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Dublin: 5°C Friday 16 April 2021

The 'Wesurrection' of Cambridge United and more of the week's best sportswriting

Some of our favourite pieces from the past seven days.

bayern-munich-lazio-roma Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich. Source: DPA/PA Images

“On the day in 2017 when he was officially granted Canadian citizenship, the Vancouver Whitecaps — the club where he made his name as a 16-year-old — produced a short film, part celebration and part commemoration of his journey. It was the first time Davies had heard his parents’ firsthand account of the part of their life — and his — that he had never known. They described the decision to flee the violence stalking Liberia. They spoke about the hand-to-mouth realities of existence in Buduburam, the camp on the edge of the Ghanaian capital, Accra, where they found themselves. They talked about the hunger, the poverty, the uncertainty, the fear.”

– Rory Smith writes for the New York Times about the remarkable journey of Bayern Munich youngster Alphonso Davies.

* * *

“You had to buy Macchio, who was 21 at the time, as the 16-year-old Daniel-San who kept getting the lard beaten out of him by a motorbike gang in his new neighbourhood. Okay, he wasn’t the brawniest 21-year-old on the planet but there are definitely times when he looks like he might have a job, a wife and a mortgage application in the offing.”

– Malachy Clerkin of the Irish Times examines the enduring appeal of cult 80s movie The Karate Kid.

* * *

“In 1996, the same clubs met again in the county final, St Joseph’s winning this time, but their world had irrevocably changed. In June, Colm Maher died after a house fire that also killed his mother, two of his brothers and three sisters. The eldest of 11, he died trying to save members of his family, heading back into the flames. He survived for a few days with severe burns before dying on 5 June, aged 27.”

– 25 years on, the Irish Independent’s Dermot Crowe revisits the tragedy that befell Laois footballer Colm Maher and his family in Portarlington.

* * *

oldham-athletic-v-cambridge-united-sky-bet-league-two-boundary-park Wes Hoolahan in possession for Cambridge United against Oldham Athletic. Source: PA

“Now he is nine games away from helping Cambridge achieve a return to League One for the first time in 19 years. He may be 38 years old but it is the same man casting the same spell over Cambridge fans that supporters of Norwich, Blackpool, Shelbourne and the Republic of Ireland know all too well.”

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– For The Athletic, Michael Bailey highlights the impact being made by Wes Hoolahan at Cambridge United.

* * *

“We know racist abuse is a common, widespread problem. Conversely, there is no body of evidence to suggest that false or malicious accusations of racism exist on remotely the same scale. And yet time and again we are nonsensically asked to give these two scenarios equal weight: often under the cloak of well-meaning phrases like ‘due process’ and ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Yet the presumption of innocence is not a neutral stance in these cases. It presumes, by extension, that the accuser must be lying or mistaken unless proved otherwise. And in so doing, it provides generous cover to any abuser shrewd enough to cover their tracks.”

– Jonathan Liew writes in The Guardian about the obstacles facing victims when it comes to the reporting of incidents of racism.

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