The 10 greatest Gaelic football teams of all time [Oct. 2016 update]

The 10 greatest Gaelic football teams of all time [Oct. 2016 update]

In light of another Dublin victory in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, their fourth since 2011, it is time for an update to this article which I published back in July 2015. I have retained the majority of the original article with a few small alterations here and there; most notably the addition of this current Dublin team into the mix. As such, that means one team leaves the fore and takes their place among the notable mentions (bye bye Cavan).

Continue reading “The 10 greatest Gaelic football teams of all time [Oct. 2016 update]”

Advertisements

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: The “Irish Whales”

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: The “Irish Whales”

And so with the 2016 Rio Olympics entering its final couple of days before the Olympic torch is, quite literally, passed over to Tokyo, I thought it would be a good idea to conclude my recent fascination with the extraordinary “Irish Whales”. Having already discussed John Flanagan, Matt McGrath and Martin Sheridan in greater detail, I will be focusing on the lesser-known members of the group. Before that, however, one burning question needs to be addressed first; how did the “Irish Whales” come to be known by their moniker?

Continue reading “Great Irish sportspeople abroad: The “Irish Whales””

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Martin Sheridan

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Martin Sheridan

Martin Sheridan is the most successful Irish-born athlete in Olympic history, having won five golds, three silvers and one bronze medal during a period of four years. Considered the greatest all-round athlete of the first decade of the 20th century, Co. Mayo’s Martin Sheridan is the topic of today’s “great Irish sportspeople abroad” series.

Continue reading “Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Martin Sheridan”

Jesse Owens: 1936, Hitler & the forgotten snub

Jesse Owens: 1936, Hitler & the forgotten snub

The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin was Adolf Hitler’s opportunity to showcase Nazi Germany to the world and in particular to promote his ideals of Aryan racial supremacy, through sport. Perversely, the Olympic motto of “faster, higher, stronger” did not sound out of place from the Nazi propaganda being spread at the time.

The German athletes certainly lived up to Hitler’s expectations as they comfortably topped the medals table, winning a total of 89 medals, 33 of which were gold. Despite this, the star athlete of the Games was not a German, but an African-American by the name of Jesse Owens whose four gold medals shattered the Nazi fallacy of Aryan supremacy. As a result Hitler refused to shake his hand, or so the tale goes. Owens was snubbed but not necessarily by Hitler because as is usually the case, history is written (and edited) by the victors. Owens was just as badly treated by his home nation.

Continue reading “Jesse Owens: 1936, Hitler & the forgotten snub”

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Matt McGrath

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Matt McGrath

Continuing with the theme of the Olympic Games, today’s “Great Irish sportspeople abroad” will focus on another of the extraordinary “Irish Whales”, Matt McGrath. McGrath was the successor to John Flanagan, the subject of yesterday’s post, as the world’s leading hammer thrower. A fellow Munster man, McGrath remained in the top ten in the sport until the age of 50. A three-time Olympic medallist, McGrath was perhaps the most colourful and influential of the “Irish Whales”.

Continue reading “Great Irish sportspeople abroad: Matt McGrath”

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: John Flanagan

Great Irish sportspeople abroad: John Flanagan

Pub quiz question: who was Ireland’s first-ever Olympic medallist? The answer, more often than not, is Dr Pat O’Callaghan, who won the hammer throw at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. While it is true O’Callaghan was our country’s first Olympic medallist, he was not the first Irishman to win an Olympic medal.* That honour belongs to another, Limerick’s John Flanagan, who competed under the banner of the United States of America, and is the subject of today’s “Great Irish sportspeople abroad”.

Continue reading “Great Irish sportspeople abroad: John Flanagan”

The 10 most outstanding individual performances in a single RWC game

The 10 most outstanding individual performances in a single RWC game

After Australia’s semi-final victory over Argentina last Sunday, most of the talk following the game was in regard to David Pocock’s tireless display.

Pocock won four turnovers and was first to the breakdown quicker than the AA ever could manage. There was the invariable deluge of memes and jokes, with many citing as one of, if not the, greatest performance a player has produced at the Rugby World Cup. Such hyperbole got me thinking; what are the most outstanding individual performances the World Cup has seen during its brief history?

Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the position, the most common role in this list is the fly-half. However, in order to ensure parity, there are only four no. 10s who feature in this list.

Continue reading “The 10 most outstanding individual performances in a single RWC game”