A great result for Irish Rugby: Ireland 19 South Africa 16…

football stadium

This was another outstanding performance by the Irish team beating the World Champions and justifying their World No. 1 ranking. It was a tough grinding encounter with a lot of injuries and with the Springboks seeking to make their superior size and bulk up front tell. But Ireland never flinched from the collisions usually double jobbing with one tackler going low and another seeking to stop the momentum or target the ball. South Africa’s kicking game wasn’t up to their …

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Should we boycott the World Cup?

gold-colored trophy and soccerball

You wait years for a world cup and four come along at once. In recent weeks we’ve had world cups in women’s rugby union, men’s rugby league, T20 cricket – and now we’ve got the big one coming up – the long awaited 2022 FIFA World Cup in soccer, possibly the most controversial tournament ever and dubbed by Amnesty International as the “world cup of shame” It will be the first world cup to be held in the Middle East, …

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Irish Rugby has a good season but loses out by fine margins…

white, blue, and red football on green grass

Before anybody gets carried away with doom and gloom about Irish Rugby’s lack of Trophies this year, it might be worth recalling the fine margins by which we lost out. Ireland won the Triple Crown and only lost out on a Grand Slam by 30-24 away. Victories in Paris have always been as rare as hens’ teeth. In the European Cup Ulster lost 50-49 to Toulouse on aggregate while in the Quarter Finals, Munster drew with them 24 -24 before …

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The risky sport of road racing…

motorbike, racing, motorcycle

The TT races are well underway in the Isle of Man and sadly there have been three fatalities one of whom, Davy Morgan, was from Northern Ireland. Being from NI his passing was widely reported and commented on in the local media and inevitably questions were asked about the safety of the racing and the wisdom of running such events which carried such a high risk of fatalities. I have heard these questions being asked many times over the years …

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Playing New Games Without Frontiers…

sochi 2014, russia, olympiad

As we’re all too aware in our own small corner of the world, politics and sport can often be a toxic mix. But in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine the combustion of sporting and politico-economic interests was inevitable. George Orwell famously described sport as “war minus the shooting”. The same principle applies today with many governments using it as a propaganda weapon. But one thing which has changed massively since Orwell’s day is the lucrative multi-billion dollar …

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Next 100 years: Ethical foundations are a prerequisite not an afterthought for a better future…

resilience, victory, force

Hugo MacNeill, at an Irish Association meeting in December, answered a question put to him by old teammate Trevor Ringland: how do we get relationships on the island right over the next 100 years that we got so wrong over the last 100? There has been much talk recently about the topic of a Border Poll on Irish unity. Reference is always made to the Good Friday Agreement and the specific point (on page 4) relating to the ability of the …

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Tyrone are All-Ireland Football Champions…

The Mayo curse strikes again as Tyrone beat Mayo to win their 4th All-Ireland Football Title. In a thrilling match, Mayo had a promising lead at the start but Tyrone soon took over and Mayo was behind most of the game. Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Tyrone v Mayo in the All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final here!Full-Time Score:Tyrone 2-14Mayo 0-15#GAANOW pic.twitter.com/ka4qFsOxbY — The GAA (@officialgaa) September 11, 2021 You have to feel sorry for Mayo, who have now lost …

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Grassroots Gaelic Football and All-Ireland Fever…

Tomorrow, Tyrone and Mayo will stand centre stage in the All-Ireland Football Final. It is the ultimate sporting showpiece, with desperate demand for tickets at a reduced capacity Croke Park. Ballygawley is bouncing and Glencull looks great – the spiritual Harte-lands of Tyrone GAA are dressed in red and white, and the bunting is up. There are good discounts to be had on car flags and headbands at Ballygawley Roundabout, as well, “each day between 4pm and 7pm”, according to …

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World Half Marathon record broken at this morning’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon…

running, sports, fit

While you were probably snoozing in bed or reaching for your second slice of toast, Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw broke the women’s half-marathon world record in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon. She did it in 63 minutes and 43 seconds which cut 19 seconds off the previous mark set by Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich earlier this year. She’s the first woman to ever go sub 1 hour 4mins. Yalemzerf Yehualaw wins the 2021 Antrim Coast Half Marathon and sets a World Athletics …

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South Korean TV images used to represent each nation in the Olympics…

South Korean TV thought it would be helpful to viewers to have images to represent each nation in the Olympics opening ceremony. Italy was pizza, which to be fair kinda makes sense. But then it got weirder with Ukraine represented by Chernobyl, Haiti was a riot, Marshall Islands, it said “was once a nuclear test site for the US, and is composed of more than 1,200 islands.” El Salvador was introduced with a picture representing Bitcoin. South Korean broadcaster MBC …

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My rules for sport…

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved sport. The reluctance for learning I showed in the classroom rarely reared its head on the hockey pitch or athletics field and although I was never going to be an elite sportswoman, I had the determination and resolve to be a reasonable one. It, therefore, follows that in 1973, after taking my A levels and doing particularly badly, I chose a pathway most suited to my abilities and attended …

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So what do you think of Euro 2020?

A year late, but hey. Last night Italy beat England on penalties to win the Euro 2020 Soccer tournament. A moment Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy will never forget… …the moment they became Euro 2020 champions#ITAENG | #ITVFootball | #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/HpWY8SEoon — ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2021 Cue the inevitable from the English press: To be fair penalties are a bad way to end a match, you might as well do a coin toss. Still, for soccer fans, it was …

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“We Don’t Like Naked Greed: We Like Our Greed Sharply Dressed.” The Super League backlash…

It’s okay folks. Those bastions of the people, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea and Abu Dhabi’s Manchester City have interceded to save the day on behalf of Joe Football Supporting Public. They pulled out of the tri-nation Super League, followed semi-swiftly by the other four English clubs. ‘Pres Perez’ called a Zoom meeting but couldn’t keep the band together. So much for the Little Power-Grab That Could. Sorry if you were one of the not-so-vocal few who thought that watching Cristiano Ronaldo …

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European Super League proposal a stab in the back to the sport we hold so dear

It has been bubbling away in the background for months. But finally last night the hammer blow was dealt, a new European Super League was announced with 15 founding clubs. This league has guaranteed automatic qualification for all founding clubs. There will be mechanisms in place for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season. Yes, you read that right, only 5 other teams across the whole of Europe. However, the European Super League …

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Build Belfast Back Better – #imaginebelfast wants your ideas

Ahead of next week’s packed programme, Imagine! festival are calling for your ideas to imagine a better post-pandemic Belfast. How would you Build Belfast Back Better? You can submit up to three ideas that reimagine the city in the face of the pandemic and the challenges presented by Brexit, increased poverty, loneliness and mental health issues.

The State of Us … Previewing the seventh annual Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics (22-28 March)

A quick rummage through the Imagine! Belfast programme coming up between 22–28 March. Under the strapline of The State of Us, there’ll be exhibitions, workshops, lectures, film, comedy, music, spoken word, lectures, theatre and quizzes. Voices from at home and abroad. The festival isn’t afraid to challenge. It doesn’t expect participants to agree with everything that is said. It’s about making people think. Widening their horizons. Broadening their understanding. Developing their empathy. Helping them figure out why – and if – they truly believe the hunches and biases they may have been living with for a lifetime.

ESRC Virtual Festival – Beyond the Touchline: Grassroots football and radical politics…

Football has always been political. Its widespread global following and the deep dedication of fans make it a platform through which socio-political issues play out. As philosopher – and avid football fan – Jacques Derrida once claimed: “Beyond the touchline, there is nothing.” In other words, the social, economic, political and cultural events of the wider world manifest in the stadium and through the game, its players and fans. Recent times have seen high profile examples of this, including Marcus …

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A Northern Ireland Rorschach test…

Tell me what do you see? TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club in Galway. #RoyalVisitIreland 📸: Getty images pic.twitter.com/HF8Xzl3uok — Isa (@isaguor) March 5, 2020 Leo I’m really sorry but somebody had to do it..#GAA #RoyalVisitIreland pic.twitter.com/BtfOIMkK9Q — Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) March 5, 2020 “(Rorschach) II” by dailyinvention is licensed under CC BY Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background …

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Children of the Ceasefire: Reflections on the Border II

Irish. Northern Irish. A global citizen. Three ways in which I described myself in my previous blog post. In describing this, I highlighted my concerns to being constrained to one certain identity. However, as discussions on Brexit intensify, so does the issue of the border and these constraints of identity. I am a holder of an Irish passport. I play and follow Irish sports.  I have studied at an Irish university. I have been christened with an Irish name. I …

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Future Ireland / Loyalist Voices: A Conversation I’d Love To Have Someday

I like the idea of the conversation. I’ve always found conversations very useful. Arguments are too heated, always driven by aggression, and even debates always seem poised in an uncomfortable, adversarial way. But the conversation is good. A conversation is calm and much more likely to be geared toward understanding.  It was mid-morning in a nice bar in Northumberland Road, Dublin. My friend was across the road in Dublin and Wicklow’s Orange Hall. I’d been in there earlier and absolutely loved it, as any Loyalist anorak …

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