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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 30 September 2020

The sporting year in review: March

Howzat?! It was the month the country tried to understand cricket while the rugby lads beat England and Stephen Ireland opened his mouth again.

Ireland's cricketers celebrate their historic scalp against England at the Cricket World Cup.
Ireland's cricketers celebrate their historic scalp against England at the Cricket World Cup.
Image: ©INPHO/Sportzpics

IF YOU HAD to pick one month to define all that was good about Irish sport in 2011, March might well be it.

The Cricket World Cup was in full flight out east and the Boys in Green were quick to remind everyone that they weren’t there to make up the numbers; Declan Kidney’s rugby stars capped a disappointing Six Nations with a scalp that really mattered; and for four wonderful days, a small part of the English Cotswolds belonged to Ireland. Again.

Here’s how it all went down.

The winners

Ireland (in general): It’s impossible to pick just one winner from what was a remarkable month for Irish sport. At one end, Kevin O’Brien’s record-breaking century laid the foundations for an unimaginable upset against England at the Cricket World Cup. At the other, the Irish rugby team sent England home from the Aviva Stadium without the Grand Slam they’d come in search of. And wedged in the middle were a massive 13 Irish winners at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. Not bad for a small little country, eh?

Clarinbridge: The Galway men added a new name to the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship with a comfortable 2-18 to 0-12 win over O’Loughlin Gaels in Croker. In the football, it was a familiar feeling as Oisin McConville led Crossmaglen Rangers of Armagh to their fifth title in 15 years with a 2-11 to 1-11 win over St Brigid’s Roscommon.

Mark Boylan: The 13-year-old songster from Banagher, Co. Offaly, had the experience of a lifetime when he was flown over to Cheltenham to perform a tribute which he had penned in honour of horse racing’s biggest week.

Rogerio Ceni: Most goalkeepers go through their career without ever managing to get their name on the scoresheet, but Sao Paolo netminder Rogerio Ceni reached a milestone in March when he scored a free-kick — the 100th goal of his career.

The losers

Ireland (Stephen): The prodigal son landed himself in another fine mess when French magazine So Foot printed an interview in which Ireland appeared to say that he would rather shoot himself than return to live in his native Cork. Once the quotes were picked up here, Ireland was quick to distance himself from the comments but the damage had already been done.

Willie “Big Bang” Casey: After a hard slog to promote his WBA Super-Bantamweight title fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux, Casey lasted less than a round against the two-time Olympic gold medallist. Ouch.

Brandon Davies: The college basketball star was kicked off Brigham Young University’s team after he admitted having pre-marital sex with his girlfriend, a violation of the college’s “honour code”.

Highlight of the month

For the manner in which the drama unfolded and the country gradually tuned in over the course of a long day, it has to be Ireland’s three-wicket win over England in Bangalore.

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YouTube Credit: as1o1

Headline of the month

Hurricane Fly the pick of the bunch on Ruby Tuesday Headline writers have scarcely had an easier task. Although it seems that every Tuesday is Ruby’s Tuesday, his 75/1 treble on day one at Cheltenham — including a Champion Hurdle winning ride on Hurricane Fly — was particularly special.

Picture of the month

(©INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

It was more belly-to-belly than head-to-head but Kieran McGeeney and “Banty” McEnaney’s spat after the league game between Kildare and Meath was entertaining nonetheless.

Sporting viral of the month

Remember when England came to Dublin and won another Grand Slam? Oh yeah, that never happened, did it? Sorry, Nike.

YouTube Credit: TvStreet

Tweet of the month

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes had to take to the Twitter to deny he was looking for a transfer after his dad’s indiscreet gossip sent reporters into a frenzy.

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

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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