Cathal Dervanby Cathal Dervan
- Rugby ace Ronan O’Gara makes us proud to be Irish
- We won't see the likes of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguon again
- Irish defender Paul McShane - A good guy finally finishes first
- Munster’s defeat in the Heineken Cup proves Celtic Tiger didn’t take our soul
- Alex Ferguson and Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez - the good and the bad of Premier League action
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.
Giovanni Trapattoni went back to work this week and saw not one but two games in England as life gets back to something approaching normality for Irish football post Paris.
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.