like it since which in its own way is disappointing.

The great O’Connor brothers, Adrian Fenlon beating lads out the gate, the mad Larry O’Gorman putting his head where others wouldn’t put their hurleys … the list goes on … Larry Murphy at half forward banging over the scores, Liam Dunne and the man mountain Ger Cushe … nobody in Wexford can forget Martin Storey or Tom Dempsey or any of the others … the commentators calling Eamonn Scallon Scallion … great days.  Liam Griffin dancing along the sidelines … what a feckin team we had !

So thanks TG4 for this series – it’s highly entertaining, especially if your only memories of the matches were from being at them … I hope they show the semi-final (against Galway) and the final (against Limerick) soon.

Loch Garman abú !

* churf – to channel surf

YouTube – Bill vs John vs Graeme vs Eamon May 6, 2009

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YouTube – Bill vs John vs Graeme vs Eamon.

Absolute classic !!!  Eamon Dunphy is God … end of story !

Fantasy Golf ! February 19, 2008

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A somewhat loaded question was again raised at that veritable institution of scandal – the morning tea break – this morning when the issue arose of ” Who would you most like to (insert appropriate verb here) … ”

Of course, there were a few – both women and men – who guffawed about who they would or wouldn’t bring to a desert island and ahem … “talk to” and other’s topics ranged from people they’d like to see, to places they’d like to go and in our case, people they’d like to play golf with …

All the greats were mentioned … Palmer, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Woods etc. as was the venue for your favourite mythical four ball … How about You, Woods, Nicklaus and Seve ? At St.Andrew’s ? Wow ! For the record, if I could choose, as mentioned yesterday, Team Twat would take on Tiger Woods and my cousin Aidan (!) in a fourball skins (matchplay on the side) game for, ooh let’s say, $2000 a hole ? Just to play with Tiger and for the 3 of us cousins to stand on a tee and have him tee off with us would be reward enough to forego the dazzling prospect of just myself and another 3 famous golfers ! Awww shucks !

So then the smart arse at the end of the table said “One night of screaming passion with Angelina Jolie or a round of golf at Augusta ?” No prizes for guessing what came out on top … and it wasn’t Mrs. Pitt !

Trappatoni – exactly what we need ! February 15, 2008

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Jaysis, I’d say Stephen Ireland is shitting himself !  The subtitles are real, by the way.

Weekend Sports Review February 11, 2008

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A few things caught my eye this weekend on the sports fields and off …

Fair play to the Manchester City fans for keeping quiet and respecting the minutes silence at the football derby game on Sunday.  The fact that the authorities gave out free United and City scarves before the game led to the proper atmosphere being observed.  Unfortunately on the field, United were beaten and are in serious need of a good striker … their management blames it on fatigue and whereas they may have a point, it then doesn’t make sense to bring the entire squad on money making midweek friendlies to play some team in the United Arab Emirates in the middle of the season !

It was another gloriously honourable defeat for the Irish rugby team in Paris (still a defeat though right ?) as they came close to beating the French …. ah, we just love it when we ‘nearly’ do something.  They played like turkeys in the first half and only got going in the second.  Another ten minutes and we’ve’d ‘ad ’em !  or maybe not.  The worrying fact for me is, now that there has been a bit of a performance, people’s expectations will grow, re-pressurising the players.  And let me say the backs were poor again on Sunday.  Fair enough they were missing 2 regulars (Horgan and D’Arcy) and the in-form wing wasn’t even in the squad (Bowe) but the reason they came back at the French was the forwards.  They mauled them up and down the pitch and were first to the ball in the breakdown.

The Cork hurlers and footballers look like they will not be participating in the league or championship in 2008, which is a great shame.  A good summary of the dispute can be found here … let’s hope it gets resolved before next weekend.  On the upside, it’s one less team for my own native county, Wexford, to be hammered by.  But having said that the yella bellies beat Waterford yesterday which will provide me with oh so much  ammunition for friends and work colleagues alike – they’ll be only too glad to see the back of me !  (not long now)

And finally, if reports in this morning’s Irish Examiner are to be believed (cough) then Geovanni Trappatoni has been apppointed the Irish football manager and the successor to Stephen Staunton’s miserable regime a full 150 odd days after the latter mercifully got the sack !  If its true, that is such a coup for the suits in Merrion Square and a fantastic figure to spearhead the international team’s efforts.  Here’s hoping Signore Trappatoni doesn’t get pissed off too quickly with Fawlty Towers the FAI and their unbelievable special  way of doing things … all together now Óle, óle, óle …

Ireland v Brazil February 6, 2008

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So tonight, the rudderless and managerless Ireland take on the mighty Brazil.  I’m taking bets amongst my work colleagues that Robbie Keane, when presented with a barn door, will tonight not be able to hit it from 5 yards.  And the kicker is that I’m offering a further 15/8 on him scoring at least one goal on the weekend for Spurs, when there isn’t a green shirt in sight.

Any takers ?

At least, for once, you’ll be able to roar “Ah, it’s just like watching Brazil !” ‘cos that’s exactly what it’ll be.

PS : The writer is more than prepared to eat lorry loads of humble pie come tommorrow, if Robbie scores and we beat Brazil … (cough)

Marian Finucane sickens my shite ! February 1, 2008

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I’ll just say it again in case the title doesn’t say it loud enough ! Marian Finucane sickens my shite !!

I’m referring to an interview she did last week with English rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio on her RTE program on a Saturday morning. Dallaglio, presumably thought he was there to promote his book and golly gosh, talk a little bit about rugby ! But no, the whining Finucane went to town on him and it became plainly obvious that she disliked him and wanted to put him at distinct unease.

So lots of people in this country claim to not like the English, love to talk about how they don’t like the English all the while not really disliking the English in the first place. It’s a legacy from the much churned out phrase of “800 years of opression” … seems some people still want to continue it.

Anyway, I have a couple of points to make about the interview which made me squirm with embarrassment for a 6 foot 4 hulking rugby player who’s as tough as nails ! Firstly Finucane quizzed him quite stringently about his sister’s death. His sister and himself were invited to a party aboard a yacht and she tragically fell into the Thames and was drowned – so did a few others at the time. He was asked how she died, when she died, what was it like for you when she died  … I mean don’t bring stuff like that up – talk about rugby !

Then she went on to quiz him about his divorce and made him feel bad about it and snorted through her nose when she found out that Dallaglio and his wife had had children before they got married ! The impurity of them !!

But to cap it all off was the attack she whined at him when the topic of the English team not moving along the pitch to meet the president before an England / Ireland match in 2003 was rammed down his throat came up. The “incident” in question provoked great outrage at the time and the self important amongst us it seems, haven’t forgotten – the president was, after all, forced to walk on the grass for a while ! A national disgrace, they called it ! Anyway, Finucane set upon Dallaglio talking about this incident and why the English team didn’t want to move or wouldn’t move onto the red carpet etc. etc. and wouldn’t let it go. I mean the man wasn’t even the captain that day – go get on to Martin Johnson ! Dallaglio gave his explanation – they were “in the zone” and nothing would have moved them .. and it was a fuss about nothing. Which it was ! It didn’t effect the English as they won the grand slam by winning that match. And I’m sure some eejit from Lansdowne Road stirred up the confusion by not telling them where to go …

In any event, both rugby unions apologised for Mary McAleese having to walk on the grass and she, I’m sure, has recovered. But my main point is that we love to have a go at the English at all times – and it’s just not on. The country is under opression from nobody any longer, save ourselves !

So Marian Finucane has plummeted even further in my estimation and an interview I was looking forward to was peppered by me thinking “Why is she asking him that ?” or “Hang on, that’s a bit personal”. My favourite quote from her over the pitch incident was, when it became obvious Dallaglio wasn’t going to formally apologise to the Irish people 4 years on about something over which he had no control – she harrumphed through her nose …”Hmmnfff very unrepentant I see !”

Yep – that one made me proud to be Irish Marian. Turn the other cheek indeed …

RBS 6 Nations – Ireland v Italy January 29, 2008

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If Bernard Jackman doesn’t get in the team to play Italy on Saturday, I think I will throw my hat at the whole thing and jump firmly, feet first on the anti-O’Sullivan bandwagon !

Team to be named later today …

* UPDATE – What do you do if a team is playing like shite and gets knocked out of the World Cup in the first round – why, pick them again of course ! *


Ireland team: Girvan Dempsey, Andrew Trimble, Geordan Murphy, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Ronan O’Gara, Eoin Reddan, Marcus Horan, Rory Best, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Simon Easterby, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.

Oscar Pistorius – some man ! January 17, 2008

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Isn’t it a bit mad (and maddening) that track and field’s world governing body – I.A.A.F. – has ruled that double amputee Oscar Pistorius from South Africa can not compete in qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics because – wait for it – despite having no lower legs, he is at an advantage over the multi million dollar professional athletes against whom he would compete.

Just what are they afraid of ? This guy has no legs for Chrissakes !

A larger report into this feel-bad story is here. It seems Pistorius can now run so fast on his adapted “feet” – which are carbon fibre prosthetics – that they shouldn’t be considered as “feet”, but as “technical aids” ! I mean come on ! Are the Justin Gatlin‘s of this world quaking in their boots ? Well you know what I mean – someone who didn’t take drugs … an honest athlete … why not let this guy compete against them ?

In my opinion if the guy is good enough to qualify then let him go ! Its not as if he’s wearing some special apparatus over his own regular body – this guy had no legs when he was born – to overcome that and to even be talking about the Olympics in the same breath is surely something to be put on a pedestal !

Does this also mean that if he is definitively banned, that he can then compete in the Paralympics ? I mean, if he has an advantage over any able bodied person, surely he has a double advantage then over a Paralympian ?

14amputee-190.jpg

This is nuts – let the guy run – if he’s good enough then he’ll make it and if not he won’t. Isn’t that what the whole Olympic spirit is about.