Should the IFA adopt its own national anthem?

Recently we had the disgraceful but in some ways predictable behaviour of some fans (but at least it was a minority) at the Northern Ireland versus Republic of Ireland match during the playing of the National Anthems. I was always taught that no matter how you feel about a country, or its government’s policies, you should always respect the national anthem. However, at the same time – why do the Irish Football Association still continue to use God Save the … Read more

Future Ireland: Uniting people is the starting point

I was in a cafe recently when the owner, who I know from being a regular, came over and asked me, “David, clear something up between me and the Missus – was that you on the TV we saw the other night … [puzzled look] … you were part of a panel … Mike Nesbitt was there too.” To which I answered – ‘Yes, guilty! Was me!’ After a little discussion about how he didn’t realise I was interested in … Read more

Achievements in Sport, Art, Drama – all in one day’s news about Northern Ireland!

I still have the exile’s old habit  of  registering  references in the News to home that lift the spirits rather than embarrass the hell out of me. Today must be a some kind of record. It may be parochial but it’s very gratifying. If there really is such a thing, it must be good for the image. Although it was a painful watch on TV it was obvious that the Augusta crowd loved Rory as much for his vulnerability as … Read more

Six Things We Learned From Ireland’s Failed Rugby World Cup Bid…

Last week’s surprise decision to grant the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) to France was a huge disappointment for the Irish, who had been bookies’ favourite throughout the process. As the dust finally settles on the five-year effort to bring one of the world’s largest sporting events to these shores, here are six key lessons we can draw from the experience : Ireland CAN hold events of global significance. The positive message for Ireland in a disappointing process was that … Read more

Live Rugby: Ireland v New Zealand – Ireland Win!

Half time score at Soldier Field, Chicago, was Ireland 25 New Zealand 8.  Second half has just gotten under way.  BBC text commentary here.  Or watch live.  Audio is a bit ropey. But it could be history… Update Ireland win!  For the first time ever, in 111 years of trying, Ireland have beaten the All Blacks!  With 5 minutes to go, the score was Ireland 33 New Zealand 29 and the momentum looked like it was with the All Blacks. … Read more

Battle lines re-drawn over new Casement Park stadium plan

The BBC reports that the Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) has said it opposes the recently unveiled revised GAA plan for a new stadium at Casement Park.  MORA campaigned successfully against the original proposal.  From the BBC report In a statement, the residents group said it supported a “suitable-sized redevelopment” that was safe, did not host concerts and was “part of the natural fabric of the community”. “The revised proposals for the redevelopment of Casement Park do not meet those requirements,” it said. … Read more

Rory Finds Form to Win FedEx Cup

By winning the Tour Championship yesterday in Atlanta, and with it the FedEx Cup for the first-time, Rory McIlroy has turned a decent, if disappointing by his high standards, season into a great one.  Until the FedEx play-offs began his only win this year was the Irish Open.  The new FedEd Cup winner now heads to the Ryder Cup before focussing on next year’s majors, starting with the US Masters in April. To be fair, it was only his putting that has … Read more

Live Cricket: Ireland v Afghanistan at Stormont – 5th ODI

After a somewhat controversial victory in the 4th One Day International on Sunday, Afghanistan have a 2-1 lead going into today’s 5th, and final, ODI against Ireland’s cricketers at Stormont.  Afghanistan won the toss and put Ireland in to bat.  Live video via CricketIrelandTV.  Cricinfo has the usual over-by-over text commentary.  Ireland made 265 for 5 from 50 overs, with an unbeaten 160 runs for opening batsman Ed Joyce.  Afghanistan chasing 266 runs to win.  Update Afghanistan made 253 for 9 … Read more

Live Cricket: Ireland v Afghanistan at Stormont – 4th ODI

With the series level at 1-1 after 3 games, Ireland’s cricketers take on the touring Afghanistan team at Stormont today in the 4th One-Day International of 5 scheduled matches.  Afganistan won the toss and chose to bat first.  Cricinfo has the over-by-over text commentary.  Live streaming video via CricketIrelandTV.  Update Afghanistan made 229 for 7 from 50 overs.  Update 2 Ireland 150 all out from 41.0 overs.  Afghanistan win by 79 runs and take a 2-1 lead with one match remaining. Pete Baker

Live Cricket: Ireland v Afghanistan at Stormont – 3rd ODI

Live streaming cricket from Belfast as Ireland take on Afghanistan in the 3rd ODI of a 5 match series.  The first was rained off, and on Tuesday Afghanistan comfortably withstood Ireland’s attempt at chasing down the total of 250 runs they set in the 2nd ODI after being put into bat.  This time, Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat, setting a total of 236 all out from 49.1 overs.  Ireland require 237 from their 50 overs to level the series … Read more

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland through to last 16

Despite losing to world champions Germany earlier today, Northern Ireland’s footballers have secured a place in the last 16 of the UEFA European Championship 2016.  There they’ll face either France or Wales. A heroic performance by NI’s freelance keeper, Michael McGovern, kept the ball out of the net on all but one occasion and the 1-0 win for Germany left Northern Ireland in third place in Group C on 3 points following their win over Ukraine.  Crucially, though, they had … Read more

ICC World Twenty20: Bangladesh v Ireland

After defeat in their opening game against ICC World Twenty20 newcomers Oman, Ireland’s cricketers now face group favourites Bangladesh in a must-win match if they are to stay in the running for the Super10 stage.   Despite that favourite status, Bangladesh had a scare against the Netherlands in a narrow 8 run win and two of its bowlers’ actions have been called into question by ICC officials. Apparently the Ireland coach, John Bracewell, doesn’t anticipate making many changes to the starting eleven from the first … Read more

ICC World Twenty20: Ireland v Oman

The 2016 ICC World Twenty20 got under way yesterday in the host country, India.  The initial groups see the associate teams battle with lower ranked test nations for two slots in the Super 10 stage. The opening matches saw Zimbabwe defeat Hong Kong by 14 runs and Afghanistan overcame a spirited Scotland performance by the same margin. Earlier today, Bangladesh squeaked past the Netherlands by 8 runs. Ireland are about to open their account against the relatively unknown Oman at Dharamsala.  Cricinfo has a preview … Read more

Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  Mr Scott was appearing again in front of the NI Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. From the BBC report Mr Feeney later issued … Read more

Time for a level playing field for sports funding in Northern Ireland…

In a country where sports / cultural funding is generally split along sectarian Lines, the 3,000 people who participated in the Gran Fondo yet again tells us loud and clear that sports participation in Northern Ireland bears no resemblance to the way our politicians allocate funding for sporting capital projects in Northern Ireland. Our politicians representing the various minority Nationalist / Unionists factions continue to fight each other for sports / cultural funding and make all the headlines with their … Read more

Carál Ní Chuilín: “What is clear to me is that there has been an anti-GAA element throughout…”

Having had to apologise for “an error” in claiming that the “Electoral commission vetoed using last election figures” in defence of Sinn Féin’s sectarian leaflet campaign in North Belfast, the Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, might have been better advised to be more cautious in her public utterances in future… Despite having reportedly announced, last Thursday, a full review of the new Casement Park Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) ground redevelopment plan, on Tuesday, … Read more

Casement Park STG Chair: “we were being attempted to be coerced, pressurised into signing off something that we were singularly uncomfortable with…”

The BBC reports on the latest wrinkle in the on-going saga of the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast – stalled in December last year when Belfast High Court quashed the decision to grant planning approval for the redevelopment. At the start of April this year, the BBC obtained the minutes of the last meeting of the Casement Park Development Safety Technical Group (STG), in November 2014, under a Freedom of Information request.   The STG is made up of representatives … Read more

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v Pakistan

With just two games left in the group stages of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and two places still available in the next phase, Ireland’s cricketers have their fate in their own hands.  They play Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval early tomorrow morning [3.30am (GMT)] with the winner guaranteed a place in the knock-out stage.  As I may have mentioned… Cricket Ireland reports on captain, William Porterfield, at the press conference Talking about his teams approach to the game and the biggest challenges … Read more

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v India

England, with a game still to play, have failed to qualify for the quarter-final stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after a 15 run loss to Bangladesh this morning in Adelaide. Ireland’s cricketers can still secure a place in the quarter-finals with a win from either of their two remaining games. First up, tonight in Hamilton, New Zealand, are the unbeaten defending champions India – who are already through to the knock-out stage.  Don’t expect them to take it easy … Read more

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v Zimbabwe

It’s a busy, and potentially significant, night/day for the Group B teams at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.  At around 3.30am [GMT] on Saturday Ireland will look to put the heavy defeat to South Africa behind them when they face Zimbabwe, in a rare ODI match-up, at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Australia. And with India having done both teams a favour by, just, holding off the West Indies challenge last night to seal qualification for the quarter-finals, it’s all to play for. Ireland’s cricketers … Read more