Header Random

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Funny Sports Injuries, Warts And All

I won’t pretend that I’m a cricket expert. Or, for that matter, a big fan. I enjoyed Ireland’s odyssey in the 2007 World Cup, watched a little bit of the 2005 Ashes and I’m looking forward to Ireland’s entry in next month’s Twenty20 World Cup. That’s the sum of my cricket interest. But because of SKY News and BBC and the such, you do hear the headlines. I can tell you that Flintoff’s real name isn’t Freddie and even I know to steer clear of Kevin Pieterson. I’ve also heard of Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar.

For the uninitiated among you, Akhtar was at one stage the world’s most feared fast bowler and can still hurl the ball pretty well. He’s also a controversial fellow. In his time, he’s been convicted of ball tampering, been accused of drugs offences, been banned for abusing an opponent, been kicked off the Pakistan national side after rowing with his captain, hit a teammate with a bat, reportedly punched his coach, has been deported from England for visa problems and accused the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of corruption. Yes, I use Wikipedia.

So I suppose it’s normal to presume that there are cricketing people who have an issue with Akhtar. That may have something to do with the unnecessary statement released this week by the PCB. They announced that Akhtar is out of the aforementioned Twenty20 World Cup because he ‘was suffering from Genital Viral Warts and Electrofulgration.’ Surely announcing that Akhtar had a skin ailment would have sufficed? Revenge, I guess.

It got me thinking about other embarrassing sports injuries that I’ve come across throughout my years following sport.
  • Adam Eaton, Texas Rangers pitcher, once stabbed himself in the stomach while trying to remove that annoying security tape on a DVD with a paring knife.
  • Sammy Sosa sneezed twice before Cubs' game, sending his back into spasms and putting himself out of the lineup.
  • Danny Ainge (basketball) was once hurt after he was bitten during a game. He required two stitches after he was hurt while playing for the Celtics in a fight against an Atlanta Hawks player. Pretty unremarkable, until you realise the player in question was Tree Rollins, alowing the headline 'Tree Bites Man.'
  • Baseball player Glenallen Hill once had a bad dream about spiders, so vivid that he woke up, crashed through a glass table and fell down a flight of stairs
  • While with the Cardinals, Bill Grammatica once tore his ACL while celebrating a successful field goal.
  • Former Braves pitcher John Smoltz once burned his chest while ironing a shirt. He was wearing it at the time.
  • Arsenal's Perry Groves was on the bench. When his side scored, he jumped up to celebrate only to hit his head on the roof of the dugout. He knocked himself out cold.
  • Robbie Keane once ruptured his knee cartilage after stretching to pick up his TV remote control.

Got any more funny/weird injuries? Feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Motor-Mouth Indeed!

Courtesy of the good man Peter (Happy birthday by the way man!) comes a commentator at a Brazilian soccer match who makes Micháel O' Muircheartaigh seem quiet and reserved!

Lions facing injury doubts

The curse of the 2009 Lions tour continues as Stephen Ferris and Andy Powell are now doubtful for the match tomorrow.

We've already seen Quinlan, O'Leary, Flannery and Halfpenney suffer injuries or suspensions. In reality Alan Quinlan was never going to start the Test matches but Flannery's partnership with O'Connell and his robust play had put him in pole position for hooker in the Test matches. O'Leary's defence, solid kicking game and underrated sniping runs would have at least guaranteed him a place on the bench for the Test matches. Halfpenney's injury will not count against the Lions as severly as his replacement, James Hook, should have been in the squad in the first place and he offers some magic this Lions squad was lacking at half back in the original squad. Halfpenney won't push for a Test place but the experience will make him a player to fear in next year's Six Nations.

Quinlan's suspension was deserved and the English press's clamouring for Tom Croft has seen him called up as his replacement. Croft's pace is unequalled among the forwards in the Guinness Premiership and he will flourish on the hard grounds in South Africa. However the resevations about his abiltiy to match the physicality of the Springboks remain.

Ferris, if fit, should start the Test matches. While he was lauded for his defence in the Six Nations he is only second to the evergreen David Wallace in terms of pace in the forwards of the Irish squad and his soft hands, shown in Luke Fitzgearld's first try against Italy, remanants of his schooldays at centre will benefit the Lions immensely.

Powell is in South Africa for his bullocking runs but needs another dimension to his play to seriously challenge Jamie Heaslip. On the evidence of the Six Nations Heaslip will start at No. 8 and will come back with the distinction of the best No. 8 in the Northern Hemisphere.

Hopefully both players will pull through and play a starring role tomorrow but there is a ready made replacement for Powell in Ryan Jones whereas there is no blindside flanker to match Ferris in McGeehan's phone book.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Lions to win at a lope

The British and Irish Lions face into the first match of the tour this weekend against the Royal XV, a team which in reality the Lions should have few problems dispensing with. The true value of this outing will be in testing new combinations and seeing which players are coming into form at the right time.

The Lions have named a monster pack weighing in at a mammoth 918kg which would have no difficulty in matching the physicality of any of any of the South African teams. The two props, Adam Jones and Andrew Sheridan, almost picked themselves considering Phil Vickery is a likely captain of the midweek team and Euan Murray is recovering from an intensely physical final against Bourgoin. Sheridan faces a straight shoot out for the loosehead position with the in form Gethin Jenkins and a big performance is a must from him.

The second row of Paul O’Connell and Simon Shaw has the look of a possible Test combination while Matthew Rees will be very grateful for two big targets to hit with his sometimes wayward darts. Shaw will be looking to impress on the hard grounds of South Africa and finally nail down a Test spot for the Lions having lost out in 1997 to Jeremy Davidson and in 2005 to Ben Kay and Donncha O’Callaghan.

The backrow combination and centre combination are the least likely to start in the Tests. The backrow of Martyn Williams, Andy Powell and Joe Worsley doesn’t look like it will combine very well and Andy Powell and Joe Worsley are one dimensional players. Powell offers hard, direct running and little else while Worsley’s defensive performances have been impressive an off load from the flanker is greeted with shocked gasps from the crowd. Martyn Williams will be left to do most of the link play and work at the breakdown but he does have two impressive centres to play off. Keith Earls’ dream season continues as he lines up outside the Welsh battering ram Jamie Roberts. If Roberts can draw in some defenders with his hard running Earls’ intelligent lines of running and searing pace could help him lay down a marker for a possible place on the bench for the Tests.

The Opsreys’ back three line up with Lee Byrne and Shane Williams looking to rediscover some form and Tommy Bowe looking to finish his best season yet.

The half backs look the most likely pairing to start the Test matches with Mike Blair’s sniping runs and excellent game management hopefully providing a foil for the kicking game of O’Gara, whose passing game should release his backs outside him.

While the Lions should win this at a canter it will be interesting to see how they plan on doing it. Expect a hugely physical performance up front with thundering runs from Powell, Sheridan, Shaw and O’Connell as well as the Lions making use of the maul as it now illegal to collapse after the ELVs’ repeal. This should free up some space for the pacey back three and centre
combination to do some damage out wide. This Lions team will go wide but only after it’s earned the right to do so. The time for talking is done. Now it’s down to business.

This Week In The League Of Ireland

The big story in the League of Ireland this week has been the sacking of Dundalk defender Dave Rogers in the wake of ‘Arse Gate.’ Rogers was left not too jolly with the decision by the Louth club to terminate his contract for ‘gross misconduct’ after he mooned the travelling Pats support at Oriel Park on Friday night. Unsurprisingly, many in the media were quick to have a bit of craic (or is that crack?) with this one. In fact, the only thing faster than the ‘bum’s rush’ given to Rogers was the rush of hacks and journo’s across the land as they tried to ‘out-pun’ each other.

There were plenty of ‘witty’ headlines in our tabloids about the Rogers’ sacking (‘Moon Walk’ was one of my personal favourites) but the pun-tastic headlines weren’t limited to the red-tops. rogers calls foul play over bum rap’ and ‘hoping shirty conduct will end is asking for the moon’ are both the work of Aiden O’Hara in the Indo. The lack of capitals in these very cheesy headlines may be a mistake, or it may be an attempt at understating the descent into cheddar-ville.

The incident provoked an intense debate on RTE’s Monday Night Soccerball. Eoin “I’m not a prude” Hand says that if he had brought his daughter to the game, and he’d seen Rogers’ actions, that he “would have reacted.” Goodness only knows how... Meanwhile Rico had the counter-argument on the matter, standing up for Scouser. An MNS caption informed us that he once ‘played the bodhrán on an album by Tundra, a folk music group from Kent’ so it’s probably appropriate that it was he who was banging the drum in Rogers’ defence. He mused about possible conspiracy theories (“It makes me think that there’s something else in the background”) before analyzing the incident in detail, telling us that it wasn’t too bad because Rogers “had his briefs on underneath.” Thanks for saving us the bother to take such a close look Rico. “Have we all lost our sense of humour?” he wondered. Well, the journo’s certainly haven’t...

I’ll leave the last word to Neil O’ Riordan. The Irish Sun writer keeps a blog called The Big O in which he recalled an incident involving current Dundalk boss Sean Connor while he was boss at Bohs. According to O’ Riordan, in their preparation for the 2007 League Cup Final, Connor mooned his players as they practiced potentially crucial penalty kicks ‘in a bid to recreate the atmosphere they would face in a shoot-out at The Brandywell.’ ‘It’s worth remembering’ says Statto, ‘that Dalymount is overlooked by a primary school.’ Now that this scandal is in the public domain, should we expect the Dundalk board to sack Connor as swiftly as they booted Rogers out the door? Or will he stay, adding more fuel to the theories of the multi-talented Rico? Only time will tell.
This article was originally written for and can be seen at the fine website, http://www.extratime.ie

Preview To Thurles Thriller: Tipperary v Cork

Ciarán Ryan is one of our new writers. The Tipperary native (and devotee) works as a journalist for radio and for print and he's an all-round nice guy. In his first post for The Almost Daily Sports Blog, Ciarán previews this Sunday's Munster Hurling Championship clash between his native Tipp and their bitter rivals Cork.

* * *

The smell of fresh grass, three bars of chocolate for a pound, pipe bands, farmer tans, straw hats, glorious summer days that came out of nowhere, plastic caps, and a vendor squealing “who is for the last of the ices?”; it could only be the allure and beauty of that most holy of Irish sporting events – a Munster championship game between Cork and Tipp.

While times have changed – fancy baseball caps and coffees have replaced their eighties equivalents, you’d hardly get a club milk for under a Euro, and the opening of that back door twelve years ago has taken some of the jizz out of it, this is still very much a glamour tie in GAA circles. Even more so now, considering all the shenanigans that have gone on Lee-side this year, that unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, or indeed “The Rock” O’Sullivan, you know all about.

For me, as a noble son of Tiobraid Árann , these games represent torture and exuberance in equal measures. My first ever championship game, at the age of five, was the classic drawn Munster Final of ’87. I recall listening to another draw in ’91 while on holidays with my family in Spiddal, and finishing our game of pitch and putt early to get the coverage. Again, it was the airwaves that were my only solace last year, when marooned in Zambia with only a dial up internet connection for company, the might tones of Tipp Fm legend Paddy Finucane boomed across the room as Tipp claimed a historic scalp in Cork. I had to be careful, mind you, not to move, as any slight jump in celebration forced that internet connection down. On the other side of the fence, I’ve suffered the heartbreak; numerous defeats in this decade (curbed by the ’07 qualifier win for Tipp) rank amongst them.

On to this year, and Sunday’s clash. Tipperary will have to deal with the unusual position of being hot favourites, but Cork’s recent form in challenge matches shows that they are still a veritable threat. A couple of retirements mean Cork have a depleted stock this year, and particular interest will be paid to the new additions in the middle of their full-back and full-forward lines, Eoin Cadagon and Aisake O’hAilpin respectively. Another oddity will be Tipp’s entrance as the neutral’s favoured team, given much of the disdain shown by hurling folk around the country to the antics of the Rebels this year.

Tipperary welcome back talisman Eoin Kelly and All-Star centre-back Conor O’Mahony , the only two changes from the team that lost the League Final to Kilkenny four weeks ago. The return of Kelly, in particular, is an interesting one. Many from within the county hadn't expected the Mullinahone forward to even play this year after suffering a fairly significant back injury. If he is able to bring an iota of his previous form into this game, it will be a huge boost for Tipp.

Cork will be looking to their elder statesmen, who might just have a few kicks left in them. For them to win, the likes of the O’Connors, Tom Kenny, Sean Óg, and John Gardiner need to be at the top of their game. Timmy McCarthy has traditionally gone well against Tipp, and may have an impact in the forwards. Ronan Curran, at centre-back, needs to rediscover some of the form that made him the best in his position in the country just a few years ago.

It may be Tipp’s young players, on the other hand, that tip the balance in their favour. Eighteen-year-old wonderkid Noel McGrath has stepped up to the mark with his displays in the forwards, and Paudie Maher of the famed Thurles Sarsfields club exudes confidence in the backline. Considering his performances last year, we better not forget that Seamus Callinan is still Under-21 also.

Strangely for me, both head and heart are saying the same thing – a Tipp win, but just about. Don’t expect there to be much more than three or four points in this. Either way, expect sunburn, melted chocolate, and some eejit sitting in front of you with a straw hat. Hey, it’s Munster Championship day folks, not a fashion parade.

Another Scary GP2 Crash

Not so long ago I showed you a crash from one of the GP2 races at the round in Barcelona. Well here's another one from last weekend's race at Monte Carlo. I'm sure you'll agree that it's far more exciting than anything the Formula 1 race offered on Sunday. The 'pilot' in question is Roman Grosjean and the cameraman is probably still thanking his lucky stars.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Like My New Shoes?

So... the relaunch!

We're looking pretty snazzy, don't you think? Actually that's the reason for this post. Many hours of work by Gavin means that The Almost Daily Sports Blog now looks different. It should be easier-ish to read, and there's new features on the left hand side. Subscribe to our Twitter feed for the latest updates from the team. "Team?" I hear you cry! Yes, team. New writers have been hired and I'll tell you more about them in the coming days. We've also added a Blog Roll, and a new way to search through this blog. If there's anything more that you'd like to see, that we've left out, comment here and let me know. We'll be sure to do all we can.

Yes, there are ads, but something must pay the bills. Everything else is much better and you can now expect more updates, more opinion, commentary, videos and much more. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Seconds, Anyone?

Is one allowed to support a second team?`

This weekend, I watched the Heineken Cup Final in the company of herself. An engaging game, it was good to see Leinster win and cap a truly remarkable year for Irish rugby. The other half had ‘butterflies’ coming near the end of the game but I can’t say that I did. Did I want Leinster to win? Sure. Success for Ireland is success for Ireland. Did I care whether Leinster won? Not really.

I’m a proud Galwegian who spends most of his time in Limerick, the home of Munster rugby and a place where one is expected to support the local team. As someone who’s spent the last six years in college there and thus with a number of other people who have migrated into Munster, I’ve been surprised by the way in which the Stags have been adopted by people from outside the province. “How can you not support Munster?” they ask, incredulously. Well, because I’m from Connacht.

To say that the life of a Connacht rugby supporter is depressing is at best a compliment. We can (and do) make excuses as to why, but Connacht’s Magners League record isn’t the best. Or even the second-worst. Yet we don’t choose the ones we love, or so the saying goes, so I will continue to support them vigorously until the Grim Reaper decides I’ve had enough.

But should I support a second team? Should anyone? While I like to see Irish football clubs and rugby teams etc. do well in international competition, I don’t know if I should support them. It’s a dilemma. Can one like a team that they sometimes compete against? Should I cheer when Dricco scores a try or when Rog kicks a penalty? Or, for that matter, when a soccer player for a team other than Manchester United scores a goal, just because I have some sympathies for his team?

Is it socially acceptable to like more than one team or is a die-hard sports fan a fan of one side per sport/league and no more? I’ve always been a bit sceptical of people who say that they like more than one team but, as Hellie’s butterflies fluttered more and more as the final whistle drew near, I wondered if I was missing out on something by being so close-minded. I still don’t know if I am.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Still Recruiting

Hey all

College exams this week meant a bit of a lull on the blog, and that lull will go on into next week probably. I'm being brought away for a couple of days.

There'll be all change once I come back though. The Almost Daily Sports Blog will be relaunched before the end of the month with new features, a new design and most importantly, new writers. If you want in, contact me for more info. gavingrace@hotmail.com

Now, back to the match. Come on United!!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Why Mike, Why?

So I just watched this trailer for The Hangover. I wouldn't watch this film if you paid me... but look who's in the video.

Mike Tyson. Singing. In The Air Tonight. Someone hold me...

They say the camera adds ten pounds... Mike must have eaten about ten of them. Someone give him money so he can stop embarrassing himself. Let's pass around a bucket.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A Storm In A Tin Cup

If you play any of the Tiger Woods games then you'll notice a Northern Irish voice as part of the commentary. David Feherty was a pretty unremarkable golfer. He won five European Tour events, made one Ryder Cup and came close at The Open a couple of times. He is best known for his analysis work on CBS in the States, where I have found him to be witty and intelligent (unlike his Playstation persona). In this month's issue of a Dallas based magazine, 'D Magazine', Feherty wrote about his feelings on George W Bush moving to the home of the Cowboys. His piece included the following extract:

"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this though," Feherty wrote toward the end of his column. "Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

Leaving politics aside, it's a tasteless joke. Feherty shouldn't have written it but he did. However, he's still as good a golf analyst as he was before he did write it, not that you'd think so judging by this statement from his employers, CBS. "We want to be clear that this column for a Dallas magazine is an unacceptable attempt at humor and is not in any way condoned, endorsed or approved by CBS Sports... "

Golfing authorities chipped in too... if you'll pardon the pun. "David Feherty is an insightful and sometimes humorous commentator for CBS Sports' golf coverage," the PGA Tour said in a statement. "However, his attempt at humor in this instance went over the line, and his comments were clearly inappropriate. We hope he will use better judgment in the future."

Media Matters for America went a step further. In a press release, they called his "violent" comments "disgusting" and said they "insulted the integrity, honor and professionalism" of American servicemen. They went on to tell CBS that they should demand an apology from Feherty, even though the joke was not made on a CBS telecast but in a non-CBS related magazine.

Feherty's judgement is lacking here, that's fine. But the shit storm that has erupted around this case is ridiculous, surely. Feherty expressed his opinion in the form of a joke, something that's done on countless other TV and radio shows across America and the world.

Here's something that's not promoted as much as Feherty's gaffes and alcohol troubles. Though Irish -born, he has become a naturalized American citizen and has travelled to Iraq on two separate occasions to be with the troops. He works with them as part of the 'Troops First Foundation' which aims to raise $15m for troops who lose limbs in service. He's someone who doesn't give lip-service to American troops but gives up his own time and money to thank them for the service he obviously appreciates. So when CBS and Media Matters America are quick to lash Feherty, they should in truth take a moment to realise that though they disagree with the sentiment behind his quip, this so-so golfer from Bangor knows a lot more about the sentiments of the troops serving in Baghdad than most.

And for the record, he commended George W and Laura for their decision to move to Dallas.

* * *
EDIT: David Feherty has apologised for the remarks referred to in the above article.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Scary GP2 Crash

Just saw this crash on Setanta's coverage of the GP2 race from Barcelona this afternoon. Lucas Di Grassi and Alvaro Parente come together about 45 seconds into this video but luckily both are OK. Di Grassi is a lucky boy...

Note: One can never know for sure how long FOM leave these things available online so if this doesn't work for you in the coming days, leave a comment and I'll see if I can fix it.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Merci Dider

Three valid penalty claims turned down + a last minute goal from Iniesta + a rightly stubborn ref who refuses to bow from pressure exerted by Chelsea players + capitulating in front of your own fans + more Champions League failure = An angry Didier Drogba

You know what Dider, three things tonight were disgraceful:

The fact that SKY replayed you cursing into the camera. That was funny but it was a disgraceful mistake.

The lack of respect for the referee from the Chelsea players and staff who surrounded him both before and after the final whistle. Panalties weren't given that should have been, sure, but Michael Ballack deserves a long, long ban for what he did, as do you.

And, thirdly, Didier, perhaps most disgraceful of all was you calling anyone a disgrace. If your reputation precedes you and you don't get penalties when you go down in the area, don't be surprised. You only have yourself to blame.

I have a cunning plan....

1:16 a.m. is always the best time for brainwaves... I’ve found. Well, I’ve found that just now. So it’s simple. I’m going to revamp this blog and make it meaningful. There is a niche and a void for a well-written, funny, articulate sports blog based in Ireland. I want this blog to fill that void. I have ideas but I’m open to more. The first and main one is I want new writers to comment (mainly) on sport and to drive visitors to the site. I won’t pay you – I can’t. But if you’re looking for something to do with your time now that the economy is gone down the shitter then this is it. The Almost Daily Sports Blog is set for a post-exam overhaul. Trust me, this bland space you see before you will take off in the near future. I guarantee it. Join me for the ride.