Semi Final Review

Semi – Final Review

So it is Toulon and Saracens into the Heineken Cup final on May 24th after the weekend’s semi final action in London and Marseilles. Saracens did a clinical and ruthless job on Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham winning 46-6 with tries from Owen Farrell and Chris Ashton along with a try from Chris Wyles. Also a solid kicking display from Alex Goode helped Sarries on their way.

 Jaques Burger was Saracens key man on this occasion making 27 tackles and stopping every Clermont attack at source. This is down to the defensive system put in place by Paul Gustard called the “ Wolfpack” defence.

 Coach Mark Mc Call can now plan for a European final with his captain Steve Borthwick and off the back of such a dominate display in a semi final winning the game in record fashion. Can Sarries now put in another huge shift and win a first Heineken Cup title , only time will tell !!

2nd Semi Final

Toulon are through to their 2nd final in a row after a 24 -16 win over Munster and are on course to win a Heineken Cup , Top 14 double. With the help of Jonny Wilkinson ‘s boot and some poor Munster discipline, Toulon went into a 15-9 lead in reply Ian Keatley added 3 penalties for Munster. Just before half time Delon Armitage kicked a huge penalty to put Toulon 18-9 up at the break. This was the first nail in the Munster coffin.

 After the break Munster did come out with renewed vigour and scored a try through Simon Zebo and a conversion from Ian Keatley after Steffon Armitage had a try chalked off for a foot on touch. Munster were on the front foot for the next ten minutes but when Keith Earls was sin binned for tackling a player without the ball , Wilkinson kicked another penalty to stretch the Toulon lead to 21-16.

 Munster then got one final chance in the 71st minute when they won a penalty and kicked for the corner and won the line out but their maul  was sacked and with that went Munster ‘s last chance , Wilkinson Kicked a late penalty to put Toulon 24-16 up and into their 2nd straight  final. Who would bet against Toulon making it two from two in Europe certainly not this writer….

My Love Affair with Rugby


My Love Affair with Rugby

My love affair with the oval ball started 18 years ago or so when I travelled to watch Listowel and also going to watch the AIL. People look me when Munster play and think I am daft as a brush with the way I am when they play whether they win, lose or draw. I am quite an emotional person and rugby seems to trigger those emotions time and again.

 In the last few years it has happened more and more when my younger brother has been involved with Garryowen, Munster or this year Crescent. Like most rugby supporters I feel like I have a duty toward the team I am following to get behind them in whatever way possible.

 For those that remember me in my teenage years while supporting these teams I can now admit that I went overboard at times but with the passage of time and a few life lessons learned I have grown up  and some may even say it isn’t bad sitting near me for a game. With my attention now drawn to the journalism world and my growing ambitions to become a sports journalist I just felt it was time to put my feeling down on paper.

 Rugby has given me more pleasure that I could have ever imagined a few years back. Getting to watch Fionn develop as a rugby player has been such a journey that has taken in Ravenhill , Dooradoyle and of course Thomond Park. He has pulled on the sky blue of Garryowen , the green and gold of Listowel and the red of Munster and maybe one day the green of Ireland.

The last two years have thought me so much about the game I love. From a personal point of view I would like to thank my parents for bringing me to all those games ,  I would also like to thank Munster and Ireland for giving me some of the greatest moments of my now nearly 24 years on this earth. A Huge thank you too to Fionn for going as far as he has. I think it may now be time for this author to start achieving and making dreams of my own. One final note , What you achieved this year Fionn has given me back the hunger to fight for my dream , Thank You For That…


By Cian Mc Gibney.


GAA , Sky Deal

The GAA, Sky Deal

The GAA has just signed a three year TV deal with Sky Sports to show a number of games over the next three years. Is this a good deal for the ordinary GAA supporter or is this a deal for the big wigs in GAA HQ. It has been an interesting week we have heard from both sides of the argument for and against. The first year of the deal will see some of the top Provincial games go from free to air to paid TV.

 Can this deal really be all that bad for the GAA , who could argue with the exposure that the GAA will get from this deal , it will tap into already established markets and put the GAA into millions of homes every Saturday and Sunday for at least the next three years. It will also raise the profile of some of the GAA’s biggest names like Bernard Brogan of Dublin and Henry Shefflin of Kilkenny.

This won’t be a bad thing, look at the opportunities for the GAA‘s commercial department, In the last 12 months we have seen Dublin go from Vodafone to AIG in sponsorship and who knows after another 12 months maybe another county be they an established county or an up and coming county could make the same move and  gain a major sponsor. I know the GAA will say this was not a motivation for the move but it could very well happen that a small county could gain big from this.

The GPA will be of course aware that this move will also impact some of their members to push for pay for play, it may not happen in the first 12 months but 2 years into this deal mark my words players will want a slice of cake and they may return to strike mode to force the GAA top brass into negotiations for better entitlements. Can the GAA handle this if it were to come to pass!!

The ordinary GAA supporter will feel hard done by but they have to look beyond the negative and see the positive of this move, not many amateur organisations get this sort of an offer now I do understand that at elite level the GAA is far from amateur but still 90% of the GAA is amateur from volunteers right through to players.

The GAA has always been slow to change right up to the 70s the Ban was enforced and that changed some people said “foreign sports” would never be played at Croke Park and that changed back in 2007. So for those of you that see this move to Sky as a bad thing I implore you to reserve judgement until after 2017.

Hand on heart how many of those people that have said in the last week that the GAA have left the ordinary fan down have Sky in their own homes with or without the sports package??



Cian Mc Gibney


Linda Holland Cork’s Flying Angel

Linda Holland Cork’s flying Angel

When Linda Holland left West Cork back in 2009, little did she know that 4 years later her sporting prowess would bring her to the attention of friends and family at home in Glengariff and in her adopted home of Perth. She did what most young Irish people do when they leave these shores and she went off and joined a GAA club.

She works with Neptune Diving Services and it was her colleagues that pushed her to go forward for the trials, she has gone through all the trials and made through to a 35 strong squad that started playing games in December 2013.

The Australian LFL is an extension of the American LFL and is getting bigger day by day. It is a 7 on 7 contest played under american football league rules.

Linda is from a very sporty family, she has played GAA with CIT and Nemo Rangers , rugby with Ballincollig and also hockey and golf.

She is playing with the Western Australia Angels, a club based in Perth , they are the top ranked team in the Australian LFL. She plays in the Angels defensive line.

Having watched some of the footage of this sport, it is most defiantly not for the easily offended. It is great to see a woman from this little Island of ours making waves down in Western Australia.

Linda really is Cork’s flying angel.


Cian Mc Gibney.