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All-Ireland Gold June 3, 2009

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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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

Weekend Sports Review February 11, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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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 …