Last season, Ireland discovered just how important it was for their national team to have a game before Christmas. They beat Australia convincingly on a summer tour in 1979, something that was beyond the capability of Wales the year before, and when they returned, they rested on their laurels until the beginning of the 1980 international championship seven months later.
There were eight races and this was the last. Things were getting desperate. It wasn't the money lost but the whole sense of defeat that irked, that obliterated everything, that made the next race and the possibility of winning, of picking the right dog and betting at the right time more important than anything. In my jacket there was a £10 note that was burning to get out. It would be a risk but it would make up for everything. Somewhere among these six dogs was the one who was going to win. There should be some way of knowing which it was.
WHEN THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS RETURNED FROM THEIR 1980 tour of South Africa, the general consensus of opinion about their 3-1 defeat in the Tests was that the Lions forwards had won the series, but their backs had kicked it away.
When the Spanish referee, Augusto Lama-Castillo, disallowed Ireland's equalizer in Paris, not only may he have been guilty of a questionable bias in his refereeing, but he may also have burst the bubble of a now recurrent Irish dream, writes Paddy Agnew.
Lester Piggott and Vincent O'Brien have finally decided to go their separate ways. It is the way of racing that jockey/trainer partnerships, not unlike manager/club relationships in soccer, tend to flourish when the team is winning and tend to break up when the partnership hits a losing spell. So then what is so special about this particular break-up?
It doesn't feel like an international at all", announced Tony Ward to his room-mate John Robbie in their Shelbourne Hotel bedroom on the night before the Ireland v Romania game. Ward was referring with some bemusement to the fact that each time he came across one of the Romanians in the hotel, he was greeted with much polite, pidgin English and smiles. Normally there is an unspoken understanding between the two teams to ignore each other until after the match. By Paddy Agnew.
Most of my readers will probably be too young to remember the archetypal spiv as portrayed by Arthur English, with a square-shouldered, light fawn overcoat stretching way below his knees, with a cigarette drooping from underneath a pencil thin moustache, and with sharp, beady eyes glittering under a wide-brimmed, soft felt hat. John Reason.
People are doing it everywhere in the quiet recesses of university campuses, along country roads and lovers lanes, in the hills and the lowlands, they are at it. Jogging is the name of the game and currently there is a veritable outbreak of urbanites purging themselves of the unwanted calories of a sedentary work style in an orgy of strained calf muscles, sore knees and blistered feet.
It is a wet and windy September evening in an almost deserted Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. In the centre of the pitch twenty players stand in a circle around one man. That man is Mick O'Dwyer, arguably the most successful GAA team,trainer ever, and the players gathered around him are the Kerry football team, four times All Ireland Champions and arguably the best football team in GAA history.
"The race went perfect for me, I was always where I wanted to be, and even at the bell I thought that I was going to win. My strongest point as a runner is usually my ability to kick at the end of a race, but in the last lap of the 5,000 metres I just dragged. I gave it everything but I had nothing left… I guess I just wasn't destined to win."