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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 6 July, 2020

When we were rich: the sporting highlights from the Celtic Tiger years

The party may be over but it was good while it lasted on the field of play.

THE GOVERNMENT EARLIER launched their four-year plan – a document apparently designed to get us all out of this mess.

Hopefully it is. But it’s clear, with the swinging cuts to social welfare, hikes in college fees and widening tax bands, the party’s over. So from behind a veil of tears, let’s look back at some of the brightest sporting days of the Celtic Tiger years.

1. We won a Grand Slam

It might have taken a ‘manky, reverse-spiral drop goal’ and a late, late Stephen Jones penalty to drop short in the Millennium Stadium, but they got over the line in the end. Amazing stuff.

2. We won a gold medal

Okay, so it didn’t count in the end as Cian O’Connor and Waterford Crystal were later stripped of the prize but at least Tommy Tiernan was able to go on Letterman and get a few minutes out of it. Back her into me PJ, etc and so on.

3. We snatched an amazing equaliser at the World Cup

Quinn. Robbie. Boom.

4. Seamus becomes WWE champion

A high-watermark in Irish sporting life, you’ll agree, reader. The Dub plays the part of the heel in the pantomime that is professional wrestling. And by God, he’s the best at it. Maith an fear.

5. Derval O’Rourke wins medals

She won a few in fact – including a silver at the European Championships. Don’t expect much more of this as funding-intensive athletics feels the pinch in the coming years, I suppose.

6. We won three Heineken Cups

Both Munster and then Leinster took European honours. The Dublin side beat their country cousins in a highly-charged semi-final in Dublin in 2009.

7. Kilkenny and Kerry dominated

The Cats were denied a five-in-a-row while the Kingdom were the football team of the decade (according to Pat Spillane).

What am I forgetting?

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