Cathal Dervanby Cathal Dervan
- Rory McIlroy back to his best with an Australian Open win
- Roy Keane settling in nicely with the Republic of Ireland again, for now
- The Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill show begins!
- Let’s give Roy Keane a clean slate in new Irish soccer role
- Irish government to honor former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
They say to never start a column with a question so here goes with two of them -- Budget Day 2009, how was it for you? And how was it for those of us paid to watch sport for a living, a wonderful gift we should never take for granted?
Let’s start with you. If you’re lucky enough to be reading this latest nonsense on American soil then congratulations -- chances are you got out of here just in time.
Any day soon the last person to leave Ireland will be asked to switch off the lights on the way out. That’s what happens, as one Irish exile in Canada told RTE Radio on Tuesday morning, when the country fails to save for a rainy day.
1. Remember Paris?
The World Cup summer is going to hurt like hell without Ireland in South Africa. The manner of the defeat in Paris and the cheek of Thierry Henry’s handball will be debated forever, but the reality is that Ireland had the chances to win the game long before extra-time, and had they played throughout the group as they did in France then they’d have qualified automatically.
2. Darren Sutherland’s Tragic Death
People called the World Cup defeat to France a tragedy, but the real tragedy in Irish sport this year was the decision by world title contender Darren Sutherland to take his own life just over a year after he won the heart of the nation with one of three boxing medals at the Beijing Olympics.
3. Ireland’s Grand Slam
Sport allows us to overcome the hurt of recession and the failure of our political leaders to maintain a just society, and never was the power of sport to thrill more evident than in March when Declan Kidney and Brian O’Driscoll led Ireland to a quite sensational Grand Slam win on a Cardiff afternoon never to be forgotten.
Our Trap, with loyal assistant Marco Tardelli at his side on both occasions, was in Portsmouth’s Fratton Park on Saturday and Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Sunday.
The papers here at home have made much of the fact that Trap saw Andy Reid play for Sunderland as they lost to Damien Duff’s Fulham. Sadly, it wasn’t Andy’s best game of recent times by all accounts.
And victory was extra sweet for Brian O’Driscoll and eight Irish teammates as they gained revenge for their Lions humiliation in South Africa last summer into the bargain.
Rookie out-half Jonathan Sexton kicked all 15 Irish points, three of them from unanswered second half penalties, as Ireland overcame a 10-6 halftime deficit to record a famous win.
Start packing the bags -- the great Bono has intervened in the World Cup scandal and called on FIFA to admit Ireland as a 33rd team in South Africa next summer.
He’s not alone, by the way. Last Friday an FAI delegation met Sepp Blatter and FIFA in Zurich and pleaded with them to let us in through the back door at the 2010 finals.
The FAI, well aware that FIFA were never going to offer us a rematch against the French frauds, have got desperate, you see, in their bid to earn a slice of the huge World Cup income.