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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 March, 2019

The top 21 things in modern sport we love, want to marry

You’re not so bad after all, you wacky world of sport you.

Bill O'Herlihy: fingers crossed he makes the top 21.
Bill O'Herlihy: fingers crossed he makes the top 21.
Image: YouTube Screengrab


Last week we may have been a little down in the mouth and — dare we say — negative when bringing out the top 23 things in sport that really grind our gears.

We’re sorry. So this week, we decided to concentrate on the aspects of modern sport that we really loved.

You happy lot even had your say on Facebook and Twitter. So here’s what we’re all really pleased about…

1. #Leo Messi He’s the greatest a lot of us have ever seen but he seems cool, isn’t C-Ron and plays Playstation. Top man.

2. #The Fear of God Paul O’Connell’s speech in the Croke Park dressing-room before the Six Nations clash with Les Bleus in 2007 made me want to run out and burn down the nearest French restaurant.

YouTube: markoconroy

3. #Jerry Kiernan’s hair Exhibit A

4. Liveblogs God, we do lurve liveblogs around here. But it seems you do too. Anyone who’s been sat waiting outside a dressing-room on a Saturday afternoon holding someone else’s shopping, knows what a lifesaver an old minute-by-minute can be.

5. Apres Match There’s been tournaments when this trio’s inserts have been better than the fare on the pitch. National treasures.

YouTube: bombomchicken

6. Manuela Her boss may not be so popular these days, but Giovanni Trapattoni’s interpreter Manuela Spinelli is certainly a favourite amongst Irish football fans.

INPHO/Dan Sheridan

7. #D’internet “They way we get to feel closer to the players with the Internet and Twitter and all that good stuff.” writes one Facebook fan, Jack. You’re welcome, computer land.

Here’s Lance Armstrong in his living room just thinking and stuff.

8. #Shouting and roaring at the end of the national anthem at Croke Park Controversial.

9. #Tribalism Is that a word? Anyway, Caroline Newell on Twitter told us she loved “being part of herd of fans going into a stadium. Mix of excitement, fear, joy, panic. Totally tribal and almost religious.” Amen.

Ireland supporters do ‘The Poznan’  Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

10. #The Haka It has its knockers. Some say it’s an unfair advantage for the All Blacks, it’s a gimmick or a pre-game nuisance. We say it’s one of the most stunning spectacles in sport sometimes. But then we don’t have to play New Zealand in rugby afterwards.


11. #The RTÉ football panel Plenty of us have cribbed and moaned about the state of the punditry on Match of the Day and — Gary Neville apart — Sky Sports. But thanks to a mix of good analysis, plenty of airtime, big characters and a touch of pantomime the crowd in Montrose always keep us entertained.

12. #Becoming an instant expert on Olympic sports There’s nothing better than having a conversation with a cab driver or work mate about the Radial Class or dressage once every four years.

13. #ESPN’s 30 for 30 setting a new benchmark for sports documentaries If you don’t agree, this relationship isn’t going to work out. Check out the one on Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement.

YouTube: ESPN

14. #The Champions League tune There’s nothing better on a winter Wednesday night apart from surprise midweek fajitas obviously. Some dude called Handel wrote it in his bedroom.


15. #Talking to strangers Sure, we were warned against this one as young ‘uns, but it’s nice to have a little chat about the game with the person who files down the steps of the Hogan Stand alongside with you on a summer Sunday. This conversation is often recounted in the pub afterwards with friends.

16. #Domestic football “League of Ireland having another heyday,” writes Darren Bates. “Very lucky for the 10,000 or so folks who actually go to games every week during the season. Pity it didn’t happen when we had money! Sport is brilliant now though – the internet, tv coverage and online betting in moderation has meant you can go from calm to screaming at Argentinian journeymen in a few seconds!”

17. #The variety In the past sports fans subsisted on a diet — though balanced and healthy — of domestic and relatively local sports. Today one can get in from the county final on Sunday evening, laze on the couch watching el Clasico on the plasma, the NFL on your iPad and record MOTD2 on the sky plus. A feast.

18. #Dooblah Kids doing the half-time raffle at League of Ireland games who, instead of being specific when asked where they’re from, reply ‘Dublin’.

19. In soccer when an outfield player goes in goal. Always entertaining, says Peter Boyle. Never a truer word. A dramatist would explain how the fish out of water trope is a staple of story-telling since man stepped into Plato’s cave. We just like seeing Steve Staunton put on the gloves.

20. Zlatan Shine on you crazy diamond.


21. #Katie Taylor Let us count the ways… “The way an ordinary girl like Katie Taylor has inspired a generation and remained so humble,” writes on our Facebook page. She’s a champion, she’s classy and she’s ours.

The Sexy Managers Calendar could be* the perfect gift this Christmas

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