2010 Tour de France’s defining moment

Obviously different people have different ideas about what a “decent spectator sport looks like…” But if, like me, you’ve been following this year’s Tour de France you’ll no doubt agree with Steve Wilson’s praise for ITV4’s excellent coverage. It’s been eventful too, and not just for being seven-times Tour winner Lance Armstrong’s final hurrah.  From the prologue in Rotterdam across the cobblestones of Belgium and northern France, and over the punishing peaks of the Pyrénées this year’s course has seen plenty of action. If all goes to …

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More Alex Higgins

Further to Eamonn’s tribute to Alex Higgins, David Gordon has posted this video on Facebook and I thought it deserved a wider airing here. On a weekend when so many people – bafflingly – are glued to the awful pointlessness of Formula One, this is a reminder of what a decent spectator sport looks like, thickly overlaid as it is with the emotional highs and lows that always accompanied watching Alex at his peak. Unusually for a frame of snooker, …

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The other side of Alex Higgins.

I am not claiming to have known Alex Higgins in any meaningful way. That said I had three or four conversations with him in the past decade born out of pure accident. He had returned to Belfast and lived in an apartment in Osborne Park at the back of Arizona cafe. He was a regular presence in the neighbourhood motioning towards the local paper shop uninhibited to fetch a newspaper. As a student I thumbed lifts from South Armagh to the South …

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World Cups and Solar Eclipses

As the crowds gather in Johannesburg for the FIFA World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands an estimated 4000 umbraphiles are hoping for clear skies over Easter Island – and no vuvuzelas. They’ve travelled there to be able to observe 4 min 41 secs of the total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010, which is due to occur at the same time that 22 men are chasing after a very round ball on a large patch of grass…  9.11pm BST start for the Easter Island hopefuls. In the New …

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Quote of the Week

At the very least.  As identified by the observant Miriam Lord Quote of the week from former Republic of Ireland manager, Brian Kerr, discussing the massive salary paid to England manager Fabio Capello with Vincent Browne on his TV show. Brian, who is in charge of the Faroe Islands, joked that he pulls in twice as much money “and free puffin thrown in for me dinner every day as well!” Heh. Pete Baker

Third cricket club targeted by vandals

A third cricket club in County Londonderry has been targeted by vandals in the past week.  The playing surfaces of a number of pitches have been destroyed in the attacks. Police said they have not yet established whether there is a link between the three attacks, but have asked people who live near sports grounds to watch out for any suspicious activity. Pete Baker

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 and last Heineken Cup slot. Of course Ireland did beat the World Champions South Africa back in November and Munster, Leinster and Connacht made their …

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World Twenty20: “Just play on. Jesus, it’s only rain.”

At the Guardian’s sports blog Dara O’Briain reflects on the outcome of the most important sporting event of the week – the rain-affected World Twenty20 clash between Ireland and England. From the Guardian blog Well, where do we begin? Generations of division; the Dark Burden of History; all this to be finally addressed with the use of willow and ball. Or it would have been, but there was some rain and according to the rules, that meant England went through. Now, …

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World Twenty20: Ireland v England

As I mentioned last night, the West Indies rain-assisted win over England provides the slightest glimmer of hope for Ireland to progress to the next stage of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.  If they can beat England… If the match actually takes place… The rain at Providence, Guyana, has already intervened in the first match of the day.  Which side Duckworth/Lewis will benefit as Ireland take on England is anybody’s guess. Match due to start at 6.30pm.  Ireland win the toss …

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World Twenty20: Ireland Life-line From Rain Delayed Windies Win

In the second match in Ireland’s group in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup England posted an impressive first innings total of 191 from 20 overs – including a fine 55 from 35 balls by former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan [*ahem* – Ed].  The Windies openers started strongly, making 30 from 2.2 overs, before rain stopped play. When they resumed, the Duckworth/Lewis calculation deemed that a less-than-challenging target of 60 from 6 overs would be sufficient for victory. Still, it wasn’t until …

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ICC World Twenty20 2010

Ireland’s honourable performance in last year’s tournament may be a dim, and happy, memory but tonight they face this year’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup host’s, the West Indies, under floodlights at Providence, Guyana – start time 1700 local (2100 GMT/2200 BST). As the BBC preview notes, the opening game will see New Zealand take on Sri Lanka (1800 BST). It’s a return to the scene of Ireland’s breakthrough in world cricket, the 2007 World Cup, and the Guardian has a good article on Ireland’s ambition and the investment …

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A young protestant genius with no talent for guff

Great piece on George Best by Eammon McCann in today’s Irish Times. He mentions two of his cohorts, Alec Higgins and Van Morrison who have also famously wore their celebrity uncomfortably. By Eammon McCann It was Van Morrison who put George Best into proper context, which was apt. “Too long in exile,” sang the Man on the title track of his hugely underrated 1993 album. “Just like George Best, baby…just like Alex Higgins.” Three of maybe half a dozen authentic …

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Holywood man wins West of Ireland title

Congratulations to Holywood boy Rory McIlroy on winning the West of Ireland Open Amateur Golf Championship at Rosses Point in Sligo, at the grand old age of 15. Last time I saw him, he’d just flown back from Florida with his dad where they’d been reccying a course in preparation for the the World Under Tens Championship (back in 98, I think) in time to grab a bite to eat and up and out onto the Holywood course. At the …

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