Rich Graessle Katie Taylor celebrates after her win over Amanda Serrano.
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Katie did it, the dodgy keeper and the rest of the week's best sportswriting
Boil the kettle…

1. She did it. Katie Taylor did it. She beat Amanda Serrano. She got the decision. She heard the sweetest words before the bedlam came down from all around. And still . . .

She did it. In the dead of night. In Madison Square Garden. With the ghosts of Ali and Frazier and Joe Louis peeking down from the eaves to see what all the commotion was about. What they saw on Saturday night, they had seen before. Done before. Been before. Those days were gone, the days when boxing sucked the world to the Garden like a bathplug pulled from midtown Manhattan. Katie Taylor brought them back.

‘Just like always, Katie did it and lucky us to be around while she did,’ writes Malachy Clerkin for The Irish Times.

2. Taylor’s vast army of fans, with over 4,000 having flown from Dublin to New York for the fight, were almost delirious with delight. Serrano’s Puerto Rican supporters were just as noisy and any doubts about the validity and huge potential of women’s boxing were shredded. The decision was given to Taylor, a great champion who recovered when it mattered most, but this raucous and landmark night belonged just as much to the valiant Serrano. This unforgettable fight will go down in history as the night that two women elevated the battered old soul of boxing.

The Guardian’s Donald McRae’s report of The Fight is also worth a read.

3. The noise of war is terrifying. Citizens of Kyiv have grown used to the omens from air raid sirens. Last week the city’s relative safety and peace was shattered by Russian missiles, brazenly delivered while the UN’s Antonio Guterres was there.

Silence can also speak volumes, as Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko has learned. “As the proverb says, it is not scary when an idiot talks, it is scary when a wise man is silent.”

Ukraine legend Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko speaks to The Irish Independent’s Aidan Fitzmaurice from Kyiv (€).

uefa-champions-league-villarreal-cf-vs-liverpool-fc Pablo Garcia Rulli and his team-mates during the match. Pablo Garcia

4. By contrast, the negative vibe-shift of the dodgy keeper is resistant to the modern game’s attempts to rationalise away human weakness. Unai Emery’s Villarreal are a case in point. Odds and ends of players picked from the recycling bins of bigger clubs and assembled into a highly functioning whole by the coach’s masterplan. By detailed instruction and careful preparation, flaws can be hidden and strengths enhanced.

But everyone has a plan until they let the ball run through their legs.

Geronimo Rulli was the focal point of Tommy Martin’s column for The Irish Examiner this week.

5. The Manchester City players were barely speaking. If they had been “emotionally exhausted” after the first leg against Real Madrid, as many sources have it, the scene in the dressing room at the Bernabeu was one of utter devastation.

The players and staff simply couldn’t believe it.

‘A history of Champions League collapses: Why Pep Guardiola’s familiar exit goes beyond luck’ – Miguel Delaney for The Irish Independent (€).

6. The mythology around Sir Alex Ferguson’s temper became a useful part of his armoury in the Manchester United manager’s most productive years, whether it was directed in private at his own players, at referees or, as was often the case in the days before every word was caught on camera, football journalists.

Yet, there are very few examples of Ferguson’s temper in action – the anger, the industrial language and the determination to crush a dissenting voice. As Ferguson once famously said of his profession: “The manager can never lose an argument”. 

On that day, the trigger for Ferguson’s fury was a question about the Argentine talent Juan Sebastian Veron, who had been bought the previous summer for a then club record fee of £28 million having been considered in Italy the most talented midfielder in Europe. But he had struggled to make his mark in the United team of serial winners.

The Guardian’s chief football writer Sam Wallace reveals how it felt to be in the room when Sir Alex Ferguson launched his infamous X-rated rant 20 years ago (€). 


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