Author Archive | ItwasSammyMcNally

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Can Warren Gatland see off his tribal critics with an historic Lions NZ win for only the second time in history?

When Warren Gatland announced his Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand there was considerable disgruntlement in Scotland that only two of their kith and kin and had been selected. Former Scottish internationals lined up to criticise the selection that also saw 16 players from England and 12 players from Wales even though they more…

The Heineken Cup – an Irish success story.

This is the sixteenth year of the Heineken Cup and so far we have had 4 Irish victories. If Leinster beat Northampton in Cardiff’s Millennium stadium tomorrow(Saturday kick off 5pm) that will make it 4 Irish victories in the competition in the last 6 years- two each for Munster and Leinster – an incredible record. more…

Queen’s Visit: Time to move on but not to forget…

‘I have signed my own death warrant’; so (allegedly) did Michael Collins spake after he had signed The Treaty in London in 1921. Collins’s support for the Anglo-Irish Treaty which both agreed to the partition of the country and required elected representatives in the new state to promise to be faithful to His Majesty King more…

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 more…

Boardwalk Empire

Of Prohibition, Paddy’s day, Leprechauns and the AOH

After watching the first 6 episodes of the excellent Boardwalk Empire (Sky Atlantic, Saturday 9pm) a few well established truisms are reassurignly reinforced. Firstly, just about everybody can do (and does) an Oirish accent but just about no one can do an Irish one. Secondly, given that the Irish do so love a drink, it more…

Jeremy, Plaid Cymru and how to do economic competence

I have to confess to being something of a fan of Jeremy Paxman but his smugness can occasionally require use of the TV brick or alternatively a viewing of this excerpt from Newsnight below. It is quite an old clip, having originally been posted by Dewi (Slugger’s Welsh + Rugby correspondent) around election time and more…

When two (Celtic) tribes go to war

The good relations that traditionally mark Irish-Welsh relations will be under strain this weekend as the homespun-talk-themselves-down Munster take on the brash-talk-themselves-up Ospreys in Saturdays crucial (rugby) Heineken Cup match. Relations have been poor for a number of years since the Ospreys counter-cited Munster player Marcus Horan for racially abusing one of their players – more…

SDLP MI5 and taking the fight to Sinn Fein…

The SDLP are still alive – and they give the distinct impression that they see this as something of an achievement. As continuing (relative) peace brings with it political consensus to both sides of the constitutional fence, the SDLP like the UUP are armed with new and rather uninspiring leaders as they continue to struggle more…

Rocky (A5) road to Dublin?

As the Irish government clings desperately on to both the country’s economic independence and to its tiny Dáil majority whilst simultaneously promising the Plain People in the South more pain in the shape of less pay, fewer jobs and disappearing public services it may seem surprising that they are still funding that road which winds more…

No Pope here either.

If Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was determined to visit those of his flock who reside in the Northern Irish territories (NIT) he would presumably be extremely well briefed as to which parts of Belfast it would be safe and sensible for him to drop in on. He would also probably be discouraged more…

Bloody Sunday and the legitimacy of the Republican insurgency

Political reaction to Saville has been largely predictable, Unionists indulging in whataboutery and deflection, the ill-informed British public shocked by the appalling savagery of our boys and Nationalist Ireland, already well acquainted with the horrible facts, delighted that they have been officially admitted. What was a little less predictable was David Cameron, standing up in parliament and sounding more…

Building on the Rugby success of the Ireland team(s)

It is understandable to view the 09/10 Irish rugby season as bit of a disappointment. No Heineken Cup win, no Grandslam and not even a trifling Triple Crown or a measly Magners league title. Ulster in particular, have had a difficult season vying at the business end of the season with Connacht for the third more…

Why – really – did Gordon Brown walk away from coalition?

It is now nearly three weeks since the general election and something still keeps nagging away at me. Back on May the 10th and a few days after the election, the intensive Tory-LibDem talks which had been going full tilt, had run into difficulty. The Daily Telegraph was reflecting the deep anxiety that must have more…