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Remembering Jimmy Magee, online trolls and the week's best sportswriting

Plus, we have Ronan O’Gara writing a tribute piece in memory of Ex-Munster and Leinster Rugby media official Pat Geraghty.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. For such a major operation, the reconstruction of a cruciate ligament is surprisingly quick: just a couple of hours in theater, no general anesthetic. Gundogan’s whole lower body was numb, but, aside from the first few minutes, he was awake throughout.

Cugat instructed his assistants to turn the video screen toward Gundogan, so that he could follow the process: two small incisions above and below the knee; the insertion of a tiny camera probe; the removal of part of his patella tendon, which was then fixed in place as a substitute for the A.C.L., completely torn and unrepairable.

“A lot of it was too complicated for me,” Gundogan said of the procedure. “I didn’t watch all the time, but they wanted me to watch. I still don’t know if that was a good thing. The most interesting thing was the camera coming out of the knee: I could see the screw.”

Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan relives the pain of suffering a torn ACL injury, the operation, and the long road to recovery in an interview with the New York Times.

Manchester City v Celtic - UEFA Champions League - Group C - Etihad Stadium Source: Martin Rickett

2. “I could pull up my Twitter right now and there would be a fat comment in there somewhere,” he says. “Like I could tweet, ‘Today is a beautiful day!’ and someone would be like, ‘Oh yeah? You fat.’ I sit there and wonder: ‘What do you get out of that?’”

When the internet turns one of your most personal flaws into a meme, how the hell do you possibly escape it?

Ever since his weight became a public topic during his four years in Green Bay — which included two 1,100-yard seasons — Lacy had read those kinds of comments and brooded in silence, convinced he couldn’t win. Responding would only give his tormentors a smirk of satisfaction, knowing they’d wounded him. If he worked hard, got back in shape through yoga and P90X, maybe then the jokes would fade.

Except they didn’t fade. If anything, they multiplied.

In an interview with ESPN, Seattle Seahawks player Eddie Lacy openly discusses the abuse he receives from online trolls about his weight.

3. Today, there’s an overwhelming emphasis upon getting men behind the ball and midfielders are instructed to shield the defence. West Brom manager Tony Pulis, for example, spends hours drilling his midfielders to shift laterally without leaving gaps between them; the type of drill that would have been reserved for defenders two decades ago. If you have a functioning, compact and defensive-minded team, your centre-backs often aren’t stretched.

The consequence is that it’s more difficult to find space in dangerous positions. Strikers aren’t presented with regular point-blank chances and, therefore, simply being a good finisher is no longer enough. Instead there’s more emphasis upon players who have a burst of acceleration over a couple of yards.

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League - St Mary's Stadium Source: Andrew Matthews

ESPN’s Michael Cox explores Jose Mourinho’s theory about the Premier League becoming a more defensive game.

4. He found common ground with listeners old and new, effortlessly soothing troubled waters.

That was the essence of Jimmy Magee and so being plucked from relative obscurity in Cork to edit Jimmy’s programme was a broadcasting tutorial, always worth the weekly commute. There was little point in writing a brief for him before an interview because invariably he knew more than your research could ever uncover about a sports star or a forthcoming event. But he wore his knowledge lightly, never intimidating but always welcoming and inclusive. In the days before Google and Wikipedia, Jimmy Magee was the internet.

RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue pays tribute to the memory of Jimmy Magee in this Irish Examiner article.

Jimmy Magee Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

5. It’s not a glaring mistake, it’s not a mistake that has led directly to a chance but deep down I know that my mistake has contributed directly to a goal that turned the course of an important match. As I traipse off the pitch I can feel the sick rising in my throat.

In the dressing room it’s the worst sound, the one that always comes with defeat – silence. I sit there replaying and visualising hundreds of times that one moment where my decision has influenced the outcome. I get on the coach and I’m still going over that moment. As I drive home I’m still seeing it. I get home and crawl into bed at 2am, and for the next five hours I’m staring at the ceiling watching the same movie in my mind over and over.

For The Guardian, Liam Rosenior of Brighton candidly describes the pain of suffering a recent defeat and what can be learned from the experience.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship - The Amex Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

6. If his public and media persona was of a coarse, brusque individual, then it presented a distorted version of Pat Geraghty. There are people you get a very warm vibe off immediately and Geraghty was one such. In rugby, there’s an awful lot of us strut about like we are bulletproof, but in fact we are quite insecure.

He was very good in that regard, giving you a steer on what to say and how to say it. Assuring us he had us covered. None of us were savvy in media training in those early days, and it was a great feeling knowing you weren’t on your own going into these press sessions.

It’s well-worn now by the telling, but the time he went nose-to-nose with a prying French journalist at a pre-match training session in Paris summed up the protective shield he willingly threw around us. “Geraghty, go down there and tell yer man to get the fuck off,” Claw was telling him in his own inimitable way. Your man wouldn’t move and Pat gave him a box. No ifs or buts. Bang.

Ronan O’Gara remembers former Munster and Leinster Rugby media official Pat Geraghty in this piece he wrote for the Irish Examiner.

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