New Zealand won the World Cup for the first time since 1987 last October. David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Looking Back

The sporting year in review: October

The Rugby World Cup came to a close, Ireland qualified for the Euro 2012 playoffs and the GAA All Stars were announced. How was it for you?

OCTOBER WAS UNDOUBTEDLY a pivotal month in the sporting calendar this year.

It featured Ireland qualifying for the Euro 2012 playoffs, the announcement of the All Star awards — with Dublin and Kilkenny players unsurprisingly featuring heavily in football and hurling nomnations respectively — and perhaps most intriguingly of all, the business end of the Rugby World Cup.

The winners

Giovanni Trapattoni: Despite criticism from certain supporters and sections of the Irish media for employing a style of football that wasn’t exactly easy on the eye, Giovanni Trapattoni defied his critics by helping Ireland to their second successive playoff qualification following their 2-1 victory over an impressive-looking Andorra team.

Alain Rolland: As the world watched, Rolland had a pivotal decision to make: it would’ve been easy to let the emotion of the occasion get to him and let Sam Warburton off with a yellow, but Rolland made the right call in sending off the young Welsh captain.

The New Zealand rugby team: While their World Cup final win was an exercise in nail-biting if ever there was one, New Zealand deserved considerable praise for managing to overcome the pressure that comes with bearing the burden of a nation’s expectations.

Henry Shefflin: The Kilkenny hurler received an unprecedented tenth All Star, reflecting both Shefflin’s individual excellence and his side’s near-relentless dominance of the sport in recent years.

The losers

Declan Kidney: Ireland enjoyed a bittersweet World Cup, which ended in decidedly anti-climatic fashion. While Kidney got his tactics spot on in his side’s historic defeat of Australia, the same cannot be said for his team’s disappointing loss to Wales, in which practically every player in a green jersey under-performed when they could least afford to.

John Terry: Chelsea’s indifferent form saw them suffer a surprise 1-0 defeat to QPR. Worse still was the consequences of the game, in which Terry was alleged to have racially abused opposition defender Anton Ferdinand in a case which is still being investigated.

Wayne Rooney: October of this year was one of Rooney’s worst months in recent memory. Not only did he manage to get himself sent off in England’s final Euro 2012 qualifier – meaning he would be forced to miss the start of Euro 2012 through suspension – but he was also part of a Man United team that suffered the ignominy of losing 6-1 at Old Trafford to bitter rivals Man City.

Highlight of the month:

For the pure ruthlessness of the performance, coupled with the shock-waves it sent around Europe, Man City’s 6-1 demolition of their neighbours United proved that — for the first time ever — they were genuine contenders for the Premier League title.

YouTube Credit: ChepsiHD5

Headline of the month

Super Mario: Balotelli does it again by stepping in to stop schoolyard bully October was another busy month for Balotelli both on and off the field, with his penchant for eccentric behaviour almost single-handedly ensuring once again that the sports pages were worth reading.

Picture of the month

The picture of a bleeding George North truly does speak a thousand words, as it epitomises the sheer fearlessness that was associated with Warren Gatland’s young side at the Rugby World Cup.

Tweet of the month

Who could forget the many memorable #seanobrienfacts inspired by the player’s near-superhuman displays at the Rugby World Cup?

Sporting Viral of the month

It was one of the most viewed clips on YouTube and it’s easy to see why. Here it is again anyway, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months:

YouTube Credit: mcsmcc

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

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