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Posts Tagged ‘ Faroes Islands ’

2012 Irish Sport Review

kbKieran Behan defied the odds to become the second ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics despite expectations that he would never walk again.

Connacht recorded their first ever victory in the Heineken Cup with a 9-8 win over Harlequins, but still finished bottom of their group.

Ireland kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a 21-23 defeat to Wales which was followed by a 42-10 victory over Italy.

Irish rugby fans were left stranded in Paris following late cancellation of France vs Ireland in the Six Nations.

Galway native Richard Donovan broke his own world record in Sydney, Australia as he ran seven marathons in the space of four days, 22 hours and four minutes.

The rescheduled Six Nations game against France ended in a 17-17 draw. The remaining fixtures were a 32-14 win over Scotland and finally a disastrous St. Patrick’s Day for the national side as they were beaten 30-9 by England.

Cork landed their third Allianz Football League Division One title in a row with a 2-10 0-11 victory over Mayo.

Irish-born Aussie Rules hall of famer Jim Stynes passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer.

Kilkenny hammered Galway 3-26 to 0-10 to land National Hurling League Division One title.

Crusaders won the Setanta Sports Cup following a 5-4 victory on penalties against Derry City. The game was level at 2-2 after extra-time.

Katie Taylor won her fourth consecutive Amateur World Championship, beating Russian opponent Sofya Ochigava who she would later face in an historic sporting occasion.

Leinster landed the Heinken Cup after a 42-14 win over Ulster at Twickenham.

The Republic of Ireland crashed out of the Euro 2012 group stages as they failed to pick up a single point and scored just one goal. They were beaten 3-1 by Croatia, 4-0 by Spain and 2-0 by Italy.

The Airtricity League Premier Division lost another club as Monaghan United drop out due to financial reasons.

Cork, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo won their respective provincial Gaelic football titles

Tipperary, Galway and Antrim won their respective provincial Hurling titles.

Katie Taylor won gold for Ireland at the London Olympics. She recorded impressive victories over Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas and Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva before meeting Ochigava in a tightly contested Final which saw the Bray native triumph by a score of 10-8.ktJohn-Joe Nevin picked up silver while Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes won bronze in boxing at the London Olympics.

Cian O’Connor secured a bronze medal with his horse in the Individual Jumping event.

There was further success in London in the following weeks as the Irish Paralympic team returned home with a tally of 16 medals, their highest total since picking up 42 medals at the 1988 games in Seoul. They won 8 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.

jmcDonegal outshone Mayo to win their first All-Ireland title in 20 years. Jim McGuinness’ incredible year as Donegal manager did not go unnoticed abroad and he was handed a role as a performance consultant at Celtic just weeks later.

Kilkenny beat Galway in a replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final to secure yet another title.

The Republic of Ireland avoided an embarrassing opening to their World Cup Qualifiers Group as they score two late goals to take three points away from Kazakhstan.

Drogheda United won the EA Sports Cup following a 3-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium.

Sligo Rovers won their first League of Ireland title since 1977 after beating fellow title contenders St. Patrick’s Athletic in a dramatic game as Mark Quigley’s 87th minute penalty proved to be the decisive goal.

Limerick were promoted to the top tier of Irish football for the first time in 19 years.

The Republic of Ireland suffered one of its heaviest ever defeats as Germany hammered them 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium. The Boys in Green respond with a 4-1 win away to the Faroe Islands days later.

dcfcDerry City were crowned as the FAI Ford Cup Champions following a 3-2 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic after extra-time.

Gaelic football loses one of its all-time greats as Kerry hero Paidi O’Se passes away aged 57.

By Alan Finn

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Perspective-Superior Germans Have Problems Ireland Won’t Exploit

Will Jogi Be Jumping For Joy In Dublin?

Germany visit the Aviva Stadium to play against the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers tomorrow. Given the 100% record in the EURO 2012 qualifiers plus reaching the semi finals, the Germans enter the match as clear favourites. The vast majority of the Germany squad play either for the strongest Bundesliga teams like Borussia Dortmund or Bayern München, or have established themselves in some of the biggest teams in Europe, like Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira at Real Madrid, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker at Arsenal or Miroslav Klose at Lazio.

The team continues to be one of youngest and most talented ones in the history of German football, but despite (or because of) that, things are not as rosy as they seem.

There are a couple of things that are certain with a team from Germany. Number one: We could supply several other national teams throughout Europe with goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer, Ron-Robert Zieler and Marc-André ter Stegen are the three selected, but there is another handful of keepers in the Bundesliga other countries would be proud of having on their bench, or even between the posts. René Adler, Roman Weidenfeller, Bernd Leno, Fabian Giefer,….

Number two: There will always be enough attacking midfielders around. Okay, this is a more recent development, but the point stands. Germany have the choice of fielding 3 of the following behind lone striker Miroslav Klose: Müller, Özil, Podolski, Reus, Schürrle or Götze. It is suspected that Müller, Özil and Reus will get to start, but every combination is a threat for the opponent.

But this uber-offer of creative, pacy wingers hints at one of the major problems Germany face now and even more in the future. With Gomez injured, there is only Klose up front. And not many strikers are really showing themselves in the league. As coach Löw hinted before the Euros, it is suspected that a 4-6-0 formation like Spain played last summer with Marco Reus in the “false nine” role might be the solution. However, this formation has never really been tested in a competitive match.

Speaking of problems, there is another one that exists for years and doesn’t look either like being solved in the future; the defence. Mats Hummels misses the qualifiers with a foot injury, Philipp Lahm pulled out of the games as well. This makes a centre back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Holger Badstuber quite likely. Mertesacker was benched recently while Badstuber played left-back for Bayern in their last matches. The two are not used to playing alongside each other, that might leave gaps.

Things on the fullback positions are problematic too. It says a lot about a country as big as Germany, that all hopes relied on Lahm to perform on either side. There simply isn’t a second good to great left- or right-back in Germany, let alone a replacement. Joachim Löw heavily criticized Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer before the upcoming qualifiers because of his recent performances and was complaining he didn’t have many alternatives to choose from. It’s true that Schmelzer had a bad match against Austria last month and he has been occasionally found out against tougher opposition, but there are indeed not many replacements around, sadly. Boateng on the other flank, as Lahm’s backup, is expected to do a solid job, although nothing spectacular.

Okay okay, this is whining on a very high level, compared to Ireland’s problems. But these problems are enough to make people question Löw’s work as coach. However it is not expected to see him leave any time before the World Cup. Qualifying for a major competition is a box ticked by the German public and media, even before it starts. Therefore winning the group is a must for Löw and the team. And despite the Euro 2012 hangover the squad has, a few individual moments can make a difference against a spirited team performance. The game in Vienna last month is the best example, where two good moments in the match guaranteed two goals and the team was just about able to hang on to the three points, they didn’t deserve.

Key Man: Dortmund’s Marco Reus

All in all, these players now have found their form in the Bundesliga or the respective leagues and should be motivated enough to beat Ireland and then Sweden on Tuesday, at home in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Germany will line out like this: Neuer – Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Schmelzer – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Özil, Reus – Klose.

Against a restructuring home team, those eleven (plus subs) should be well able to comfortably beat the Republic of Ireland. However, the last Germany win on Irish soil was in 1979 (3-1). Alright, only two games were played in Ireland afterwards, both ending in a draw. The most recent was a 0-0 in the Euro 2008 qualifiers; only Mertesacker, Schweinsteiger and Podolski are players who featured in that match and are back five years on.

I’ll say Germany has enough quality to beat Ireland comfortably, despite all the defensive problems I predict a 3-0 win for Germany to keep the 100% record in the qualifying group.

By Ansgar Löcke (@ansgarius_90)

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