Stand up for the Ulstermen (and the Leinstermen).

With Rory in the lead in the US Masters in Augusta and Ulster in the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup for the first time since they won it in 1999 – it could be a sensational weekend for Ulster sport.

… if Ulster beat Northampton (away) on Sunday they will have a home semi-final and the possibility of an All Ireland Heineken Cup final in Cardiff in May – just the preparation Ireland need for the world cup.

…if Rory wins the Master he will become only the 3rd player under 25 to win it – along with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. (Graeme Mc Dowell unfortunately has faded badly)

Arguably Leinster have a better chance of progressing than their Northern neighbours in the Heineken cup when they face the formidable Leicester on Saturday at the new Lansdowne Road but Leinsterman Harrington with his back problems probably wont make the cut in the golf.

As oft times before, it may be time to make a wee visit to Mr Patrick Power – though it will be too late to get good ‘value’ for the boul Rory – you can get Ulster at 7/2.

Worth a punt?

, ,

  • Rory Carr

    “With Rory in the lead in the US Masters in Augusta …”

    Shome mishtake shurely. I cannot abide golf, tennis, skiing or any other of those individualistic pastimes designed for the leisurely wealthy to pursuse while wearing silly clothes.

  • Rory Carr

    p.s. I did however manage to place £30 to win on Ballabriggs at 14/1. Which is nice.

  • Mark

    Rory,

    That should put a dent in the fortune Arsenal have cost you over the last six years …..

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Hard luck Dungannon in the all ireland cup final today.

    Rory certainly has a great chance but a long long way to go. Fingers crossed he’s still in the mix this time tomorrow!!!

    Leinster looking good so far but leicster look up for this one too. Would be very surprised if leinster don’t win this one.

    Massive task for Ulster. We have a chance but I would imagine that the northampton pack will be too powerful. However, if Pienaar and Humph have the game of their lives and BJ can steady the scrum we could just sneak this one. I’d predict a 10-15 win for the saints but you live in hope.

  • Its a bit late for somebody to blog on this momentous rugby weekend but better late than never.

    Leinster v Leicester

    Leicester are the best of English club rugby at the moment and I expect them to fight all the way but I think Leinster will be too mighty for them.

    Northampton v Ulster

    My loyalty is torn on this one. My home is here but my parents live in Northampton.

    Both of these clubs won the Heineken cup a long time ago and both have played their best rugby this season since those days this season. Northampton seemed to fall apart in club leage matches during the 6 nations without their England internationals and I thought then that they would not be able to hold Ulster in the match tomorrow. Having got those players back (there are 4 of them), they have their form back. I think this will be a very close match and I dont see Chris Ashton doing a swallow dive but I would just about give Northampton the edge.

  • lamhdearg

    £30 pound sterling?, who are you king farouk in disguise.
    Com’on Ulster, com’on Rory, as for the foreigners, leinster or leicester, we dont care.

  • my fiver on the nose netted me £70 which was pleasing

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange
  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    leinster win by 7. stunning performance. SOB is an animal.

  • Mick Fealty

    McIlroy playing very steady, unfussy golf. Field bunching up behind for a tough and competitive final day tomorrow.

  • Mark

    Whoever plays Amens Corner the best will win …..

  • Mark

    Amens corner – holes 11,12 and 13 ….

  • Rory Carr

    Mark,

    I have made a hell of a lot more money on Arsenal over the last 20 years. At one stage I had a standing bet with a work colleague who was an ardent Chelsea fan and managed to collect on every occasion that our teams collided. I also had the same good fortune betting Celtic against the Rangers-mad landlord of my local and never, ever lost over all the time that we clashed. Only pride and a sense of face deterred him from barring me.

    Now I rarely have more than a bet on the Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, the Grand National, Fairyhouse on Easter Monday and both the Epsom and the Irish Derby each year and a standing bet with the Man U nutter who is stepping out with the youngest daughter which has been causing a steady leakage of late. But Ballabrigg’s triumph should keep me sweet for a while.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    22.49 and Rory is in the lead again by 2 shots.

    Having just buried one Celtic Tiger perhaps it might be bad luck to christen Rory Celtic Tiger Mark 2?

    the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Yes, Leinster beat Leicester – narrowly – and not as easily as the (ridiculously pro-Irish) Sky Sports team would have us believe.

    SOB still looks the real deal and Fitzgerald stil looks the exact opposite. Did you see any of the Munster game – Earls was outstanding and Felix Jones (full back) looks really good – perhaps in the mix for the world cup?

    Seymour,

    “but I would just about give Northampton the edge.” Bookies have them as clear favourites but I agree could be close – a victory for Ulster would send shock waves through English rugby and we could expect to hear massive whingeing about the salary cap.

    Ulster somehow dont seem to be able to put together any sustained periods of good play and intensity and yet they have the players if they could just get their fecking act together properly.

    re. Leinster being too ‘mighty’ that they were – just.

    Rory eile,

    re. racing – I had the runner up meself – ah the that old Arsene Wenger feeling.

    Mick,

    Thought Rory had blown it – when someone loses the lead they generally continue to slide but it looks like he may have the nerve to go with the ability to actually make it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nerve is the defining quality of a great player. Rory’s a bit young to christen/curse with that epithet, but the third day is about keeping position.

    Having played Holywood more than a few times in my youth, it was probably good practice for him as a kid. I used to drive straight into the quarry, every bloody time.

    He’s now up to 11 under…

  • Mark

    Rory ,

    Just kidding – when you mentioned Mrs Carr slagging you over the loss to Birmingham , I thought I’d ask .

    My Butcher was an Arsenal fan and I reckon I am up maybe 15 fillet steaks over a 10 yr period as he use to pay me in meat …

    Mick ,

    Junior member in the local club back in the day . Once caddied in a pro am with Roger Davis ( New Zealand ) and Ronan Rafferty whose manners were as bad as his short game ..

    It seems to be written in the stars that Rory will be wearing the Green jacket come sunday night after all that’s happened ….. sometimes sport is like that .

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    rory leading by 3. playing steady and unspectecular – which is just what you need at this stage.

    Nope, didn’t see any of the munster game Sammy – some scoreline mind you lol.

    Can’t see Ulster winning this one. N’ton pack are gruesome and their back 3 are frightening when on form. With Pienaar, Humph and Pienaar we have guys that can change a game but I think raw power will win this one. Nice to be in the knock out stages for a change.

  • Mick Fealty

    Leads by four now!!

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    yeeee haaaaa

    c’mon rory!!!

    a par on 18 and that will do it.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Rory leads by 4 – brilliant put.

    Future et al

    “Can’t see Ulster winning this one. ”

    Just hope they can hang in there and give themselves a shout – some grumblings in Northampton about them moving to MK Dons stadium – slightly risky move surrendering (a lump of ) home advantage for a few bob.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Tiger misses – 7 behind Rory.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    not due to money sammy – you have to have a 18k capacity to hold a HC QF – franklin gardens holds around 17k i think. Hence, they had to move the game. If we can pressurise the breakdown and win a few penalties then maybe Pienaar can keep us in touch.

    rory hits the middle of the 18th green.

    super round. chance of a birdie?

  • perseus

    Look up Rory on wiki; he’s missed out twice on big champs
    3rd time lucky .. I fancy him to bring it home for Ulster.
    Get some good headlines going

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    hope the bbc doesn’t cut out at 12 as on the schedule lol

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    “not due to money sammy – you have to have a 18k capacity to hold a HC QF ”

    I though that only applied to semis – ie > 20,000

    Betting on Rory now 8/13, with Tiger at 10/1 nearest challenger.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    just misses birdie putt.
    oooohhhhhhhhhh

    we’ll take the power

    big day tomorrow!!!!

  • Mick Fealty

    Four up it is.. “a pretty good day’s work..”

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    …its the 18th, 4 shot lead and the Yankees stand up for the Ulsterman.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good to see the NI flag put to some good use…

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange
  • Mark

    luke Donald is dangerous and normally peaks on day four but fingers crossed , another great story for golf in Northern Ireland tomorrow night ….

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Mark,

    Cabrera is also a dangerous fecker – Tiger too far back unless Rory has a howler.

    …Monty is a boring bugger (Sky Sports) and he now looks remarkably like Sir Geoffrey Howe (him of dead sheep fame).

    Future,

    I didnt know they had introduced that rule for the quarters. Thought Franklin Gardens was bigger.

    Ulster will have to play in the Aviva for the semis – what size is Casement Park? GAA should be inviting Ulster in.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sammy,

    Ever been to Casement?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    If Rory wins then the current winners of the US Open and US Masters will be from Ulster. You would have got some odds on that a year ago.

    Mick,

    Yes, why are you saying it is too scruffy, or not enough seats. Capacity is about 30,000?

  • braveheart

    A great day for Eire if Rory wins, Go Rory

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Casement would be brilliant Sammy – would be fantastic to stay in Belfast and would be great to see the GAA and Ulster Rugby demonstrate how sport can be shared.

    I hear rumours that Leinster could play their semi at croker and we could play at the aviva. We have a good history of heinekin cup rugby in Dublin, so I’d be happy enough.

    Realistically, we’re a couple of years away from beating a side like the Saints away from home. At home, we’d just about be favourites but away is close to impossible. Their pack is brutal and I’d imagine we’ll get bullied at the breakdown by their backrow. We probably have the edge at 9, 10 and 12 but their 2 centres are beasts who like to get over the gain line and present quick ball so they can release their potent back 3. Our back 3 is pretty weak so they’ll be under pressure.

    Just hoping we can turn up and put in a good account for our ourselves.

    Rory has destiny in his own hands as they say. Massive pressure on the young man but he played the perfect round yesterday – nothing flash, just good honest percentage golf. Unless one of the field has a blinder rory should be able to totter around with 1 or 2 under.

  • Sammy,

    It does this thread does not appear in the sports section. Would you mind sticking a “sports” category to this thread, please?

    I dont usually get excited about golf. My father put me off it when he tried to teach me how to play it. Today, I find his dining table conversations (which inevitably centre around golf) a bit like listening to a stuck record. However, last night I got interested in McElroy and, lo and behold watched it right to the end. The way he played those last shots of the 17th was pure genius in action.

  • Leinster v Leicester

    The best team won this match. No doubt about that. Leicester, however, were not humiliated. Their repuation as tough competitors remains intact.

    Before and during the six nations, some commenters were suggesting that Manu Tuilagi (Leicester No. 13) should be picked for England. He is certainly an exceptional talent. Yesterday, he gave a very good account of himself and demonstrated exceptional physical strength (bulldozing Gordon D’Arcy in one encounter). It is highly probable that he will be in the England squad in the future (probably within a year) but it is also ridiculous to suggest that he is an automatic selection for the World cup. However, if Johnson does select him, it wont be quite as daft as when Theo Walcott was selected for the England soccer World cup squad in 2006.

    I expect Leinster’s semi-final to be against Toulouse (no disrespect to Biarritz). Taking home advantage into account, I believe Leinster are now favourites to win the Tournament.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    the future’s bright, the future’s orange,

    I am always cautious to mention anything vaguely political in relation to Rugby (or sport) except to say there should be less politics and fewer political symbols.

    … in relation to the GAA I cant really see the issue with sharing facilities in Ulster as the principle of a shared stadium (Maze) had already been agreed.

    In relation to Ulster on paper it should be a tight contest – but as mentioned above they dont seem to be able to turn in sustained passages at the required level and away from home against Northampton this could lead to conceding a lot of points.

    ..but sooner or later, surely, they are going to click.

    Seymour Major,

    I’m keen as mustard on golf – just fecking awful at it. I think many people are put off by the percevied stuffiness and atmosphere of golf clubs and the fact that the club membership is perhaps seen as a statement of social standing but I think this is disappearing as the sport is taken up by more widely and by role models like Tiger*. But I have to agree about – golfing conversations – and – golfing jokes – largely formulaic and predictable and not nearly as exciting as talking about the vagaries of electoral boundaries.

    Perhaps his ‘playing away from home’ will widen the appeal of the sport – to young males at least.

    I will ask Mick to classify this thread as sport.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s McIlroy with an ‘I’ not an ‘E’ Seymour. Same root, but I think ‘E’ is originally how came out in Fermanagh. In Belfast/Holywood it is more often how Rory spells it (I’m half McElroy btw).

  • Dewi

    Sammy – I’ve cleared my gambling debts with Slugger…I’ve got a sneaky feeling Ulster might do it….Fiver?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    Betting debts. oops – I still owe Slugger £30 – I will do today.

    Who are you betting on Ulster? OK – I am more than happy to up my tab to £35 for an Ulster victory.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Good first 25 from Ulster. Darcy looking sharp – hope Spence gets a few chances to show what he can do.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Yessssssssssssss

  • lamhdearg

    looking a little shaky. hand bags

  • lamhdearg

    ohh dear.

  • lamhdearg

    sad but proud.

  • Mick Fealty

    Lost by ten in the end.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    First half Ulster were very good and the better team but pressure eventually led to more and more mistakes – Darcy’s drop ball a killer. But Ulster are not far off the finished article.

    (Interesting old pals antics between Best and Wilson)

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    cracking effort from 1-15. Saints pack brutalised us up front and a couple of individual errors cost us dearly. Excellent performance away from home though. Not an awful lot in it.

  • Mick Fealty

    That big field has eaten up Rory’s overnight lead…

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Looks like a very tough night for Ulster – and they are probably heading for a repeat of this match in the semis.

    Very good result for Munster with a weak team beating the Scarlets – the dreadful season for Welsh and Scottish club continues.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Ulster slip to fourth in the Magners (after Cardiff’s won tonight) and will need to win their last 2 games (starting Friday night against Connacht) to be certain of a play off place – but that will probably be either away to Munster or Leinster.