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The Second Captain who went in search of George Gibney and more of the week's best sportswriting

Plus, Anthony Daly revists the Offaly trilogy of ’98, the ‘sit-in’ and what haunts him most from a painful year.

Mark Horgan of Second Captains (file pic).
Mark Horgan of Second Captains (file pic).
Image: James Crombie

1. There’s a fear rooted in all of us, a kind of primal instinct, that men who sit in cars at night are up to no good. That’s what worried them. It was dark, they were sitting in a wine-coloured SUV, and it was the only parked car on the street. And this was America. What if someone peered through a curtain and decided to call the cops? Or came out a front door pointing a gun?

It was a classic suburban neighbourhood; timber-framed homes with US flags on the porches, pickups in the driveways and well-tended lawns. Mark Horgan sat at the wheel and checked his mirrors constantly; Ciarán Cassidy sat in the back and stared through the rear window at the house across the street.

Paul Kimmage of The Sunday Independent profiles Mark Horgan of Second Captains and his search for George Gibney.

2. Ger Loughnane had loads of piseogs. One of them was to tog out beside me. When I returned to my place in the dressing room after the replayed 1998 Munster final, Loughnane hugged me. I could feel the madness coming off him like kinetic energy.

On the Monday, we were having a few pints in Navin’s in Clarecastle when one of the lads asked me what Loughnane said to me. “Nothing,” I said.

“What do you mean nothing,” came the reply. “I saw him hugging you.” 

“He said nothing. Loughnane just caught me by the jersey and snarled at me. ‘Aaagggghhhh.’” 

In a piece for the Irish Examiner, Anthony Daly recalls the Offaly trilogy of ’98, the ‘sit-in’ and what haunts him most from a painful year.

3. They left him for dead on the toilet floor. Mrs Heathfield, his old geography teacher, would find him, long after the brutal business of the kicking and the gouging and the punching.

Coiled in a corner, shivering and shaking, surrounded by the detritus of bloody battle. S**t and p**s, spit and blood.

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He wasn’t dead, of course. They wouldn’t have killed him. That would have spoiled their fun. After all, that would mean there wouldn’t be another opportunity to beat Shaun Murphy up.

The Irish Independent’s David Kelly interviews snooker star Shaun Murphy.

4. When it came right down to it, in the words of one source connected to the now aborted Newcastle United takeover, “Saudi Arabia behaved in exactly the way the Premier League wouldn’t have wanted”.

That was a reference to the state’s decision to bar Qatar’s beIn Sport from operating in the kingdom earlier this month, as part of the ongoing piracy dispute. It was seen as a needless escalation, the opposite of a solution to the complications arising from the dispute and – ultimately – “the final nail in the coffin”.

Miguel Delaney of The Independent assesses the Saudi Arabia consortium’s withdrawal of their £300 million bid for Newcastle United.

5. Those final few minutes, the ones which an entire season rests, do something strange to time. The clock seems to slow, each second clawing and scratching for its moment before it yields to the next. But each is so pregnant with meaning, or with the possibility of meaning, that even in these moments that last an age, it can be hard to keep up.

The New York Times’ Rory Smith reflects on the climax of the Premier League season.

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