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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

5 sporting events we can't wait for in 2018

From the return of Tiger at the Masters to the Ireland’s debut in Test cricket.

He's back!
He's back!
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

AS DISAPPOINTING AS it is that Irish football fans won’t be cheering on the Boys in Green in Russia, it’s still a World Cup year so you know it’s going to be a good one from a sporting point of view.

But, away from football, there’s much more in store in 2018 from golf to cricket and Gaelic games too.

With that in mind, here are five, in chronological order, we are very excited about over the next 12 months:

1. Big-time hurling under the lights in Páirc Uí Chaoimh 
27 January 

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

It’s Cork. It’s Kilkenny. And it’s the return of the Allianz National Hurling League for the first senior inter-county game under the floodlights at the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

These two had contrasting 2017 seasons with Cork performing above expectations and the Cats dipping well below. It will be early in the year, but this game could tell us a lot about how 2018 might play out.

2. Crouching Tiger, brilliant Masters
5-8 April 

Source: Icon Sports Media

The Masters is golf’s greatest tournament, but it’s even better when Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods is prowling the fairways of the back nine on Sunday in his traditional red garb.

We’ve only caught a glimpse of his most recent comeback, but it was enough to make golf fans around the world sit up and take notice.

3. Ireland finally get to sit their Test
11-15 May

Source: Rowland White/INPHO

After decades of lobbying, Ireland were finally given Test status by the International Cricket Council last year.

In May they will play their first-ever five-day match on home soil when they take on the mighty Pakistan, a side top of the Test rankings as recently as 2016 and the opposition on one of Irish cricket’s greatest days.

4. To Russia with love
14 June – 15 July

Source: PA Wire/PA Images

If there’s one positive to take from Ireland not making the World Cup, it’s that we don’t have to put up with any terrible new football anthems this year, so be grateful for small mercies.

There’s also the festival of football on offer with one Lionel Messi likely in the last-chance saloon if he hopes to add a World Cup winner’s medal to his collection.

5. Return of the Mac

Source: Imago/PA Images

After his unsuccessful foray into boxing, Conor McGregor is set to return to the octagon in 2018.

While we still don’t know who he’ll face, or when, there’s little doubt the Notorious will ensure it is one of the biggest fight nights of the year regardless.

In addition to 42 live Premier League games, every Champions League game and every Europa League game, eir Sport in 2018 will have the UFC, Allianz Leagues GAA, Golf, F1 and much more, why not sign up today?

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