Pat Sullivan celebrates his wonder striker which sent Rovers through. Image: INPHO/Aleksandar Djorovic
Looking Back

The sporting year in review: August

Ooof! Remember this Pat Sullivan goal against Partizan Belgrade?

AUGUST SAW IRELAND warm-up to the Rugby World Cup in uninspiring fashion and Dublin’s footballers overcome Donegal to reach their first All-Ireland final in 16 years.

Shamrock Rovers made history for the Airtricity League, while Rory McIlroy got himself a new girlfriend.

The winners

Robbie Keane: Tired of warming Spurs’ bench and with talk of a possible move to the Championship and, in particular, Leicester City, Ireland’s record goalscorer was offered a “dream” move to LA Galaxy. Unsurprisingly, he and Claudine jumped at the chance of relocating to the West Coast, where he linked up with David Beckham and Landon Donovan.

Shamrock Rovers: The Hoops defied the odds and became the first League of Ireland club to progress through to the group stages of the Europa League. Defender Pat Sullivan stunned the Partizan Belgrade crowd with a striker he is unlikely to ever better to give Rovers the draw they needed to qualify.

The losers

The Irish rugby team: Preparations for September’s World Cup in New Zealand went horribly as Declan Kidney’s side lost out to Scotland, France (twice) and England. Despite a poor showing in the four warm-up games, Ireland did manage to get it together for the tournament itself.

Arsenal: Manchester United became the first team to put eight past an Arsenal team since Loughborough Athletic in 1896. Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Nani, Ji-Sung Park and a Wayne Rooney hat-trick sealed what will go down as one Arsene Wenger’s worst days as Gunners boss.

Conor Niland: Earning the chance to test himself against world number one Novak Djokovic after comeing through three rounds of qualifying at the US Open, the Limerick man was forced to retire from the match while he trailed 6-0 5-1 as he was suffering from food poisoning.

Ian McKinley: Up and coming Leinster player Ian McKinley was forced to call time on his short career at the age of 21 due to an injury which resulted in him losing the sight in his left eye. The young out-half had captained the Ireland U20s against Samoa in the 2009 World Cup but failed to recover from his sight after a facial injury while playing for UCD.

Highlight of the month

Ok, so we’re not going to pretend to be the biggest Gold Coast Titans fans out there but this try by winger David Mead needs to get a mention.

The 22-year-old’s one-handed pick-up was so outstanding that the referee could hardly believe his eyes and called for a TMO review just to watch the thing of beauty again.

YouTube credit:

Headline of the month

It’s official: Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki are an item The US Open winners new romance with the tennis star was confirmed during an interview he did with Ah, young love.

Picture of the month

The Spanish Super Cup was marred by an on-field clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona players and don’t you know Jose Mourinho ended up in the middle. This pic catches the Special One poking his finger into the eye of Barca assistant coach Tito Vilanova. Nasty.

Sporting Viral of the month

Kerry’s Darran O’Sullivan does his best Gianfranco Zola impression with this goal in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Limerick.

YouTube credit:

Tweet of the month

Arsenal youngster Emmanuel Frimpong takes a pop at former team-mate Samir Nasri after the Frenchman departs London for a big money move to Manchester City.

Read more of our month-by-month review of 2011 here >