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7 great days for Irish sport... let's hope today is another one

From the Grand Slam in 2009 to the moment a nation held its breath.

FOR A COUNTRY of just 4.6 million people, it’s not hubris to say that Ireland has punched well above its weight at an international level when it comes to sport.

Sometimes that’s literally through our boatload of brilliant boxers. Sometimes its metaphorically in rugby, football, cricket and much more.

Today, with both the football and rugby teams in action, there’s another chance to create some brilliant memories.

To get you and them in the mood to run through walls, here are seven great days in Irish sport… let’s hope today is another:

1 August 1932

Source: urbsintacta/YouTube

Ireland was sill a fledgling state by the time the Los Angeles Olympics rolled around in 1932, with just one gold medal — secured by Pat O’Callaghan four years earlier — to its name.

However, within the space of an hour on 1 August that year, Bob Tisdall took first place in the 400m before O’Callaghan defended his hammer title to mark the first and only time the country would claim two Olympic gold medals in one day.

12 August 1995

Sonia O’Sullivan would have her ups and downs when it came to major championships, but Gothenburg 1995 would prove to be her finest day in an Ireland vest.

Given her speed over the shorter distance of 1500m, few would have been surprised had O’Sullivan chosen that event at the World Championships.

Instead, she chose the opportunity to win the first-ever women’s 5000m world title and, despite facing then-world record holder Fernanda Ribeiro, the Cork athlete showed her trademark kick over the final 200m to claim the gold.

12 June 1988

Source: Chimpanzeethat/YouTube

Ireland had qualified for a major international tournament for the first time so there were bound to be nerves for that reason alone.

However, having been drawn against England, the sense of occasion doubled.

But then Ray Houghton stuck the ball into the back of the English net and Joxer, and everyone else who went to Stuttgart or stayed at home, was beside themselves with joy.

25 June 1990

Source: RTÉ Sport/YouTube

Ask anyone of a certain vintage where the were when a nation held its breath and they will tell you instantly.

After Packie Bonner saved Daniel Timofte’s fifth penalty for Romania, it was left to David O’Leary to send his side into the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Weeks later and the country was still celebrating.

21 March 2009

61 years after our first, Ireland added a second Grand Slam with the most dramatic of victories over Wales in Cardiff.

It had looked like heroic failure for Declan Kidney’s men when Stephen Jones slotted over a drop goal with four minutes to play.

However, two minutes later, Ronan O’Gara did this:


Later that night, Dubliner Bernard Dunne joined the party when he beat Ricardo Cordoba to win the WBA Super Bantamweight title in the Point Theatre.

9 August 2012

Source: eoinfffp/YouTube

With her vast array of world and European titles, Katie Taylor has made her nation proud on many occasions but none more so than Thursday 9 August 2012 when she took on old-rival Sofya Ochigava in the Olympic lightweight final.

Taylor was the heavy favourite, of course, but it was a closely fought bout that left the nation with little in the way of fingernails.

The Bray boxer was not to be denied and eventually emerged victorious, claiming Ireland’s only gold of London 2012.

11 June 2016

Source: Te Karere TVNZ/YouTube

Last Saturday was a phenomenal day for Irish rugby. Not only did the Irish U20s become the first Irish men’s team — and we mean of the international variety Munster fans — to beat New Zealand, but just hours later the senior side recorded a first-ever win against the Springboks in South Africa.

The fact they did it with 14-men, and a squad already shorn of so much talent through injury, only made it all the more remarkable.

Let’s hope today can bring the same!

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