Drinking at Sports Events

Last weekend I was at Ireland vs. France in the Aviva Stadium, I made my way to my seat around an hour before kickoff nothing strange with that but as kick off approached and everybody made it in time for the 3pm kickoff, and then it began the constant in and out to the bar and then in and out to the toilet.

I realise that a sports event is much more than the duration of a match or whatever the event is, people want to be entertained for the admission price alone. But if you’re going to dispatch someone out to the bar every 15 or 20 minutes to refill your glass, either stay outside or leave the Stadium altogether. There is nothing worse than having to move out of the way to let a patron in and out on multiple occasions to go and refill a glass or empty themselves of the excesses of the afternoon.

Yes I am a non drinker so will never have to wonder what it’s like to want a drink during a game. I am not for one minute complaining about parents who may need a child to the toilet but the majority over the age of 18, It is a constant stream of people and that can annoy people no end not just myself but having asked a few people this week about this situation they have all said it can be a major distraction to the given event.

I realise that people will want a drink while they watch the match but how you can enjoy anything when you’re constantly wondering when will I get my next pint, I think it is then time to decide to go to the game or just stay in the Bar. Not a big decision to make but the majority of punters would appreciate not having to nearly sit on a swivel chair and having to constantly move in and out.

I appeal to everyone to please be on time to the games and please oh please keep the movements to an absolute minimum and come and enjoy the sporting event. If you can’t keep away from the bar, just stay at home……

Ireland Vs France Review 2019

Last night Ireland tasted defeat for the 3rd time in this year’s 6 Nations campaign and off the back of the 47-17 loss, Ireland will now need to beat Wales away from home to stand any hope of finishing in 3rd place in the Championship. The game started well with Ireland replying to an early French try but Ireland got back into the game with an unconverted Ciara Griffin try. It was tit for tat for the opening 30 minutes with Ireland showing up well in close quarters and putting in a strong shift up front.

Unfortunately for Ireland they could not keep playing the game at the same pace as the French whose ball handling skills were a sight to behold when they got into the open spaces with 2018 World Player of the year nominee Jessy Tremouliere playing a key role in keeping France moving forward and moving the Irish defence around and then in turn the French scrum was rock solid and put Ireland on the back foot from the start.

For Ireland, players like captain Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Sene Naoupu and Enya Breen who made her first Six Nations start at outside centre all stood up and were counted even when things were beginning to get away from Ireland in the 2nd half.

The tough questions will again be asked about the basics of taking out the player and then pass but there can be no disputing how strong France were throughout the field and even with the heavy hitting pair of Lena Corsin and Safie N’diaye not in the 23, France still had plenty to spare and they will do everything in their final home fixture and finish in 2nd spot behind England who may now go on and complete the Grand Slam against Scotland away next weekend.

For Ireland, focus will now turn to Wales away next week and the players will have a final chance to find a performance to end the Championship on a positive note.

This Championship has been mixed but one final chance at picking up a morale boosting win is still there and this week although it will be hard to keep up the positive feeling around the squad but that is just what Adam Griggs, Jeff Carter and Mike Ross will need to do and let’s hope they can take out the frustrations of the last two performances out on Wales who beat Ireland in the World Cup in 2017……

Katie Taylor – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled…

Katie – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled….

Having watched the Ross Whitaker directed film on Katie Taylor last night, I think the film did an adequate job revealing all about her life and times and yes it may not have made any new revelations about her career or personal life but it did give us an indication of the thought process with which she made the decision to go from the amateur game which yielded many World and European titles along with Olympic Gold in London in 2012 to the pro game in late 2016.

It examines the strength of her relationship both personal and professional with her father and long time coach Peter Taylor. It shows us the strong faith that she and her Mam have in God. The film reveals that it was a tweet to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn that started the ball rolling to get Katie into the pro game.

Brian Peters who is her manager, took on that job as a favour to her mother Bridget and to look after an aspect of the game that she was never comfortable dealing with and also the amateur game would not prepare you for the rigours of the professional game.

Ross Enamait, who is based in the US is her trainer and their relationship has strengthened in the few years that they have been together. We also see that Katie has re located to the US in a bid to dominate the professional fight game like she dominated the amateur ranks for well over a decade.

Since she has turned pro she has boxed in the USA in Madison Square Garden to name one venue ,Cardiff at the Principality Stadium , in London at Wembley and so on. We in Ireland may be waiting to see Katie box on home soil due to circumstances outside of the boxing world. While Ray Moylette made a return to box on home soil before Christmas although this return wasn’t successful it did herald the return of Pro boxing to these shores.

While boxing did return, the hope of Katie headlining a show on home soil does seem to be a bit of a pipe dream in the current climate. England will be the closet destination to see her live one feels. She is a legend of Irish sport with all she has achieved so far and this may continue into 2019.

A word on film maker Ross Whitaker who took on this project, he also brought the documentary on Anthony Foley to our screens. It will be interesting to see what he has planned for next time….

 

 

 

The Honey Spike

The Honey Spike

So another hugely play was staged by the Tarbert Theatre Players over two dates in Tarbert Community Centre and then over four dates in St Johns Theatre from last Thursday to last night ( Sunday) to packed houses each evening.

This play was penned by Bryan Mc Mahon and tells the story of the Claffey family from who travel from Kenmare in the South to the Giants Causeway in the North of Ireland and back to Kerry so Breda Claffey can give birth in her favoured Honey Spike ( Hospital ).

The play was directed by Mary Lavery Carrig and had a big support crew with people like Trish Griffin on lighting , Helen Enright took on the Sound department with the help of Jack Mulvihill , Eithne Griffin was in charge back stage with Maura Mc Dermott taking up a new role this year as Costume and Make up manager , the set management was controlled by Johnny Block Mulvihill and Danielle Considine. Maureen Considine played the part of MC and this author played a small role as Front Of House.

What the last few months have shown is that hard work and team work do make a winning combination and those two aspects have helped bring this play back to life. This play follows on from the staging of Diarmy a few years back.

The Cast had some new faces this year with people like James Enright , Sean Carrig and Les Pledge coming on board alongside some more familiar faces like PJ Normile , Yvonne O Keeffe Fox and Tom Stack. The Cast numbered 18 in total and that is tough to marry all the different personalities but they managed it perfectly and delivered 6 wonderful nights of entertainment to full houses.

The Tarbert Theatre Players will take a well earned break for a few months and who knows they may be back in 2019, We will just have to wait and see……

The Full Cast was :

Narrator/ Sergeant O Brien : John Dowling

Breda Claffey : Yvonne O Keeffe Fox

Martin Claffey : PJ Normile

Mickle Sherlock : Tom Stack

Poll Poll Sherlock : Priscilla Donovan

Meg Mc Cutcheon/ Traveller Women 3 : Trish Healy

Horan IRA Man : Padraig O Connor

IRA Man 1/ DickeyBird : Shane Wall

IRA Man 2 / Shone Mc Queen : Cormac Wall

British Army Officer : Les Pledge

British Army Sergeant : Sean Carrig

British Army Private : James Enright

Midland Housewife : Niamh Wall

Franciscan Monk : Gerry O Connell

Winifred Mc Queen : Noelle Mc Gibney

Michael Anthony Mollumby : Thomas Mulvihill

Traveller Women 1 : Helen Enright

Traveller Woman 2 : Angela O Connor

Support Crew :

Front Of House : Cian Mc Gibney

Set Manager : Johnny Block Mulvihill , Danielle Considine

Costume / Make Up : Maura Mc Dermott

Back Stage Manager : Eithne Griffin

Sound Manager’s: Helen Enright / Jack Mulvihill

Lighting Manager : Trish Griffin

Director/Producer : Mary Lavery Carrig

MC : Maureen Considine

Liam Miller Tribute Game

Liam Miller Tribute Game

I found myself in Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday for the Liam Miller Tribute game which saw some of the finest football talent grace the field in Pairc Ui Chaoimh all in honour of the late Liam Miller who represented Celtic, Manchester United and the Republic Of Ireland on 21 occasions.

The great and good of the game came out to support the Miller family with men like Roy Keane, Denis Irwin and also a few of his underage team mates as well namely Andy Reid and John O Shea. Some of the best players to play under Sir Alex Ferguson and Martin O Neill at Celtic and latterly with Ireland took to the pitch yesterday.

For so many children and a few adults I might add it was a chance to see the likes of Keane , Scholes , Neville , Irwin and Giggs, a number of key cogs in successful United sides over the last 25 years. It was also testament to the popularity of Liam Miller throughout the three teams he will be mostly associated with Manchester United, Celtic and Ireland that so many men made the trip to Cork to take part and show support for Liam’s family.

To everyone who worked tirelessly for the last few months to make sure the game went off without a hitch much take huge credit, the work that went into moving the game from Turners Cross to Pairc Ui Chaoimh this move of course caused a few headaches but once all issues were solved it let the organisers get to the job of putting on a day that people would remember and the Miller family could be proud of.

They did that and more and of course as has been mentioned the 90 minutes was secondary but the day as a whole was terrific and the decision to move the game certainly did not affect the atmosphere in any way.

It is also fair to say that Roy Keane is still idolised on Leeside, because as soon as he entered the game yesterday the roar that greeted his introduction put you in no doubt that he is still “Keano” the man that led United through a glorious period in the club’s history.

I was privileged to be part of the 42,000 souls that descended onto Leeside yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to Liam Miller footballer, son, husband, father, team mate and friend to many. Rest Easy Liam, it was an honour to get the opportunity to pay tribute to you yesterday in the presence of your family…

World Cup 2018

Sporting Rivalry

Over the past week I have been surprised by the animosity toward the England football team, moving from the usual banter to the more spiteful. Every few years this continuing talk of what sport is the best on the Planet bring everyone out of the woodwork. Everybody has an opinion about what sport is the best.

England had no real pressure on them in this tournament and although you can be sure there was internal pressure from within the squad. Most pundits were surprised by how far England managed to get by getting to a first Semi Final since 1990. This squad didn’t have as much collective talent as the squads since 1990.

We have seen many people across social media channels giving there opinions on the England performance , many people saying that they wouldn’t follow England because they are Irish  , although if you took a poll , most of those “ Fans “ would follow an English club side. I myself am an Arsenal supporter. It was good to see England finally throw off the shackles and get as far as they did, although they were beaten by a terrific Croatian team that will give France plenty to think about in Moscow.

Back to sporting rivalry, we in this country have no issue playing up to the gallery saying we have the greatest fans in the world in any sport be that Football followers , rugby supporters and any other followers of the numerous sports we participate in.

It is very easy to sit back and scoff at the achievements of England in the 2018 World Cup but we in this country should use it as a motivational tool to see can we put in the same type of performances in try to qualify for Euro 2020 which will of course be held across many cities including Dublin.

It is time we stopped all  the one up man ship and get behind every team that is involved in competition. It seems to be very easy for people to have a pop at certain sports. Rugby is the prime example and although some pundits claim that rugby is now the sport of the people in Ireland which isn’t true at all and never will be the case given that the GAA and Football still hold sway over other minority sports.

Rugby is played in only a small number of countries whereas, Football is played all over the world. Rugby has done plenty of work through the shortened version of the game in 7s, it still will need time to get places. It will never have the same appeal as Football has in a worldwide context.

Let’s hope that the achievements of the past few weeks by the England team will not be lost and from the FA’s position they will give Gareth Southgate more time to continue his work trying to change the way his squad do things.

A World Cup Semi Final was achieved with no expectations , now the challenge will be to try and better that achievement starting with Nations League starting this September in place of Friendlies and hopefully culminating in a place at the 2020 European Championships….

By

Cian Mc Gibney

13/07/2018

Ireland Squad -2018 Oz Tour

Ireland Squad – Trip To Oz

Ireland head for Australia in June for three Test Matches against a Michael Cheika coached Aussies side who will want to bounce back from a poor Rugby Championship campaign. Australia will know what awaits them having faced England back in 2016 and they were Grand Slam winners also.

Joe Schmidt will realise that this is an ideal opportunity for his squad to really put out a statement of intent ahead of November 2018 where the World Champions will come to town for one final time before the World Cup in Japan in late 2019.

Ireland are now 2nd in the World and this a real fill up to supporters but you can be sure that all the players will want to drive forward and this Tour will give them the chance to win a Series in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time since 1979.

The squad has two additions in the form of Tadgh Beirne and Ross Byrne, both men will hope to earn a first cap down South. In Beirne’s case he had to head to Wales to get regular game time and in the two years he has spent with the Scarlets he has developed into a really good quality back row and has also played in the second row. He has turned into a master of the turnover and is also quite adept at the “Choke Tackle” that Les Kiss introduced to the Irish set up during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Ross Byrne has had to bide his time to gain International recognition in the Green jersey having played alongside Luke Mc Grath and Garry Ringrose at 20s level. Both men have graduated to senior level and have been capped on multiple occasions.

Now Ross Byrne will have at least one shot at nailing down the third out half position in the Irish squad. This Tour will be very beneficial to this squad who will want to show the World that they can kick on from winning a Grand Slam and with the way Joe Schmidt has worked his magic since the failure of the 2015 World Cup and build real strength in depth with real quality in each position.

Yes out half is still an issue but we will see the quality of Ross Byrne who has been selected ahead of Joey Carbery many times this year for Leinster. Byrne’s younger brother Harry will steer the Under 20s ship as first choice out half in France this summer. The quality in that family isn’t just confined to one family member.

Micheal Cheika has gotten in early saying it is the ideal chance at lowering the Irish colours since the Grand Slam win in March. Joe Schmidt will have his side well guarded against compliancy and they will go after three wins to seal a very special achievement that hasn’t been done in 39 years.

The time is now for this squad to show that last March wasn’t just a one off and consistency can be achieved until the World Cup in late 2019 where Ireland will try and get to a first ever Semi Final since the first World Cup in 1987……

By

Cian Mc Gibney

24/05/2018

Munster – The Year That Was

Munster – The Year That Was

Munster were defeated by Leinster in the RDS on Saturday by a single point 16-15. Leinster are now on course for the double when they play Scarlets in Dublin this weekend. From a Munster perspective it is another campaign that will end in disappointment, 2 Semi Finals and two defeats like 2017.

Johan Van Graan took the role of Head Coach after Rassie Erasmus left for South Africa last November. This campaign like last year has been disrupted by injuries and upheaval in the coaching ticket. Looking at the way this year ended with Munster in two semi finals but like last year both ended in losses.

The major question will be how can Munster try and gain enough momentum and also make the correct adjustments so they can go beyond just competing in semi finals and get back to Finals. They did make the 2017 Pro 12 Final and were heavily defeated by The Scarlets.

Two tries late on covered over the cracks and the hope was that the 2017/2018 season could be the start of something special but alas it wasn’t to be and now the Munster management committee and coaching staff will have a full summer to stew on what went before and they will need to come up with some new type of game plan to try and break down the mental barrier that seems to block them in Finals rugby.

The attacking game plan has been virtually nonexistent with Munster struggling to get consistency in the out half position this year and to that end the decision to give Bill Johnston a two year deal will hopefully give Munster an opportunity to blood a new 10 and try and build a new partnership between Conor Murray and his understudy Duncan Williams and the 10s that are already in the Munster squad, JJ Hanrahan and Ian Keatley. Adding Neal Cronin to the scrum half department will bring added competition.

Here’s hoping that season 2018/2019 will bring more pleasant times for the Munster squad and Fans

By

Cian Mc Gibney

21/05/2018

Leinster – Champions Once More

Leinster – Champions Once More

Leinster secured there 4th European Crown yesterday after a titanic struggle with Munster’s conquers Racing 92. Isa Nacewa who will retire at the end of the season kicked two huge penalties in the last 10 minutes to help in securing another European crown for Ireland and a 4th European Cup for Leinster.

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have had this Leinster side playing a different type of rugby than the rest of Europe this year and the return of Robbie Henshaw has also been crucial add to that the way Jamison Gibson Park has come into the side in the Semi Final and also in the second half yesterday.

James Lowe will know he will get his chance next year and will hopefully be able to add to fine displays in the Champions Cup next year. His focus will now be on a Pro 14 Semi Final next weekend in Dublin.

Back to yesterday, Leinster would have seen the way that Munster struggle to break to a really solid Racing defence and on a few occasions yesterday it looked as if they were going to break through thanks to the hard running of Henshaw and Ringrose , while up front James Ryan and Dan Leavy worked tirelessly in the pursuit of glory.

Although Jonathan Sexton didn’t have a vintage game with the placed boot but was solid and extremely effective with the ball in hand. This winning display was built on hard work and a strong set piece with one or two moments of brilliance.

Racing will know that this game came down to one or two key moments in the 2nd half where there scrum half Teddy Iribaren made one fatal mistake and the Leinster breakdown work managed to win the ball back and get the ball back down the field and from that they got the first of two late penalties.

Racing 92 for their part will be bitterly disappointed that there second Final appearance since 2016 has ended in defeat. Donnacha Ryan worked hard to try and disrupt the Leinster ball at line out time and he managed to disrupt only a small number of Leinster line outs. Racing came to play with a very aggressive line speed and with Vakatawa and Chavancy leading the line in defence.

This game was not for the purist that particular line will be used over the next few days to describe the way this game was played.  Leinster won’t be one bit upset by the way they played yesterday and will now be able to point to the fact that they have now joined Toulouse on 4 European wins in the history of the competition.

The work that Leinster have put in at academy level was defiantly laid bare with the Leinster A team involved in the British and Irish Cup Final although they were beaten 22-7 in that game , a number of those players will be blooded next year. 

Sean O Brien has missed a large part of this year , Jamie Heaslip retired but players like Dan Leavy , Jack Conan , Max Deegan have made up for those losses. Girvan Dempsey and Noel Mc Namara have done Trojan work with the academy and then all those players that were introduced like Larmour , Deegan this season took full advantage and have there just rewards with a European triumph and maybe a Pro 14 Final in Dublin to come although Munster face them in the Pro 14 Semi Final next weekend.

Huge congratulations to all involved with Leinster Rugby , yesterday was a huge fill up for all in Irish Rugby. Saracens have dominated in recent years, Toulon before that and finally after 6 years an Irish team has climbed back to the summit of European Club Rugby.

By

Cian Mc Gibney

13/05/2018

Ireland 2018 Summer Tour

Ireland –2018 Summer Tour

This June, Ireland head for Australia to take them on in a three Test Series and will be full of confidence after winning a Grand Slam back in March. Joe Schmidt will want his squad to put down a marker ahead of the World Cup in 2019 but more importantly before they face New Zealand in November.

Like the tour of South Africa in 2016, Ireland will want to at the very least get a win in one of the three Tests to show that they can win away from home and on a consistent basis. Joe Schmidt has worked extremely hard since 2015 to bring Ireland to a place where they are able to challenge for trophies on a regular basis.

Here is the squad I would take to Australia in June :

Forwards – Dave Kilcoyne , Cian Healy , Jack Mc Grath , James Cronin.

Sean Cronin , Rory Best , Dave Heffernan , Niall Scannell.

 Finlay Bealham , John Ryan , Tadgh Furlong , Andrew Porter.

Billy Holland , Ultan Dillane , James Ryan , Devin Toner.

Jack O Donoghue , Dan Leavy , Peter O Mahony , Jordi Murphy , Jack Conan , CJ Stander. (23)

 

Backs – Conor Murray , John Cooney , Luke Mc Grath.

Jonathan Sexton , Ross Byrne , Joey Carbery.

Robbie Henshaw , Rory Scannell , Sam Arnold , Bundee Aki , Gary Ringrose.

Andrew Conway , Keith Earls , Matt Healy , Jacob Stockdale , Darren Sweetnam.

Rob Kearney , Jordan Larmour , Tiernan O Halloran.(19)

By

Cian Mc Gibney

07/05/2018