Posts Tagged ‘ Guinness ’

Six Nations 2015 – Are You Not Entertained?

England-Rugby-Ball

Ah here c’mon now, how negative can we be? All the buzz since our emphatic win over France, Irish rugby fans all over have been harping on about how we still don’t look great and there is still work to be done. I won’t disagree with that second point but, we’re looking better than ever guys and here’s why.

Remember back a few years, just before David Wallace’s career ending injury? Remember when The Bull hung up his boots and we crawled into a humiliation in Twickenham two years ago? Do you remember, this time last year, wondering what the hell we would ever do without that fella wearing 13 on his back? Well what we have done since all of these things is win five games in a row, two against top three southern hemisphere teams and one against a side who up until last year had only suffered three defeats from us in this century. What I’m saying is – stop focusing solely on what happens on the pitch and take a step back. Ireland are neck and neck with England for the title of best team in Europe, neck and neck in the Six Nations race too and most importantly – they’re winning. Up until the “Golden Generation” arrived we would always be happy with the win. Dirty wins like Scotland 07, it didn’t matter. Then we became seriously good, always managing to score but more and more we couldn’t manage to win. Now it’s all about the win. Not that Ireland at this moment in time are playing ball up the jumper rugby and that’s that rather there are tailored game plans (and cards being held with a World Cup later this year). Ireland scraped past France and should have had another point or two on Italy but they won. Continue reading

Guinness Series – Who Will Tame The Wallabies?

Robbie-Henshaw

Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Assuming there isn’t a Joe Schmidt curveball to come, the starting XV for this Saturday against Australia will come from the best of the Boks and Georgia fixtures. At a glance you would say that the starting team from the South Africa fixture will get to go out and prove their mettle once more, excluding Jared Payne of course who is ruled out with the sprain suffered in that game. That said though, some hands went up against Georgia and you couldn’t put it past Schmidt to feel those few deserve their chance, on the bench at the very least.

In the front row, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross will surely be nailed on starters for Saturday. You could argue Cronin if Best is good to go, but Schmidt is not going to put in someone on merit so unless Best has a training week for the ages Cronin has got to start. Mike Ross has had a tough old run of it, playing to 74 minutes against the Boks, but having had so little game time beforehand it is still likely he will get the nod. In the second row you cannot look past Devin Toner and Paul O’Connell, especially with the commanding presence the former brought to the pitch when he was introduced last weekend. Dave Foley has likely played himself onto the bench however. The back row throws up a few more debates, especially when they will be up against the like of Matt Hooper, though admittedly the Aussie back rows had little or no fun against France last week. For Ireland, Dominic Ryan has likely played himself onto the bench, marginally ahead of Tommy O’Donnell though the latter did nothing wrong against Georgia or South Africa. The two are just simply fairly level and Ryan would benefit more from the experience. Expect no less than Jamie Heaslip and Peter O’Mahony to fill out the rest of the pack. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Munster Do It Again In Cardiff

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Six from six in Wales, Munster just have an upper hand over Cardiff to envy. Just like their heroics against Sale, it was anything but smooth sailing to nab this scalp but it is yet another crucial victory in correcting their course going into December, made all the more important by the fact that a lot of “second string” players fronted up for this trip. Leinster and Ulster also notched up important wins, once more carrying the extra significance of the benchwarmers and Connacht faltered somewhat admirably in Wales. Let’s go.

Munster had us worried, but with this second last gasp win of the season only six weeks in, I think we can all agree they’re heading in the right direction. With another potentially tough trip to Wales coming up on November 21st and players like Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan and Johnny Holland likely to be required to help keep the squad in check whilst the Irish contingent are away and potentially in the weeks after that pending injuries, it is significant that each of them had solid outings on Saturday. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Testing Times Ahead Of Europe

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Clean sweep it may have been, but perfect it was anything but. This most recent weekend of Pro 12 rugby has shown just how much the Irish provinces, Ulster aside, may be clinging on by their fingernails in European competitions this season, a shame when the new iteration could do with some input from nations outside of France and England to solidify it somewhat. That’s not to say that things are in dire straits and we would be lucky to see even one Irish side make the knock outs, but several kicks up several behinds are required in order for all four provinces to be competitive.  Continue reading

Pro 12 – Connacht To Be Tested In Galway

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It has been an exciting two weeks in Celtic rugby with the opening rounds of the Guinness Pro 12 throwing up a shock result or two, the opening weekend notching a record all time high for tries scored, and generally a grander sense of importance to it all with the European game in the balance. Aside from Munster, who would hopefully be up against little resistance in overcoming Zebre, Irish fans will get to see some true challenges facing their provinces this weekend, not least of all being Connacht up against reigning champions Leinster.
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Pro 12 – Big Guns Returning For The Provinces

Felix Jones returns to 15 for Munster tonight

Felix Jones returns to 15 for Munster tonight

Firstly, apologies. Yes there was no preview/review of the opening weekend of the Guinness Pro 12 last week, lack of planning and timekeeping are at fault for that one. For what it’s worth, I would’ve predicted every game entirely wrong so that’s something! Normal service can now resume however and we can now look ahead to this weekend’s upcoming fixtures. Continue reading

News In Brief: Point Renamed Again As Crow Reigns Terror On Louth

Caw Caw! (image: imperialmocha.deviantart.com)

Caw Caw! (image: imperialmocha.deviantart.com)

Another week, another cacophony of news -“Caw-caw” being the operative sound. Remember those sinister seagulls a few weeks ago? Ruining the height of summer with their antisocial behaviour? It’s not over yet, the birds are back.

There’s a crazy crow on the loose in Louth. Apparently, unlike the gulls this crow is a lone operator picking on dogs and the vulnerable as well as annoying everyone by pecking at kitchen windows. Perhaps we should give the fowl a minute, he might be trying to tell us something! Continue reading

News in Brief: Quinn Jumps Before He’s Pushed

NIB's favourite artistes (image courtesy: planetjedward.net)

NIB’s favourite artistes (image courtesy: planetjedward.net)

In what can only be described as typical, Enda Kenny’s put his foot firmly into his mouth -this week he’s been calling Joan-people! People, he’s been calling people fat, according to Micheal Martin anyway. The Fianna Fail leader accused the Taoiseach of being fattist following questioning over the decision to suspend gastric band operations. In a bid to save money Enda suggested the waiting patients go for a jog instead and cut out the Supermacs: ‘prevention is better than cure’ to which Martin took offence. He reckons obese people are subject to ‘the last acceptable form of discrimination’, although conceded this couldn’t be applied to James Reilly.

In other political news Ruairi Quinn has been retired! Well jumped, before he was pushed, out of Leinster House. What does this mean for us?! NIB hears you all cry. Oh no sorry, you were wondering about your World Cup Office sweepstake now USA are out. Continue reading

TNA’s Storm To Battle For World Title In Father’s Homeland

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Honorary Irishman ‘Cowboy’ James Storm will challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at the huge TNA IMPACT WRESTLING event coming to Dublin’s National Stadium on Wednesday January 29.

Storm, who is part Irish on his father’s side , a fact uncovered in a recent interview with Irish News Review,  will battle Englishman Magnus in the show’s main event. Magnus recently made history by becoming the first ever British World Champion for a major American wrestling company.             Continue reading

Far Away Fields Are Greener, The Near Ones Are Still Black

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Far away fields are greener but today, far away they still remain. The All Blacks were in town, with them they had a box that contained Irish rugby history. That box was open for eighty minutes yesterday before they unapologetically stuffed the history books back in and closed the lid, as we watched on helplessly. I knew walking into the stadium yesterday that it felt different. The crowd were up for it, more importantly the players were really up for it. Sport is cruel, it wouldn’t carry with it the highs and lows that it does otherwise. There is however no sport on the planet that could have had so much at stake during a ‘friendly’. Last week’s display was still fresh in the minds of the home support but they were up for ‘giving it a go’, Irish teams seem to play better for some reason when nothing is expected of them, when a good performance will count as a result. The air was thick as the formalities got underway, if I swung a samurai sword at that point in time, it would have stuck fast in the unyielding thickness of atmosphere. Three national anthems later we were ready for that tradition of all traditions. As far as watching grown men slap their legs and arms in an act of intimidation goes, yesterday’s didn’t weigh in with the threat that it usually carries. It was short and sweet, too short, too sweet. Continue reading