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Dublin: 0°C Friday 23 April 2021

How to write an article like an ex-Kerry player and more in this week's sportswriting

Plus, the rise and fall of jockey Mary Bacon.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. “I’ve seen things I don’t think anyone else has seen in football,” Jermaine Pennant says on a late afternoon streaked with fading sunshine in Essex. We sit together on a small concrete bench behind an empty series of pitches which nurture the football dreams of boys at the West Ham Academy but, today, provides the training ground for Pennant’s unlikely new team. Billericay Town play in the Bostik Premier League, a regional division of semi-professional clubs which occupies the seventh tier of English football.”

Donald McRae of The Guardian sits down with Jermaine Pennant to discuss his career in a wide-ranging interview.

2. “So often women’s sport gets covered in the media in big picture terms. Half the time we talk about how it’s covered (or not) in the first place, the other half we talk about sprawling, amorphous topics like participation levels or funding or, God help us, whether or not some of it is suitable for girls.”

In the aftermath of Ireland’s World Cup victory over Australia, Malachy Clerkin of The Irish Times praised the forensic analysis of the RTÉ panel

3. “Writes DeLeonibus in the tenth paragraph: “Sparkman started last year and will be back on defense. He plays a very physical, tough-nosed brand of soccer.”


Writes DeLeonibus in the eleventh paragraph: “Watson started last year as a defensive player. He works very hard and has good speed.”


Writes DeLeonibus in the twelfth paragraph: “Dixon sucks donkey dicks and doesn’t wipe the shit off before practice. We like to keep him at the sweeper position so his sperm breath will stop people from penetrating to the goal. Speaking of penetrating, he prefers tall, red-headed guys. Told me to tell Kris he said ‘hello.’”




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Over on, Jeff Pearlman on the ‘The Fallout From Sportswriting’s Filthiest Fuck-Up.’

4. “All good Kerry legend articles begin with a lamenting nod to a recent defeat of Cork. While your neighbours on the other side of Kenmare Bay wont fall for your auld “tis fierce sad how Cork have declined over the last few years” nonsense your average Indo reader sitting in their 3 bed in Palmerstown won’t have a clue that secretly every card-carrying member of the Kingdom fan club is dancing around a big bonfire piled high with boxes of Barry’s tea and effigies of Michael Collins and Graham Norton every time Cork get a beating.”

Following his ‘How to write like Jim McGuinness piece’, @deltabravo64 is back for another as he guides us through ‘How to write an article like an ex-Kerry player ever in 4 steps.’

5. “Conor calls her from an alleyway, near a plastic skip. It’s going to eat his phone credit if she picks up, and he expects himself, in light of this, to hope belatedly that she won’t pick up, but he finds himself, regardless, hoping that she does. And she does. She says hello in a crisp, amused voice, as if this phone call is already part of an ongoing joke between them. Were you watching that? he says.”

In the NewStatesman, Sally Rooney writes about Robbie Brady’s goal against Italy at Euro 2016.

6. “The ballad of Mary Bacon. On June 5th, 1969, at the age of 21, just 12 weeks after giving birth to her first child, she rode her first winner as a professional jockey at the Finger Lakes Race Track in upstate New York. No woman had ever won at the venue before. How could they have? Just three months had passed since the pioneering Diane Crump pushed open the door for female jockeys at a race in Florida. If Crump broke down the barrier, Bacon made an immediate mark too.”

The Irish Times’ Davey Hannigan on the rise and fall of Mary Bacon, the jockey who saw her career fall apart after her appearance at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

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