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I'm Kellie Harrington, Arsenal simply stopped making you feel and the week's best sportswriring
Plus, an interesting League of Ireland piece and ‘I had lost my identity, who am I without sport?’

1. “I went to bed one night recently with a warm fuzzy feeling about the soul of the League of Ireland, after watching a video of the Bohemians poet Johnny Cummins waxing lyrical about the hallowed turf of Dalymount Park.

Alan Bennett and Damien Delaney fix the goal net during the game Oisin Keniry / INPHO Cork's Alan Bennett and Damien Delaney fix the goal net during Waterford's win at Turner's Cross. Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

The fuzzy feeling was punctured when I woke the next morning to read a patronising article about the League.

Fans of the LOI like me appreciate what we have more than anyone. We have what might even be perceived as a smug appreciation for the League because we know how good it is. And we strive to improve it because we know how great it can be.”

Cork City legend Derek Coughlan wrote an interesting League of Ireland piece for the Irish Examiner on Friday.

2. She’s not married. They’re not married. Not yet. She will be. They will be. She, they don’t know when. They’re waiting to see how the next two years pan out over the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – first get there, then perform and see. Marriage, it’s something she’d like to do.

“Yeah, it’s in the plans,” she says. “No never, ever. Never. I’ve never felt any pushback. I’ve a great family. They are very supportive. I don’t even know if I ever told them, if you know what I mean. There was never a big announcement or anything. It was ‘this is Mandy, she’s my partner’. That was it. Get on with it like.

“I just go through my life. Like I said, I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t have to go out and prove things or explain. You know what I mean. How I live my life, it’s none of their business. How you live your life . . . What you do with your life . . . Are you a good person? I think I’m a good person. I treat people with respect . . . if they deserve it.”

Kelly Harrington is greeted by her partner Mandy Loughlin Morgan Treacy / INPHO Kellie Harrington with her partner Mandy. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

‘Who am I? I’m Kellie Harrington’ — The Irish Times’ Johnny Watterson sat down with the world lightweight champion last weekend.

3. “For a country desperate to extract concessions from Ireland, pinching Declan Rice from under our noses without asking for anything in return was yet another careless own goal by the British government. Such is our desperation for a top-level midfielder, we would have been willing to reopen all negotiations to get the young Londoner back into a green jersey. You want the backstop gone? No problem. Heck, let’s reopen the border commission and throw in Monaghan and Cavan too.”

Eoghan Rice penned his thoughts in a piece entitled ‘Real football does not run on remote control’ for The Times.

4. “It took me a couple of weeks to find out that I had actually done my cruciate and I won’t lie, I was so low, it was the lowest I have ever been in my life.

“Leading up to the surgery I just thought right everything is going to start going right for me now, I’ve gotten myself into this situation, I can get myself out of it and I am going to be so focused but then it was cancelled. I just thought I actually don’t care anymore, everything is just going wrong, what’s the point in even trying anything? I felt like I had lost my identity, who am I without sport?”

Clare all-rounder Naomi Carroll spoke honestly about her disappointment in missing out on the 2018 Hockey World Cup squad and her ACL strugges with Lisa Crowley for the WGPA.

Arsenal v Manchester United - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Emirates Stadium EMPICS Sport Arsenal players dejected. EMPICS Sport

5. “The problem, you see, isn’t losing to BATE Borisov. It’s not Alex Lacazette’s elbow or Mesut Ozil’s contract. It’s not Aaron Ramsey or Sven Mislintat. It’s not the failure to spend in January, it’s not the void in central defence, it’s not the curiously unshakeable belief that an attacking move doesn’t really exist unless it’s gone through Sead Kolasinac first. It’s not Unai Emery’s midfield diamond, it’s not Emery’s 3-5-2, it’s not even really Emery himself.

The problem, as Arsenal enter the final stretch of a season in which the best-case scenario is fourth place and a Europa League, and the worst-case scenario is sixth place and another shot at the Europa League, is that at some point, Arsenal simply stopped making you feel.”

The Independent’s chief sports writer Jonathan Liew on all things Arsenal.

6. “If modern society is managing to break down ancient taboos around matters of mental health such as depression, then surely it is time also to dismantle the stigma around psychological breakdown in sport.

The common term for this phenomenon is not so much a label as an accusation: choking. In a milieu that has for ever and a day exalted valour, an iron nerve, a bloody-minded refusal to be beaten, choking connotes cowardice, fear, a betrayal of the revered manly virtues. To be a champion is to be a man; to be a choker is to barely be a man at all.”

Shane Lowry on the 9th Oisin Keniry / INPHO Shane Lowry. Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

Shane Lowry reminds us why we need a new term for ‘choking,’ writes The Times’ Tommy Conlon.

7. “It remains one of the most tantalizing questions in all of American professional sport: Does game-fixing still exist? In the 100 years since 1919, when gamblers blackened the Chicago White Sox, only the Tim Donaghy scandal has offered the hint of an answer — but also a repudiation.”

ESPN’s Scott Eden explored how former referee Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games.

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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