In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, being punished for his deceitfulness, was compelled to roll a boulder uphill for eternity only to watch the rock slide down the slope every time he reached the summit. If you want to similarly creatively chasten an Irish person, you could arrange that they must watch the frantic denouement to Ireland’s 2014 Six Nation’s campaign over and over without ever getting the relief of Steve Walsh’s final whistle.
It’s one of the oddities of sport that high stakes occasions like the one we saw on Saturday in Paris (for the invested viewer anyway) is probably one of the least enjoyable experiences there is. The wait while Walsh tried to find any reason to allow France’s late score in the corner was particularly tortuous. Nerves ruin the experience of actually watching the contest. With that much on the line, it’s all about the pay-off once the right result is secured.
It has been reported (although never with hard figures) that more Gardaí are on the clock at the Dublin Derby between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians in the Airtricity League than All-Ireland Football final day in September. Given that the number of spectators at the latter more often than not is twenty times that of the former it’s initially quite a staggering statistic, if it is in fact true. Given the nature of the occasions; one a fierce rivalry which often boils over, the other a celebratory occasion where whatever two teams are contesting there is a good-natured atmosphere it’s never really surprised anyone. Yet many recent high profile incidents have shown that the friendly atmosphere off the pitch at GAA games may be changing. There is a more sinister edge surrounding some matches at both club and inter-county level and perhaps more worryingly those in the corridors of power within the Association seem unconcerned by the subtle shift of events.
The latest episode of our sports podcast Sporting Chancers. Hosted by Conor Hayes and featuring David Hughes, James McDermott and Colm Booth discussing the payment of managers in the GAA, a preview of the Heineken Cup and the Premiership’s relegation battle.
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The final weekend of the Six Nations has certainly left a bitter taste in every Irish supporter’s mouth, especially on a day like St. Patrick’s. It has been a season of missed chances and bad timing. A penalty given away in the dying moments against the Welsh, and two line-out mis-throws within fifteen metres of the French line late in the game, led to a loss and a draw against the ‘big’ teams in the tournament. If the English match had been a win or at least a tight game, the prevailing attitude would no doubt have been one of mild encouragement in building towards the New Zealand summer tour. Unfortunately that was not the case and ‘Eddie O’ Sullivan Syndrome’ has once again become the biggest obstacle towards seeing whether our country’s best in form players can compete internationally. As sacrilegious as it would have been to mention it last season when Seán O’Brien was running over defence’s singlehandedly, no one should be immune from being dropped if they are no longer the best player in their position. More so for Gordon D’Arcy, a man who has not stood out in an Ireland jersey for at least a season and is finally showing his lack of size when O’ Driscoll isn’t standing outside him.