Best Sportswriting
Frampton before the spotlight, Jim Harbaugh on Saved by the Bell and the week's best sportswriting
Plus there’s Conor McGregor – the man for all seasons – as well as a wonderful insight into Tony Keady.

1. “’You could just tell, he was just like a robot. You’d see a flaw that a lad has got and you’ll try iron it out, it’ll take a few sessions. With Carl, you’d say it once and then boom, he’d never do it again. He was programmed, he was awesome, you’d be doing pads with him and you’d be trying to find faults. He was so schooled.

I remember at the start, Barry screaming absolutely blue murder because Carl was on a few Matchroom cards and they never showed his highlights. It would be Friday Fight Night and, at the end of it, they would show a highlight reel but they’d never show Carl. Barry used to go mental saying ‘nobody knows how good this kid is.’”

Following Carl Frampton’s split from Barry McGuigan,’s Joe ‘The Writing Pride’ O’Neill speaks with Frampton’s first pro trainer, Kevin Maree, who explains why he was frozen out of ‘The Jackal’s team.

2. On Saturday night the fans saw McGregor go toe-to-toe with one of the all-time greats and deliver a performance that compares favourably with what top boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Álvarez did against Mayweather. McGregor had put it all on the line and done himself and his sport proud.

The haters will have seen him totally outclassed, only emerging with some deceptively flattering punching statistics because Mayweather had such contempt for his ability that he abandoned the cautious habits of a lifetime and drove forward in search of a knockout. All he had achieved was to prove that MMA fighters are only MMA fighters because they weren’t good enough to make it as boxers.

Ken Early theorises in The Irish Times that Conor McGregor remains the man for all seasons.

3. Diamond [Screech]: I think he did fine. If you’re Academy Award quality, then you probably shouldn’t be on Saved by the Bell. If you’re less than Academy Award quality, then you shouldn’t be on Saved by the Bell. You’ve gotta be right in the middle there. … I think he fit right in that smooth spot.

Engel: He was playing himself. That’s not hard to do. You just play yourself.

Harbaugh: I was not great. Not even good. That’s just my review. … I felt like I was doing a lot of overacting. When I first saw it and when I see it today, there’s a lot of overacting going on by me.

Chantel Jennings of The Athletic provides an outrageously entertaining oral history of American football coach Jim Harbaugh’s appearance as ‘Screech’s cousin’ on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

4. “He was more than just a caretaker looking after the school here. He was everything from the class comedian or clown to the principal. He was helping guys – bringing lads lunches, making sure they had a pair of togs or small things like making sure they had the school uniform to avoid getting a tick.

“He nearly had his own cloakroom stash, all of those small touches, looking out for the guy that is struggling, for a guy with a tough man image he had a soft heart inside.”

Cian O’Connell of speaks to Pat Malone, Eanna Ryan, Pearse Piggott, and Pete Finnerty about the late, great Tony Keady.

5. “I cried,” Sarah Taylor says simply as she remembers the moment last month when, having just helped England win the World Cup at Lord’s, she recognised how much more she had achieved in overcoming the anxiety and depression which had forced her to give up cricket for most of the previous year. “We were on the field waiting for the presentation and it hit me. A year ago I wasn’t even playing cricket. Six months ago I wasn’t even playing. Everyone was crying. Typical girls – we were all crying.”

Donald McCrae speaks to England cricketer Sarah Taylor in The Guardian about conquering depression, and how her craft suddenly became a breeze.

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‘Quiet? He’d look at you, go, ‘Do you think I’m the best in the world? I think I’m the best in the world”

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