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Picks For 10th Instalment Of Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic makes its tenth appearance this weekend and it’s bigger than ever.

One weekend a year the Stradbally estate is transformed for the Electric Picnic festival and that pays Tomas Cosby’s bills for the rest of the year. The Picnic is a sell out in 2013 with 35,000 people reportedly descending on Stradbally over the weekend for a carnival that is much more than the sum of its big names. There are no controversial Killers in the line-up this year and the bill has the stamp of eclectic excellence that has brought EP from what was humble boutique beginnings in 2004 to its present position as the biggest festival in the country in 2013. Michael Franti put it succinctly saying that Electric Picnic managed to strike “the perfect balance of hedonism and social consciousness.” Continue reading

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Longitude Guide – Schedule, Picks And Site Map

The forecast is perfect for Longitude’s debut this weekend in Marlay Park, 53.2775° N, 6.2697° W.

So as the sun shines on this urban festival who are the ones worth catching and which clashes have left you dejected since the timetable was released on Tuesday? This line-up is full of indie heavy-hitters and must see dance acts so there are bound to be some tough decisions, last minute darts and groups sent their separate ways only to converge in the Bacardi Tent – yes the trappings include an Oakheart Bacardi Bar where good tunes are guaranteed for the weekend – afterwords to boast and gloat about each others respective right choices. Continue reading

O’Driscoll Dropped as Gatland Reverts to Welsh for Decider

Brian O’Driscoll’s anguish after the final whistle in Saturday’s 16-15 defeat in the 2nd Test in Melbourne has been further compounded as he is dropped for the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday. Gatland’s decision to omit O’Driscoll from the 23 man squad for the final Test was announced in the Irish am and this country awoke to the news that their heroes’ Lions career has ended ignominiously. Sport is rarely sentimental; Gatland never is as he drops O’Driscoll for the first time in his career.

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Lions Ready To Break The Force

 

The Lions Tour to Australia officially kicked off last Saturday in Hong Kong as the Lions comprehensively defeated a lacklustre Barbarians side 59-8 in a match that fulfilled their commercial obligations en route to Oz. This was as far removed from a Test match as they will experience and the real opposition in the Ex-Pat citadel was the weather with temperatures as high as 30 degrees during the game and with unbearable humidity to boot. This was a training session conducted in extreme conditions – think literally the polar opposite of the cryotherapy chambers that the Welsh team have trained in previously under Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland to get some sort of idea of the extremity of it. Now that everyone seems to have come through unscathed and having run in a number of tries we can move onto the real business. After the Test series this chapter will either be lauded as great prep or pure madness; only hindsight really knows. Hong Kong was the prelude and with the Lions reaching Perth, the most Westerly city in the Australian continent and home to a booming mining industry, this much anticipated tour Down Under starts in earnest when they meet the Western Force this morning (11am kick off Irish time). Continue reading

Double Proves Fitting Send Off For Leinster Greats

Leinster 24 -v- Ulster 18

Leinster, the dominant force in Europe for the last five years, have landed a domestic title that has alluded them for three seasons in a row and in doing so completed a famous double. For this extraordinary group of players no less would have done.

For the last two years Heineken Cup hangovers and primed opposition have tainted what was meant to be their European champions’ party. This year was different. After bowing out in the group stages of the Heineken Cup, because of two defeats at the hands of the majestic Clermont, Leinster’s focus switched to the domestic title that had escaped their greedy grasp at their zenith. Last week’s European victory in the Amlin Cup took on a secondary importance. They enjoyed Friday night’s celebrations but didn’t allow them become weekend long sessions as they licked their Parisse induced bruises and returned to training on Monday setting their sights firmly on Ulster and the difficult task ahead. This was unfinished business. Their opponents for the final had completed a home and away double against them during the regular season and the game would demand the standards that have epitomised Leinster during the Joe Schmidt era, this technically away final in the RDS was his 99th and last game in charge of the province. However, the Ulster defeats earlier in the season were not the main motivating factor for Leinster instead it was the fact that they have been runners-up for the last three seasons in this competition that really irked them. For this uber successful bunch those defeats lingered through the Summer months. All talk this week was about completing the job, finishing the season off to their lofty standards and not leaving a sour taste, and that meant victory – the only fitting send off for Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa. Continue reading

The Irish News Review Lions Squad

Lions

The Lions squad to Tour Australia will be announced by Warren Gatland and his lieutenants tomorrow at 11am – Tuesday April 30th – and 38 players will Tour. The announcement will end the speculation that has been rife since the start of the Six Nations. The European semi-final weekend just gone was the final chance for the players to audition for the trip Down Under. Most of the plane is filled at this stage, but last weekend the coaching team split up for the final time to cast their eyes over proceedings in the RDS, Montpellier and Twickenham and the players in contention had one last opportunity to squeeze their way into the famous red jersey. Akin to the  attention paid to tennis player’s Wags  during Wimbledon, the cameras honed in on the faces of the Lions coaching staff at each break in play in order to spot a giveaway look, or nod of approval, that would signal someone had done enough. But further speculation was all that could be garnered from the steely expressions and early exits. Now the playing is over and it’s an agonising wait for those involved in marginal calls. Gatland and his henchmen will come together again today to finalise selections before facing the media and breaking the squad tomorrow – Tuesdays are rarely this exciting. After it’s announced the difficult work begins as they hope to become the first Touring side to record a Test series victory since Ian McGeechan’s men in South Africa in 1997. The Lions, as a sporting brand, needs to win but they face an Australian side that will be bolstered by their club’s best domestic Super rugby form in years , all their stars are fighting tooth-and-nail for a Test spot against the visiting Lions. What a Summer Down Under awaits! Continue reading

{Awayland} By The Villagers

{Awayland}

The Villagers’ second album brings fans further into the creative mind of the prolific Conor O’Brien.  However, after two years of touring the last album the Villagers are no longer a solo act masquerading as a band.  This offering is much more layered than its predecessor and the collaborative band effort has led to a fuller sound which will have wider reverberations in the music world. Continue reading