It’s a Long, Long Road
Irish Trilogy- 1st test against the Kiwis
Was I bovvered Saturday week ago? A rhetorical question when it comes to watching Team Kidney. Actually I almost wasn’t and after the first ten minutes I went out to do some messages.
I wasn’t remotely surprised when I heard the final score a few hours later. More pertinently my focus lingered initially on the SKY graphics. It stayed there for the pre match banalities, were a tricolour and an Ulster flag were formally displayed as the teams marched on to the pitch.
SKY’s TV logo displayed a tricolour and a silver fern. (At least they got the Kiwi bit right).
When my empathy with Team Kidney is next to non- existent, then little things begin to grate. Whether the IRFU have a policy on denying the existence of Northern Ireland or not, right now, it’s grist to my already jaundiced mill.
Irish Trilogy- 2nd test against the Kiwis
The TV graphics despite my ‘concerns’ not having been published yet were amended and showed suitable neutrality with the silver fern and an IRFU symbol in opposing corners of the screen.
I didn’t see the opening banalities so don’ t know if they’d got the flags sorted for the second match. Ireland tapped into the All Blacks complacency which despite their outpourings and clichéd talk of respecting the opposition, proceeded to treat Ireland lightly.
Didn’t see most of the match but it seems Ireland wuz robbed with Nigel Owens, (the ref!) taking to Twitter to mount a defence of his display with the whistle. A sure sign of someone on the back foot!
Not overboard about this near miss as the 3rd match is likely to revert to type and Ireland will get smashed again.
Of note is seeing Kidney explain his team selection, it’s like listening to Mr. Mystery. He may as well just send his voice for watching the impenetrable visage of Deccie K is like looking at Angkor Wat in the rain.
Irish Trilogy- 3rd test against the Kiwis
Will hopefully be on the boat to France by the time the pre match banalities are finished and won’t in all likelihood see it.
The Ulster players revolving door selection policy continues at pace.
“Hello Declan, goodbye Trimby.
Hello Trimby, goodbye (and thanks,) Declan
Hello Paddy, goodbye Trimby.”
3 is the maximum Ulster representation starting for Ireland. Have I missed something or is there a balancing of the books going on??
Nah, it’s just coincidence. Invisible or nearly invisible, in case you’d forgotten, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave and Chris Henry.
English Gripe French Moan- Irish just Get On With It
Well there you go, the English ain’t winning the Heiny so a change is needed.
England, whose famed Aviva Premiership teams have failed to make much of a dent in the Heineken Cup finals in recent times have come up with a cunning plan to make a name for themselves in the 2013/14 version of the HC.
They will make it harder for Celtic and Italian teams to qualify and then will add more of their teams to the mix to give themselves a better chance of winning it.
The ultimate scenario for the Aviva Premiership powerbrokers will be that by 2020 there will only be English teams playing in the Heineken Cup thereby ensuring at least one of them will win it!!!
Everything from Steven Ferris being assembled as a Heineken Cup Robocop to Richard Cockerill falling out with Roman Poite has been blamed for the AP teams being swallowed whole by the opposition.
There is a kind of self obsession with the English in particular that is wholly ingratiating. It ranges from whinge when they’re not winning to wholesale meglomaniac tendencies and stellar orbital thoughts of global domination when they are.
I recall circa 2003, after winning the world cup and the Tigers winning the Heineken two years in a row, that the rest of the Northern Hemisphere were deemed not good enough opposition.
They talked about absconding south to play with the Southern Hemisphere big boys in super whatever it was then. It’s like suffering a teenager full of it.
For sure the Americans have the World Series involving only American teams, so there’s no reason why they can’t have a European Cup involving just the English teams!!
They’re welcome to it and will no doubt feel no hint of embarrassment when Cornish Pirates play London Welsh in the 2020 European Rugby Final.
Our golfers have struggled after their purple patch these last few years. Rory Mac, the bright new thing of World golf has taken his eye off the ball.
Whether this could be bad for Ulster Rugby, one refuses to speculate.
For sure it’s bad viewing for Ulster folk who may wish to see their hero perform on the golf course and its clear his head may be somewhere else. At the moment Rory is following the well worn path of previous Ulster sporting heroes whose star briefly flares before coming down in flames.
It may be premature to write this talent off, but all the signs are of someone who has strived to reach the top and then re-focuses his mind on other priorities, which are not the ones that brought him success.
At least Graeme McDowell has showed signs of a comeback after his previous stellar performance at Pebble Beach. Let’s hope Rory re-focuses on the things that brought him success, money, fame and wealth.
Coastal Roads, Take Me Home …
I’m in rehab, as I type, after completing the Bangor coastal cycle in aid of charity.
This was a 60 mile round trip of the Ards Peninsula run by the North Down Cycle Club and expertly marshalled by the club and the PSNI. Enjoyed it by and large, apart from the guy who almost brought me down as we descended into Portaferry.
Never knew there were so many cycles in Northern Ireland as there were 1000 plus bikes on show ranging from tandems, mountain bikes, through to sleek and very expensive road racers.
Some things remain imprinted on my mind:
- The recklessness of some riders and car drivers coming in the other direction.
- All NDCC female cyclists appear to be blondes.
- Holywood PSNI appeared on Facebook to say he’d be doing this one on a mountain bike. No choice apparently as it’s part of the uniform. ‘No carbon forks here,’ he reported from the safety of the barracks!
- All NDCC male cyclists wear pink without the slightest hint of embarrassment.
For the record I cycled the 60 miles in 3 hours and 15 minutes with help from an NDCC peleton propelling me up the coast road towards Newwtownards at an average speed of 18mph.
At the end of the week, I am hopefully heading off to France for the guts of 4 weeks where I hope to meet up with Le Paul, the president of the French wing of the Ulster Supporters Branch.
I am confident that I can appraise the dear reader of the sights and sounds of the holidays with weekly updates, assuming the Ed can put up with the rambling nature of my articles.