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What it's like to play football on your period and more of the week's best sportswriting

Plus, Tim Keown looks at the NFL’s most beloved player on its most disastrous team.

File pic.
File pic.
Image: PA

1. “In the past few years, I’ve not had the easiest relationship with what we might euphemistically term “that time of the month”.

“My cramps were once so excruciating that I couldn’t stand long enough to warm a hot-water bottle and my brother had to do it for me, while I curled up and argued that if men had periods, they would have invented something by now to definitively take the edge off. It reached the point that I visited my GP in agony.

“Things have, touch wood, calmed down since then, but I couldn’t help but feel alone and unsure of where to turn. Even other women were reluctant to meet me with empathy. They would shrug, breezily saying how some women really just didn’t have it that badly.

“This is true but only around 10 per cent of women glide through their periods with no discomfort at all.”

The Athletic’s Katie Whyatt asks: ‘What’s it like to play football on your period?’

2. What do you see when you look at Ollie Horgan?

An accomplished pianist who enjoys the works of Bach and Beethoven?

A maths teacher dedicated to passing on his own passion for theorems and formulae to the pupils of St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny?

A family man who’s spent years and years driving around the country to invest his time in grassroots football; who never wears shoes when he’s scouting players and likes to mix and match GAA shorts with his Finn Harps club gear?

All of this is Ollie Horgan, the wild-haired Galway man who made his name at Fanad United in the Ulster Senior League before getting his break into League of Ireland management with Finn Harps in 2013.

RTÉ Sport’s Anthony Pyne profiles Finn Harps boss Ollie Horgan.

3. IT’S one of those bright November mornings where the low winter sun has a blinding impact.

There’s chill in the air, but a freshness too.

It’s the time of lockdown, so there aren’t many in the Phoenix Park. Ted Furman leads the way. He knows where he wants to take us, where he wants the photographs to be taken.

Leaves crunch underfoot as he takes us to a wooded spot and then he stops. Here. It was here.

Paul Nicholls, the photographer, sets up the snaps and, when he has what he needs, Furman sits down to talk.

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Why the Phoenix Park? Why that particular spot in the park for the pics? There’s a story there.

Writing for Buzz.ie, Kieran Cunningham tells the Ted Furman story.

4. THE MAN APPEARING in the doorway of Adam Gase’s office late on an October Wednesday night looks like a character out of a nursery rhyme, squat and nearly square. He is an employer of few words, and his presence in this doorway at this moment attests to the overall seriousness of his purpose.

The 2020 New York Jets are winless at this point and will remain so, perhaps in perpetuity, and their record provides only the merest hint of their systemic dysfunction. Gase, the head coach, is sitting at his desk trying to figure out something — anything, really — when the visitor arrives. It is nearly 9 p.m., hours after the day’s final meetings and a time when every player is usually long gone.

At a tap at the door, Gase looks up to see Frank Gore.

ESPN’s Tim Keown looks at the NFL’s most beloved player on its most disastrous team.

5. It’s incredible that sports medicine has only been recognised the last 15 years,” Bill Ribbans says as he reflects on his four decades of work as an orthopaedic surgeon and doctor across eight professional sports. Ribbans has offered surgical or medical care to Olympic and world champions – from Greg Rutherford and Paula Radcliffe to Michael Schumacher and Jessica Ennis-Hill – while also working for the British Boxing Board of Control, Northampton Saints, Northamptonshire cricket club and England’s rugby union team.

The Guardian’s Donald McRae conducts a typically fascinating interview with sport surgeon Bill Ribbans.

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