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Monday, 31 May 2010

€400,000 Picture?

So says the age old adage a picture says a thousand words. The logo committee for the London 2012 Oylmpics are trying to tell us now that this picture tells us 400,000 words. I tend to disagree.
Look at it!! It's essentially a collection of shapes with badly drawn angles in a bad mix of two tone colours. What were they thinking? Now I'm no graphic designer nor am I a world famous artist BUT I know that a junior infant could have drawn this one! It's quite frankly rather rank. It's horrid and thankfully I'm not the only one to think so. The bad taste logo came under fire today from so many sources it's hard to know where to start. But I will say one thing....it's not by any means worth the €400,000 spent on it. In all fairness the senior infants I worked with last week could have designed a better logo than this one and I'd have gladly given it to the Logo Committee for a pair of tickets (admittedly to see one hell of a lot of events) for the art work. It would have been more cost effective and certainly would'a been a lot prettier and not quite as insulting to so many people.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A Penny For 'Em...

I know that this blog isn't as going as well as it once was.  I relaunched it last year with the hope that it would be bigger than Elvis, and more important too.  And while I am proud of it, and while I think that some of the content on here is very, very good (not all of that written by me), I do realise that perhaps this never quite went as well as I'd hoped.

I still love it however.  This, in a way, is my sanctuary, my online speaking post.  I can come here to show you a video, or to rant, or to express an argument.  This blog gives me the outlet to do all of that and while I may not do it as often as I should, and while I would love for it to be read by more people, for that reason alone it is here to stay.

Not so long ago there was a prolonged silence here, and things haven't got back up and running properly since.  I have a new job, I'm far busier now than I was, but another reason for this is that I started to run out of motivation.  My love of sport didn't go, I just found it hard sometimes to write articles that I knew wouldn't get as large an audience as I would have liked, sometimes on topics I'd already covered.  I made a promise that I would blog all the time, but I couldn't even keep that.

On a number of occasions recently, I've had some interesting thoughts, some clever ones too, on topics not linked with sport.  I'm talking television, movies, politics, music.  However I've not been able to express them in a drawn out, calculated and erudite fashion because this is a sports only speaking post.  I don't want to start another blog - I barely write enough to maintain this one - but I am conscious of the fact that when a site says Almost Daily Sports Blog above it's online door, then you come to expect sport inside.

Once I've blogged about something that wasn't sport, and even then it was to show a picture, so my question to you now is this.  Would it matter if there were discussions here on topics other than sport?  Would you read my views on other issues?

I can just stick them in here as it is, or I could slightly re-model the site to indicate what it entails.  Rest assured, the likelihood is that the site would be primarily a sports based one - it will always be my passion.  But would you have any problem if Michael Schumacher was joined by, say, Michael Jackson, if fights in the boxing ring mixed with bouts in the Dáil but if it was all commented on with the same humour and questionable insight.

Let me know.  Comment below, vote in the poll.

What do you think of the proposed changes to the Almost Daily Sports Blog?
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, 21 May 2010

World Cup Hype - TV Advert Style

Not long now until football's greatest showpiece so Nike have released their ad to tie in with events in South Africa.  It's epic, even more epic then their Take It To The Next Level ads in 2008, directed by Guy Ritchie.  Showing that the World Cup is a truly global event, this ad not only ropes in Nike's plethora of soccer superstars but also the likes of Kobe Bryant, Gael Garcia Bunuel and even Homer Simpson.

I don't like using this blog as an advertising space - Nike won't pay me for the privelege - but it's a cracking ad and you may as well see it here first, before it premieres during coverage of the Champions League final this Saturday.  I will make two points about it however.

The use of Ronaldinho was at best unfortunate, given his own omission from the Brazil squad for the tournament and secondly, if there's one footballer in the world that imagines a massive statue of himself being built then it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Andy Lee and Mamadou Limerick

Andy Lee has defeated former European champion Mamadou Thiam in the Yanjing Fight Night at the University Sports Arena in Limerick. YA YA YA YA we know that RTE but what you may not know is that myself and Gavin were there Saturday night in Limerick and can give you a better idea of the whole night!! First of all I can't say I was all that impressed with UL or the arena. It could be me being a girl and fussy but I couldn't help thinking that if you are gonna go to the trouble of arranging a massive fight like this one perhaps proper toilets would be a start?? A handful of port-a-pots will not do the trick when there are that many people at the arena! For that matter, 3 trailers serving drinks isn't enough either.....People don't wanna queue for 30 mins to get a drink in between fights! But onto the actual fight. Mamadou arrived out in a flurry of blue and red lights, the crowd clapped along nicely. As for Andy Lee, he arrived out in a wave of green and orange lights, wearing his usual trademark crimson and canary yellow robes and trunks. We went wild! The French national anthem was played, there were a few rumbles but over all there were no issues. Gav and I let a small sigh of relief, we were half afraid that there would be issues after the Henry mess back in Nov....thankfully there wasn't. Our own national anthem was sung by a guy from NewcastleWast and Marty Morrassy put on his crowd warming up hat and we were OFF! I'm still not sure how he does it but Marty gets the crows going, surprising since he rambles on a bit.....Sorry Marty! 

Round one saw Lee show the strength of the Irish. He had total control of the ring and the Frenchman knew it. Mamadou slipped, once, twice and a third time before round one was over. Andy Lee's supporters were loving it! Round 2 began and again Lee was holding more than his own. After two unbelievably one-sided rounds Lee was clearly "kicking ass" and the Senegalese-born Thiam threw the towel into the ring and claimed a back injury. The fight doc was called in to check out Mamadou as Andy Lee's hand was raised in Victory. RTE's writer Tadhg Peavoy says that Mamadou was clutching his back from round one when he went down....I didn't see it but who am I to question that? Have a look here and see for yourself....As Lee was declared winner the crowds left disgusted that they didn't get the fight that was expected and deserved. There were mutters in the throngs leaving about Mamadou and Henry being of similiar breed, taking away something the whole of Limerick and Ireland was looking forward to, a good fight with a fighter we can look up to. Something we need now that Bernard Dunne has retired but that's a whole different blog! 

The interview with Andy Lee was something worth a second look..... 

A delighted looking Lee commented: 'I was happy to get the stoppage. I would have liked to see a few more rounds. He was looking dangerous, but I think I was a bit too fast - that was the difference.

We were delighted to hear Andy Lee go on to say......
'I want the European title. I want to fight for it here in Limerick. Brian Peters - organise it.

'I'm in that [European] class. I just need to get the fights.'
We know Andy and we can't wait!! Even as we walked out of the Arena and out of UL Gavin and I couldn't help but ponder over Lee's next move....Could it be Macklin? Doubtful I know but I do like Maklin....Sorry Gav :) We did agree on Darren Barker as a possibility and hopefully we'll be right cause we all want to see Andy Lee do well and give us a FANTASTIC night out!! 

On a wee aside note, the pics I've uploaded here today are all ones I took at the fight on Saturday night and are all my own work on a small old camera if you like them I'd love to hear it and enjoy the compliments!!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"The **** Had His Arse Out!"

If you happen to be easily offended by bad language then the video below isn't you, but if not then it's hilarious.  Mark Tapper was the leading Kiwi in last week's Rally New Zealand until he was distracted by a fan on the side of the road, and the subsequently crashed out.  Watch the video below, and then laugh.

I'll avoid the obvious jokes about being wary of any man distracted by another fella's arse...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Fantasy Results

So now that the Premier League is well and truly over there's a lot to think about. We know Chelsea won beating Man Utd..... by a single point. Gavin is isn't hugely happy with that especially since I said at the start of this season that Chelsea would win!! Oops sorry Gav! Anyway being the newcomer to this sporting world and in particular to the Premier League I can say I learnt a lot. I can recognize the names now of all these players who prior to this were a mystery to me. I know how exciting a match can really be and how thrilling it is to see your team win. I don't know what the offside rule is so if someone would be willing to explain that better than Gavin did I'd be delighted to hear it!

Anyway the real point of my blog today is the Fantasy league us Almost Daily Sports Bloggers are and were hugely involved in. Since the Premier league is over  it also means that our own fantasy league is over too boo
so the results are in and we have a winner. I'll admit I didn't expect it to be me and needless to say it's not hehehe. Our winner is a very deserving Gareth Penrose with second place going to Stephan Kidney and third place is Shane Kelly. Congrats guys I'm well impressed! As our the blog team the big question is how did we do?? Well some of us are very happy.....I for one  am delighted that I came 6th, impressive for the clueless Hellie that started out last August! Following me was our Gavin Grace in 8th, with Alan Morrissey in 9th, and Ciaran 10th. We're a clever bunch aren't we??

Congrats again to the boys who came in the top 3 Gareth with his amazingly high score of 2209 was just 11 points ahead of Stephan! It was all so close! I mean my score of 2044 is only 165 off the winner hahaha

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Boxing At Its Weirdest And Worst

I’ve been looking for the following video for the past few days. It is the highlights of a fight which occurred last Saturday night between Paul Williams and Kermit Cintron. This fight had one of the most bizarre endings of any sporting event I have ever witnessed, but I won’t explain it here. Just press play.

So there you have it, a fight ending after a boxer injures himself by falling out of the ring. Only in boxing would something like this happen. I can remember something similar happening once before, in a fight between Nigel Benn and Gerald McClellan in 1993 or so, but on that occasion Benn got up (with the help of ITV’s ringside reporter Gary Newbon), returned to the ring and indeed on the fight (in tragic circumstances).

This fight, thankfully, didn’t have anything like that impact on the health of either participant but nonetheless, it will hurt the reputation of the sport in a different but nonetheless profound way. Now, accidents happen. They cannot be avoided, despite the many steps taken to do just that. However one such step which was not taken by the organisers of Saturday’s event in California was the standard of the ring. The ropes were not properly tied together. Had this simple measure been applied, then there’s no way that Cintron would have hit the floor.

The big farce however is not the fact that Cintron plunged through the ropes, disappointing as that was, but what happened afterwards. The incident occurred in the fourth round of the fight, and had it occurred anywhere but California then the fight would have been declared a no contest. Indeed (though not shown in the above video) referee Lou Moret initially said that would be the resolution. However, for reasons unclear to this particular writer, this decision was changed and it was decided that the thirty-odd seconds seen above constituted a fourth round, and that the result of the fight would be decided by the ringside judges. Their scoring was farcical. One gave all four rounds to Williams while another also scored the fight 40-36, albeit in favour of Cintron. The other judge gave the fight to Williams in a score of 39-37, but even this seemed wrong. Cintron was denied the win through little fault of his own. TV viewers, writers and indeed those in attendance were given the most unsatisfactory of endings, one that leaves boxing tarnished when it’s really not what the sport needs.

I love boxing, more than any other sport in the world. However, there are occasions such as Saturday in which the sport does little to help itself. For a sport which needs to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the general public, moments like this are unwanted. It should have been a fight which entertained and enthralled one and all. Instead, it’ll end up on ‘What happened next’ sections of TV quiz shows. On a night when it should have been at its best, boxing has again shot itself in the foot.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


I was going to write about this last night, but couldn't find the video.  However, Youtube has come to the rescue (as it does) and now, for those of us who missed it (i.e. pretty much everyone since it's Scottish football) we can enjoy the highlights of what will probably be remembered as the game of the season.  It finished Motherwell 6-6 Hibernian.  Gotta love sport.

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter

Rubin Carter, the man they call the Hurricane, turns 73 today.

Carter has the unusual distinction of being best known for two, if not three things that he himself did not do.  Denzel Washington played him in a film, Bob Dylan wrote a song about him, and perhaps most famously (given that it is the reason for those two artistic acts) he was twice convicted of murders, only for those convictions to be later quashed.

You can read all about his legal escapades at his Wikipedia page (and indeed about aspects of his character which, shall we say, were not the most genial) as that’s not what I’m going to discuss here.  Instead, I’m going to dispel one myth perpetrated by both the aforementioned film and song.  Dylan may say that ‘he could-a been the Champion of the World’ but that isn’t quite true, at least not at the time of his conviction.

Carter was a fine boxer, of that there is no doubt.  He won 27 of 40 fights, while that record was an even more impressive 20-4 when he challenged for the World title held by Joey Giardello.  However, Carter was handily beaten in that fight (despite his claims to the contrary) and he would never get a shot at glory again, as he went on to record seven more losses within the next two years.

Despite this, Carter was a decent banger, particularly early in his career.  For me, his most impressive win came over Emile Griffith, about a year before the fight with Giardello.  Griffith had been welterweight champion at this point (following his memorable and tragic win over Benny Paret) and would later clinch the middleweight crown as well.  However, in December of 1963, a month after the assassination of JFK, Rubin Carter knocked him out in the first round of their fight in Pittsburgh.

Carter was no stranger to short nights’ work – indeed this was his eleventh win within three rounds – and the popularity earned through this explosiveness was in part what would earn him a shot at the title.  Perhaps more importantly however, it also earned him his greatest asset, the nickname of ‘Hurricane’ as he is best known to this day.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Browns Make Cyber Signing

As a fan of American football, I’ve always had a lot of respect for Mike Holmgren.  He seems intelligent, and a nice man, but most of all he’s also a football brain.

Since leaving the Seattle Seahawks, Holmgren has become the President of the Cleveland Browns and while this story may have nothing to do with him directly, it is his organisation that has made a move which, to say the least.

Despite playing only 8 organised games, the Browns have signed Joel Reinders as an offensive lineman.  Will he make the roster for the season?  Probably not.  So why is his signing notable? Well, the Browns made the offer after seeing clips of him on Youtube, and nothing else.

It’s a brave move, but it’s a cheap one so I hope for Reinders’ sake that it’s more than a headline grabbing one.  Savo Milosevic (or Miss-a-lot-evic as he was dubbed) was reportedly signed after Aston Villa manager Brian Little saw a video of him in the mid-nineties, but this is a significantly cheaper move.  Nonetheless it will be worth keeping an eye on what happens Reinder in the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sport - A Right For The Masses?

So as weekends go, this one just gone will rank as a bad one for Irish rugby fans.  On Friday night a valiant Connacht were beaten and dumped out of the Amlin Challenge Cup by Toulon in Galway, while on Saturday and Sunday Leinster and Munster respectively were also beaten, ending their involvement in the Heineken Cup.  France 3-0 Ireland, if you will.

Yet none of these games were seen live on terrestrial television here in Ireland.  Admittedly it’s unlikely that the Challenge Cup would ever end up on RTE or the likes, but the Heineken Cup was a mainstay on our national broadcaster for a number of years before SKY took exclusive Irish rights for the competition in 2006.  Back then, these semi-final fixtures (in my opinion) felt like they were a greater part of the national consciousness, nearing and sometimes surpassing the interest held in Six Nations encounters.  How much more important did the 2006 semi-final clash between Munster and Leinster seem compared to last year's equivalent?  Though we have extensive highlights of the games on RTE now, the lack of live action has simply taken the Heineken Cup away from the television screens of casual sports fans, and is now reserved solely for those willing to pay for the privilege.

That may soon change, however.  Communications Minister Eamon Ryan proposes adding all Heineken Cup games involving an Irish side to a list of events which are deemed of ‘major national importance’ and thus must be made available on free-to-air television.  The list currently includes the likes of the Summer Olympic Games and the World Cup, and along with European rugby’s showpiece Ryan proposes the addition of other events such as All-Ireland semi-finals and provincial finals, the Cheltenham festival and the Six Nations, events already carried by either RTE or TV3.  Ryan, ambitiously, hopes that his plan could become law in time for next season.

However, while opening up the highest echelons of sport to the masses seems like a great idea, Ryan’s proposal could be detrimental for rugby in particular.  A piece in this weekend’s Sunday Independent says that the cost of putting the Heineken Cup onto RTE would be €3million annually, or in real terms the annual running costs of Connacht.  Forget the points made in that piece about the Six Nations – most of that money comes from the UK and France – but €3m is a hefty potential hit for the IRFU.  While some of that revenue could, one imagines, be recouped through increased commercial investment as a result of increased television exposure, money would undoubtedly be lost. 

A similar row has occurred in the UK in recent months, regarding their equivalent, the ‘crown jewels’ list.  Proposals were in place which would have seen the addition of the home Ashes series and the World and European Championship Qualifiers of each of the home nations taken away from pay television.  However, that proposal does now seem dead in the water, as the recommendations were not enacted into law prior to Thursday’s General Election.  However, judging by the discourse that occurred there, when sports’ governing bodies were unwilling to simply accept the proposals from David Davies, I would imagine that the likes of the IRFU will vehemently oppose Ryan’s measures and their potential impact on grassroots sport.

We may love the ideal of free-to-air sport on television, but only time will tell whether the Heineken Cup returns to RTE any time soon.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Snooker Left Reeling From Unwanted Body Blow

Disappointment does not sum up the feelings held by snooker fans today. Disgust and hurt would be closer to the truth.

John Higgins says that his ‘conscience is 100% clear ‘ despite a video released by the News of the World today which appears to show him accepting a €300,000 bribe in return for throwing selected frames at future matches later this year.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and one hopes that for the sheer integrity of the sport that Higgins’ claim that he accepted the offer in Kiev as he and manager Pat Mooney feared for their safety is true.

However as the newspaper promises further revelations next Sunday, it looks like one of snooker's brightest stars has much to answer for, and that the sport itself has been left reeling on the weekend of it's showpiece event.

Do Pool Fans Need To Kop On?

All I know is that if I was out there and we got a penalty in the 89th minute to make it 1-1, there’s only one place it’s going. Right in the top corner – of the Kop!
- John Aldridge

John Aldridge is a Liverpool legend, and in the above quote he has expressed the sentiment of many a Liverpool fan ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Chelsea. Many – not all – fans of The Reds would rather watch their team lose at Anfield  then see them win, and as a likely result, likely see Manchester United win the Premier Division title.

Manchester United are seeking their 19th title, which would overtake the record currently shard with and previously held by Liverpool. The Scousers’ place in football’s record books, a place of which their fans have told me they are extremely proud, would be erased making the Chelsea clash so critical. Nonetheless, surely it is sad at best and disgraceful at worst that Liverpool fans, and former players such as Aldo, are looking for their own team to lose when they are still in the hunt for a fourth place finish and a Champions League spot.

If the roles were reversed, I’m not saying that I would always cheer on my own team when the consequences of a win would be so undesirable. However, it is a shame that Liverpool fans are reduced to this. The real disgrace, simply, is that the ‘Pool find themselves in a position where they’re consigned to cheering for the other team, and not getting a chance (yet again) to see their side aim for the title. That is the product of several years of mismanagement at Anfield, with Rafa Benitez as the main culprit.

Should those fans root for a Chelsea win tomorrow, then the financial losses incurred by missing the Champions League, and the potential need to sell the likes of Torres and Gerrard will cost this club even more dearly in the years ahead.

I hope those fans realise what they are really cheering for.