Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

The bright future of Irish athletics, living in Tom Brady's shoes and the week's best sportswriting

Plus, two American swimming siblings and their respective coming out stories.

1. “Neatly divided across gold, silver and bronze, their achievement, even if at essentially developmental level, was significantly representative of the new generation of Irish athletes.

And that’s not only because all three have an African background, all three the daughters of immigrants who had made Ireland their home over the last decade and more, but also because all three have roots in Irish athletics about as deep as they can go, coming up through the club and schools ranks as much as any young Irish athlete born here to a strictly Irish background (whatever that is).”

The Irish Times’ Ian O’Riordan writes about three reasons to be cheerful for the future of Irish athletics — Gina Akpe-Moses, Patience Jumbo-Gula and Rhasidat Adeleke

European Athletics U20 Championships 2017 - Friday Source: SPORTSFILE

2. “Forgive me if the following comes across as naively euphoric. But we’ll only know it’s a truly watershed summer for women’s sport if we get through it without being overwhelmed by commentary on what men’s football could learn from it all.

They’re poorer but they’re a million times more dignified! They’re less watched but their crowds don’t have any hooligans in them! They may not have supercars but they have more nobility in their bus tickets than the entire Man City squad put together! They actually win stuff (like the chance to be used to mug off the Man City squad)!

Yup, the learning’s the worst. You know you’ve really arrived in sport when your moment of triumph is regarded as primarily useful for throwing the antics of someone completely unrelated into unsympathetic relief. You know there’s really nothing suspicious about positions which seem to prize the perceived moral superiority of one group of sportspeople over another.”

‘Why can’t we celebrate women’s sport without relating it to men’s?’ writes Marina Hyde for The Guardian

3. “The assessment starts inside the Perseverance Room, atop the black-leather exam table where I’m sitting as David Merson frowns. He’s checking the symmetry of my ankles, hamstrings, glutes, hips and abdomen, digging his fingers into my sportswriter’s not-yet-a-dad-but-already-a-dad-bod physique, telling me to lift this leg and push that one. “The way your hip moves here signifies tightness, restriction and decreased muscle activation,” he says.

We’re inside the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is located in a strip mall in Foxborough, near a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Five Guys burger joint and a Menchie’s frozen yogurt spot. The window signs of those establishments do not yet torture me. This is Day 1 — the first hours of the two weeks I spent trying to live like Tom Brady, which is why I’m in this room with Merson, who is a body coach. Soon he will be my body coach.”

Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bishop gains a better insight into how Tom Brady stays at the top of his game

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots Win Title Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS/ABACA

4. “In the aftermath Neto kept praying, but nothing eased his guilt: for not relaying that warning to friends and colleagues, for not saving them all. Living with it was hell. So now he tells himself that if he had revealed his dream, told calloused pros that they shouldn’t fly to their biggest game, none would have listened. They were condemned. And he had been charged to witness.

“It had to happen,” Neto says.”

The fairytale and the nightmare: S.L. Price writes about the tragic Chapecoense plane crash and the aftermath

5. “Imagine this: a group of Irish emigrants in Australia set up an amateur football club, train a couple of nights a week, win the league title in their first season and, within three years, are preparing to face the biggest club in the country who boast such names as Dwight Yorke, Juninho and Alessandro Del Piero among their former players.


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Fake news?”

Ruaidhrí Croke, for The Irish Times, traces Darwin Rovers — Shamrock Rovers’ sister club’s — meteoric rise down under

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Manchester United v Arsenal Source: EMPICS Sport

6. “It was in the first month of his sophomore year at Brown when Connor Lohman unexpectedly got a call from his younger sister. Kennedy was crying. She faced a dilemma.

“She was like, ‘Connor, I kissed a girl. I don’t know what’s going on,’” Connor said of their phone conversation. “She felt like that there was something wrong with her — that she was broken — and she was really freaking out. And then I started freaking out, too. I started crying because I felt awful that I couldn’t be there to help her with that.”

He sat on the stairs outside the dining hall, and they talked for a while that night. Kennedy had fears of being kicked out of school and losing friends.

While being sympathetic, it brought to the forefront questions Connor was feeling, too — was he bi or gay?”

American siblings Kennedy and Connor Lohman, who are both college swimmers and gay, share their respective stories with Erik Hall of outsports.com

7. Ballaghaderreen is an outpost, a glitch in the system. Send a letter to the nice people there and you’ll write Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon on the envelope. But wander into the market square and you’ll see a Mayo flag hanging from the front of Durkin’s Bar.

Open your Connacht final match programme tomorrow afternoon and underneath the name of Mayo vice-captain Andy Moran will be Bealach An Doirín, county champions in 1972 and 2008. Mayo county champions, that is.

Ballaghaderreen: The GAA’s Gaza or a glitch in the system? — Malachy Clerkin for the Irish Independent

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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