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The story of the season that relaunched a legend and more of the week's best sportswriting

A selection of some of our favourite pieces published elsewhere over the past seven days.

jack-oconnor Jack is back in the Kerry hotseat. Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

“For the time being, there is one obvious winner from all this and O’Connor has shown before he has the constitution to overcome bumps in the road. For the remainder so deeply invested in a successful future for Kerry football, it is a time to pause and take stock, to carry prejudice and hurt along or to set it down where it lies. This hasn’t left the scars of the Cork strikes or any such, but there’s fence-fixing and bridge-building to be considered for sure.”

– In the Irish Examiner, Tony Leen assessed the process that led to the appointment of Jack O’Connor for another stint as Kerry senior football manager.

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“America’s freewheeling libel laws allow anybody to say anything about anybody but if even ten per cent of the claims being made online are true, the issue here looks to be systemic and may well be a product of this society’s dysfunctional cult of the coach. In this country, much more than others, there is a peculiar reverence for those who hold coaching positions, no matter the level of the sport. The man or woman on the sideline is too often regarded as beyond criticism, deserving of deference and always to be trusted.”

– US-based columnist Dave Hannigan wrote for the Irish Times in the wake of allegations of abuse made against former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley.

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“Everywhere we went for away games it was just crazy. There were so many people outside the team hotel. It was a big difference to before because everybody was there for Baggio. It was always different with him because everybody wanted to get close to him.”

– For Sky Sports, Adam Bate revisited Roberto Baggio’s year at Bologna to tell ‘the story of the season that relaunched a legend’.

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italian-soccer-serie-a-bologna-v-parma Roberto Baggio playing for Bologna in March 1998. Source: EMPICS Sport

“We were at home one day in Bilbao watching the television when something came on – I can’t remember exactly what – and I asked her again. My mum turned it off and said: ‘OK. The moment’s come for me to tell you. Sit down, I think you’re ready to hear the story of papa and me now. When she told me I was left cold. Hearing that leaves a deep impression. Wow. It’s like something in a film and my parents lived it.”

– Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams told his remarkable story to The Guardian’s Sid Lowe.

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“Whatever leaver’s guilt I may have felt as a former player even five years ago is long gone by now. Sons of former team-mates have started appearing. And so it is that I find myself roaring on young fellas I’ve barely ever spoken a word to. By the time Milltown’s decisive second goal goes in, I’m on my feet punching the air. My former team-mate now in charge of the team can barely speak at the final whistle he’s so relieved. I’m fairly drained of energy myself, and a little curious as to why I care so much.”

– For the Irish Times, Ciaran Murphy provided his account of a journey home to Galway to watch a vital championship match involving his club.

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“Another awkward area. Homosexuality is punishable in Saudi Arabia by public whipping or chemical castration. How does this play out with Rainbow Laces day? Are we still against all forms of discrimination? Because it might start to look as though we don’t actually mean all this. How about the treatment of foreign workers? How about Protocols-of-the-Elders-of-Zion-level antisemitism? How exactly does that square with no room for racism?”

- The Guardian’s Barney Ronay examined the Saudi takeover of Newcastle United.

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