2009 – The Year In Sport

Posted on December 18, 2009

0


Ok so I’ve gone and done another disappearing act for a while there but I’m back again now and I actually have accumulated some topics to write about during my few days of slacking.

.

And I suppose seeing as it is the 18th December, almost the end of the year, it is only fitting that I hop up on my favourite of hobby horses and talk about how the year of 2009 panned out for sport.

.

So, in no particular order, I’m going to take a look at a few of the best moments in sport for the year 2009.

.

  • Irish Rugby: Not going to go into too much detail on this one because I’ve already dedicated a blog to the wonder that was Irish Rugby 2009. Triple Crown, Grand Slam and beating the World Champions – need I say anymore? Pity we didn’t get the icing on the cake with O’Driscoll getting player of the year (ahem – robbery!) Roll on 2010 and a successful defence of the Slam!

.

  • Leinster Heineken Cup: As if Irish Rugby couldn’t get any better, another European Cup made its way to Ireland. Having solely relied on Munster to get the goods for the last few years, it’s been great for both Leinster and Irish rugby to break the hoo doo of the big nerves, though, admittedly, Leinster’s disposal of Munster in the semi finals surely proved that. Nevertheless, a second strong Irish team, winning European Cups can only be beneficial to the national team.

.

  • U-21 Hurling Final: Perhaps a bit of an odd one but put in perspective, very important to the future of hurling in the country. Last year 2008, Kilkenny won Senior, Intermediate, U-21, Minor and Junior (? – Can’t actually remember) All-Irelands – a clean sweep. This year they surrendered the Minor to Galway and the U-21 title to a very good Clare team with a few lovely hurlers. A turn around of this magnitude in the space of a year perhaps sends a message across the country that all is not lost in the field of hurling. The Senior Hurling final helped greatly to emphasise this fact too – Tipperary are going to be a force to be reckoned with. And perhaps that’s a more prominent moment to look at – U21 and Minor players frequently have the habit of not living up to Senior standards but at the same time, no begrudging Clare this title as they truly deserved it.

.

  • Irish Soccer: Or “Don’t Mention the War” as it may well be referred to for the rest of Irish Soccer history. Not so much a “best” moment as a pivotal moment perhaps. A travesty that spawned numerous Thierry Henry hate pages on Facebook, and a thorn in the side for the FAI who had already screwed up by ceding the playoffs mid-tournament. In spite of this, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we gave a wonderful account of ourselves against one of the supposedly top teams in the world (even if they had to cheat to beat us). Oh, and Roy Keane can kiss my arse.

.

  • Shane Lowry: Now, I don’t usually watch golf. I can’t usually play golf because my temper always gets the better of me and I end up tossing a club over a ditch. But could anyone honestly take their eyes of the Irish Open this year? Horrendous conditions, blustery winds, most of the professionals had trouble. Then a young amateur from Clara, Co. Offaly sneaks in to nick the prize. Except he didn’t really sneak. He should have won in normal play but an eschewed putt, probably from nerves took him to a playoff with England’s Robert Rock, who to be fair, had played some great golf in the bad conditions. A bit of heart in mouth alternating in the sudden death before Lowry finally sunk the putt that sent him on his way to professionalism. More power to him.

.

See also: Tom Watson. Because damnit, he just had to miss that bloody putt on the 18th. Another great, underdog moment. Good golf is enjoyable to watch.

.

  • Mick Kinane & Sea The Stars: Ironic that both of these names have now retired. One is fifty, the other just four. Winning the Epsom Derby, 2000 Guineas and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. We’ve seen many great racehorses in Ireland (rightly so too, the government has pumped a lot of money into the sport) but Sea The Stars was something else. Partnered by a jockey who was no stranger to winning big races, the pairing of old with new proved effective for trainer John Oxx. Retired to stud now, Sea The Stars can hope to influence Irish racing in a slightly different way.

.

There are probably lots of other moments I could have put on this also but for the purpose of this blog, 6 is the magic number.

.

Here’s to as good a year of sport in 2010. And who knows, Wexford might even make an appearance at some of the GAA fixtures this year!

.

As someone once said to me, “Where would we be without sport?”