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Back to the future: our writers reflect on the year just past... and look forward to 2012

So how was it for you? Join our writers for a moment of quiet reflection – and an auto-tuned Trap.

Alan Brogan: All-Ireland champion in front of Hill 16 in September.
Alan Brogan: All-Ireland champion in front of Hill 16 in September.
Image: inpho

THAT WASN’T BAD, was it?

Rugby World Cup mornings, memorable nights at Lansdowne Rd, magical Croke Park summer afternoons. So how was it for you? Here’s what some of our writers think…

Niall Kelly

What has been your sporting highlight of 2011? Shamrock Rovers beating Partizan Belgrade to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.The League of Ireland’s profile has definitely risen this season as a result and it would be great to see that reflected in attendance figures around the country in 2012.

Biggest disappointment? Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian getting divorced after just 72 days of marriage. If two super-rich celebs can’t make it work, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

One song from the past 12 months to sum up the sporting year? Jedward’s chart-topping single ‘Lipstick’. Just like McIlroy, Trap, the Dublin footballers and the Irish cricket team, they proved all of the haters and doubters wrong in the end.

Who would you give the inaugural TheScore Sports Personality of The Year Award to and why? Mario Balotelli – I’m resigning unless his genius is recognised.

One YouTube video – or sporting moment – that stood out? Rory’s tee shot at 10 on the way to winning the US Open. If his record-breaking early rounds weren’t enough to prove that he could handle the post-Augusta pressure, this certainly was.


YouTube credit: GolfandPuttingTips

Name someone up-and-coming to look out for in 2012: James McClean (Sunderland) and Enda Stevens (Aston Villa). It would be great to see the Premier League’s two newest League of Ireland recruits begin to make an impression in the new year.

Your hopes for 2012: Ireland to qualify out of their Euro 2012 group and beat France or England on penos in the quarters. Katie Taylor to lead by example as Ireland win a rake of Olympic medals. Dublin to beat Kerry in the All-Ireland final again.

Your expectations for 2012? Tim Tebow to spontaneously combust on the date of the Mayan prophecy. Adrian to keep sticking me on the late shift for nutmegging him in our weekly five-a-side match.

One sports book I should read this Christmas? Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger’s superb chronicle of a season with an American high school football team. You may have seen the film and the TV series already, but the book blows both of them out of the water.

Finish this sentence… ‘This time next year we’ll be… writing an equally unfunny review of 2012 (auf Deutsch while wearing a Bundesliga jersey if Frau Merkel has her way).

Paul Fennessy

What has been your sporting highlight of 2011? Watching Barcelona win the Champions League final in Barcelona was pretty special for me. Or just watching Barcelona anytime essentially. Alain Rolland’s courageous decision to send off Sam Warburton in the World Cup semi-final comes a close second.

Biggest disappointment: The fact that Sepp Blatter remains as head of FIFA, despite invariably demonstrating a  breathtaking level of arrogance and a blatant lack of common sense. Other contenders for the Stephen Ireland Award for delusions of grandeur include Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas Boas and practically anyone directly affiliated with the RFU.

One song from the past 12 months to sum up the sporting year? ‘Helplessness Blues’ by the Fleet Foxes because… its title is appropriately vague enough to sum up any major sporting disappointment over the course of the year e.g. Ireland losing to Wales, Conor Niland’s encounter with Noran Djokovic, Joey Barton’s opinion on EVERYTHING.

YouTube credit: SirFredPaul

One YouYube video – or sporting moment – that stood out? Mario Balotelli giving an uncanny imitation of a ten-year-old child is bound to live long in the memory.

Who would you give the inaugural TheScore Sports Personality of the Year award to and why? Darren Clarke for his Open Championship victory. You could argue Rory McIlroy had a better year, but Clarke is less naturally talented than McIlroy and so, just about deserves it ahead of him. Katie Taylor also deserves a mention for her achievements.

Name someone up-and-coming to look out for in 2012: Leinster’s Andrew Conway and Man United’s Robbie Brady both have enormous potential.

Your hopes for 2012: A more competitive All-Ireland Championship with fewer one-sided games in both football and hurling, some of the younger players for the Irish rugby team being given an opportunity to establish themselves in the side and far greater respect being given to referees in all sports (I know it’s asking a lot).

Your expectations for 2012: Spain to win the Euros, Leinster to win the Heineken Cup, McIlroy to win at least one major – deja vu basically. Also, Man City to win the Premier League.

One sports book I should read this Christmas: I read Eamon Dunphy’s “Only a Game? The Diary of a Professional Footballer” for the first time earlier this year, and it’s every bit as entertaining, articulate and contentious as his punditry.

Finish this sentence… ‘This time next year we’ll be… talking of Rory McIlroy as being possibly the greatest Irish sports person of all time.

Joey Barton mimics Luis Suarez after away fans chant he looks like a rat. Pic: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Steven O’Rourke

What has been your sporting highlight of 2011? I think it has to be American Samoa’s 2-1 win over Tonga in November. Having lost 30 games in a row, including a record 31-0 thrashing by Australia, it’s nice to seem them finally triumph. It’s just a pity they’ve repeatedly rejected my claims for citizenship.

Biggest disappointment? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with Tim and ends with fans and has the word Tebow in the middle. How people can anoint a quarterback “the second coming of Jesus” when he can’t even throw a football is beyond me.

Everyone knows that the Nazareth Naughty Boys had the best passing offence in the BFL with Jesus under centre.

One song from the past 12 months to sum up the sporting year? Given that 2011 was arguably the year that MMA – and the UFC in particular – overtook boxing as people’s combat sport of choice, it seems an appropriate time to remember that MMA movies are yet to give us a song and montage of this quality:

Hearts on Fire – John Cafferty


YouTube credit: 

Who would you give the inaugural TheScore Sports Personality of The Year Award to and why? Sean O’Brien. The man remains proof that you can take the rugby player out of the country but you can never take the country out of the rugby player (and I say that as a culchie). Plus dude had his own memes on Twitter. What more could you want?

One YouYube video – or sporting moment – that stood out? Who doesn’t like seeing a 323 lb man intercept a football and race down the field with it?

Run fatboy, run.


YouTube credit: SuperMike850

Name someone up-and-coming to look out for in 2012: I haven’t played Football Manager long enough this year to work out who the next Freddie Adu or Kim Källström is so I’ll stick to American Football and Louisiana State University punter Brad Wing.

Seriously, this guy is the Babe Ruth, Pele and Mohammed Ali of kicking the football. At time of writing he is averageing 43 yards per kick while his opponents are averaging a meagre 0.5 yards per return.

Expect the Raiders to draft him first round when he comes out of college.

Ray Moylette calls his family back home in Ireland after winning a gold medal at the European Championships in June. (INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

Your hopes for 2012? Tim Tebow never entering a football field ever again. Ireland to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2012. Kildare ending their long wait for All-Ireland glory.

Your expectations for 2012? Tim Tebow winning the Super Bowl with five touchdowns and throwing for 700 yards. Ireland going out in the group stages following a bust-up between Trap’s translator and his security dude who looks like he should be on the door at Copper’s.

Kildare will once again be robbed by Dublin/Donegal biased officiating and will seek to form its own sovereign republic with Christy Moore and Ray D’Arcy at the helm.

One sports book I should read this Christmas? It’s not going to get you in the Christmas spirit but the riveting A life too short: The tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng will remind you what’s really important.

Finish this sentence… ‘This time next year we’ll be... millionaires, Rodney.

Ben Blake

What has been your sporting highlight of 2011? The Dubs winning Sam.

Biggest disappointment? How much Manchester United were outplayed in the Champions League final and the fact that I missed Slane to watch that game.

One song from the past 12 months to sum up the sporting year? Trap – 12th Player


Youtube credit : DJH Uachtarain

Who would you give the inaugural TheScore Sports Personality of The Year Award to and why? Rory McIlroy – The year that he has just had.

One YouTube video – or sporting moment – that stood out? Leinster’s Heineken Cup win:


YouTube credit: ForwardFlanker

Name someone up-and-coming to look out for in 2012: Robbie Brady.

Your hopes for 2012? Ireland to take something from the Spain game next summer. Call it a slim hope.

Your expectations for 2012? For Euro 2012 to be the highlight by a long shot.

One sports book I should read this Christmas? The Beautiful Team – Garry Jenkins.

Finish this sentence… ‘This time next year we’ll be…. Compiling end of year reviews?

Miguel Delaney

What has been your sporting highlight of 2011? On a personal level, watching Ireland qualify for Euro 2012. It’s been too long coming and there is nothing like the way an international tournament takes over the country’s emotions. On a professional, more objective level, watching this Barcelona team rightfully win another Champions League. I genuinely believe they might just be/become the finest club side of all time – in both a quality and aesthetic sense – and that it’s just that they properly confirm their brilliance.

Biggest disappointment? To a degree, the fact that Ireland’s Rugby World Cup ended with such an anti-climax when they were on the very of something genuinely historic. But then I’m a football man really so probably the travails of Bohs. It’s a pity the League of Ireland can’t yet escape years of financial mismanagement

One song from the past 12 months to sum up the sporting year? The song from National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Refers to Ireland and Shamrock Rovers. [Not from the past 12 months- but we'll accept - Ed]

Who would you give the inaugural TheScore Sports Personality of The Year Award to and why? Richard Dunne. In an Irish team that have built all of their success on defence, he often performed beyond the expectations of his role in the centre of it.

One YouYube video – or sporting moment – that stood out? Almost any number of Messi goals.

Name someone up-and-coming to look out for in 2012? David Meyler. Might be relatively well known but his injuries have ensured his exact quality isn’t widely recognised enough yet. This guy is a serious midfield talent.

Your hopes for 2012? That Ireland get through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 and – being a half-Spaniard as well as a supporter of their style – that Spain win an unprecedented third successive international trophy. Also that – as we slightly saw in this season’s Champions League – that money/finances don’t have quite such an over-arching effect on competitions.

Your expectations for 2012? Ireland put in a respective showing in Euro 2012, even if they don’t quite get through the group. I don’t think we’ll be embarrassed at all. Also think Germany might just shade the Euros but that Barcelona will become the first team in 22 years to retain the Champions League.

One sports book I should read this Christmas? Of all time, ‘Provided You Don’t Kiss Me’ by Duncan Hamilton. Out this year, Paul Lake’s autobiography

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