Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend Sport

I'm not sure why I don't post about sport more often, I suppose it's not all that interesting and it's certainly not what people have come to expect here.

Mind you, what have they come to expect here? there's not really a discernible pattern, is there? Fucked if I've spotted it anyway.

International weekends are resented by a huge amount of football fans, given that they take away the services of our beloved club teams, who unfailingly provide a higher standard of football than that which we see from any national team. Therefore, I rarely watch Ireland these days. The Staunton era vaccinated many fans against the international bug for life. Still, given that the FAI decided to abandon their noble-but-ultimately-doomed experiment of putting a simple child in charge of our national team and given the job to an actual fully-formed adult, I thought it might be worth at least checking out Trap's first competitive match in charge.

It was, just about. The members of the defence managed to look like they'd previously met and kicked a ball together - something of a rarity for a while now. The midfield was given a large measure of control due to the imperious presence of Steven Reid, who showed himself to be the class-act I've long suspected him of being. If he hadn't been so unfortunate with injuries he might even have been able to bring a modicum of dignity to the Simple Stan years. A generous referee let Aiden McGeady and Stephen Hunt away with what, to my mind, appeared to be two bookable tackles each in the first half. McGeady set up Kevin Doyle for the first goal and the completely inexperienced but competent Glenn Whelan got a fortuitous long-range goal in the second half, with the Georgian keeper offering all the resistance of wet kitchen towel (not Bounty, obviously, that shit is the bomb) to a shot that should have been easily saved. Of course, Ireland are now world-leaders in giving away soft goals at the end of games and it will take more than one charismatic Italian to knock that habit out of us. 17 year-old Levan Kenia scored a very good late goal to mean Georgia only went down 2-1, a scoreline that flattered them. Normally this would be described as a consolation goal, but given the circumstances in Georgia at the moment that would be massively disproportionate.

Our Nordy friends were a bit unlucky to lose 2-1 in Slovakia and England kept everyone amused by labouring to a 2-0 win over Andorra.

Sunday saw the All-Ireland hurling final take place between Kilkenny and Waterford. I don't watch GAA all that often but I do have a strong preference for hurling when I'm doing so. A bit of a scrap broke out after about 8 seconds but that proved to be the end of Waterford's resistance as Kilkenny took control from pretty much the first minute on. I watched this match with an Australian and a German and was reminded that the beauty of hurling lies in its speed, skill and simplicity. At no point did I have to explain any rules or tactics, it was all just there to be enjoyed in one of the most devastatingly clinical performances I've ever seen in any sport. the only awkward question was "This is a final, right? So Waterford are the second-best team in the country?" About as precise and piercing as a Henry Shefflin free. 3-30 (39) to 1-13 (17) it finished. And that was given a gloss from a Waterford point-of-view by the Kilkenny substitute goalie doing a convincing impression of the Georgian one the night before. Ouch.

Still, a massively impressive show from Kilkenny - one that people from anywhere in the world could, and no doubt did, enjoy.

Word reached me this evening that Scotland's Andy Murray had reached the final of the US Open in tennis after knocking out the Wimbledon, French Open and Olympic champion Rafa Nadal. This hugely significant has seen 'Britain's Andy Murray' lauded all over British news channels. It'll be interesting to see how quickly he returns to being 'temperamental Scotsman Andy Murray' when he loses to the legendary Roger Federer in the final.

So there you go: sports. It wasn't that painful, was it?

11 comment(s):

Eimear said...

About the All Ireland - it surprised me that Brian Cody put James McGarry in goal for the last few minutes. McGarry was their first goalie, but lost his place last year having taken time out when his fiancee died. To bring him on was quite a sentimental, crowd-pleasing move - and it's Cody's ruthlessness that has made him such a great manager. Anyway, if PJ Ryan had been left on, I doubt Waterford would have scored that goal.

So many of Waterford's so-called big men let them down. Dan Shanahan, Eoin Kelly. John Mullane was the only forward who looked like he had a bit of fight in him towards the end.

And Brian Cody getting man of the match. Pffft. What a strange decision, and a cop out. It wasn't even one of his more challenging games as manager.

Andrew said...

Eimear - you're right, but I can see why he did it. It certainly seemed to please the Kilkenny fans at the time. to be honest kilkenny were so far ahead at that point they could have gone without a goalie altogether and still won that match. McGarry just made the kind of mistake that a keeper who hasn't played much recently is liable to make.

I didn't realise Cody had been given man of the match, that's a bit silly. was it just too obvious to pick Shefflin or Brennan?

as for eoin kelly, would you really say he let Waterford down? He scored 1-9 or something like that, didn't he? The defence and central mid need to be holding their hands up, if you ask me.

B said...

Why can't he beat Federer?

He's just became the next Greg Rusedski there hasn't he?

Annie said...

This is the first post of yours that I didn't understand.

Andrew said...

B - two reasons why he can't beat Federer:
1. Federer has had an extra day of rest and Murray has always got knackered easily throughout his career.
2. Federer is a much better player. he's better than Nadal too, just had got outdone on the day of the Wimbledon final.

It might have been a little silly of me to sound quite so confident in my prediction but as I write this Federer is already a set and a break up so I stand by what I said.

Annie - Heh, that made me laugh. I do apologise, pleas give me one more chance and I'll promise never to do it again.

She Likes It Loud said...

You're right. It's not all that interesting and not what I expected heheh. It would be interesting if someone were decapitated by an abstract painting that was tossed onto the field by a transvestite in a laughing warthog costume. Maybe. But wtf do I know? =)

Eimear said...

Yeah - maybe I'm being too much of a hardass over McGarry! Man of the match - I think they just couldn't choose between the fifteen players. The sub who came on was great too. Still, it was a bit bizarre.

Waterford collapsed everywhere, it's true, but Eoin irked me because his body language was so defeatist from almost the get-go, and he's supposed to be a leader out there. I don't think he contributed much apart from his very consistent freetaking and that soft goal.

Andrew said...

She Likes It Loud - yep, that would be more interesting. See, my problem was that some stuff happened at the weekend that would have made for a much better post but it was work-related so i refer not to talk about it here. Thanks for your comment, I see you've been following my blog for a while. So at least you know this isn't my typical content.

Eimear - y'see, I don't really watch enough hurling to notice these things, or to pick up when a player isn't being themself. I usually only watch Cork matches, as I was born there.

and B - straight sets, I stand vindicated.

B said...

still, it's a bloody great achievement, I think the years of Tim Henman have damaged his career a bit... aerial haven't even got him to do ads for them!

She Likes It Loud said...

I just found you this week. You seem pretty cool - sports geek aside ;)

Rosie said...

this is the first post of yours that i didn't read.

i tried to, honest.