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Posts Tagged ‘ Premiership ’

SHC Final Replay – Liam McCarthy Awaits As Cork And Clare Battle Again

Cork v Clare  - Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final

The greatest hurling championship in living memory reaches its conclusion this Saturday at 5pm as Cork and Clare meet again for the honour of taking home Liam McCarthy. After 72 minutes and 30 seconds three weeks ago nothing could separate these sides after a pulsating tie. The Hurling community has the pleasure of another instalment of seventy plus minutes of high octane excitement filled Hurling. This is the second year in a row the final has gone to a replay after sixty odd years of none, the debates of should it have gone to extra-time and the timing of the replay rumble on but that is an entirely different argument best left for another day. For now we concentrate on tomorrow’s mouth-watering replay and where it will be won or lost. Continue reading

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A League Of Its Own – A Tribute to English Football’s Second Tier…

bdLet’s face it, the Premier League title race is over. There will be no Manchester United collapse. There will be no squeaky bum time. There will be no Agueroooooooooo. The crown sits squarely on Sir Alex’s crusty head, and we’re yet to breach the vernal equinox.

But fear not, there is still entertainment to be had watching Sky Sports desperately trying to inject excitement into the proceedings. Flailing like a wounded goliath, they insist that Chelsea and Spurs are locked in a death battle for 3rd place. Hmm. That would be a battle to avoid a couple of extra games in the Champions League next August then. Tense stuff. Continue reading

Super Sunday Should See United Pull Clear As City Slip Up

Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal of the gameTwo huge games on Sunday see four of the biggest names in the Premier League come up against each other. Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to play the table toppers at 1.30 and at 4pm Arsenal host Man City. Man United should come out on top of the earlier tie, the match at the Emirates is harder to call. Yaya Toure’s departure to the African Cup of Nations is going to leave a massive hole in the City team over the next few fixtures, and Arsenal can prosper from this. However, Arsenal’s defensive frailties should be exposed by Man City’s attacking threats. The bookies are offering shortened odds on the draw for this match, and I can’t help but agree that both sides will earn a solitary point.

We’re going to invest our accumulator interest in the Saturday fixtures however, starting at the Madejski Stadium. Fulham stuffed West Brom and so too our bet in the previous round of Premiership matches, and I don’t think the Baggies’ away tie against Reading will be a fruitful endeavour either. They come into this game on the back of three games without a win and are seriously depleted; Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob are unavailable and the sad news that Zoltan Gera will miss the rest of the season will resonate like a death bell for Albion. Reading on the other hand are showing signs that they have shored up their defence. Narrowly beaten by a late Gareth Barry header against City, their next two home games saw them preventing both Swansea and West Ham from scoring. If they can continue this sort of defensive performance on Saturday, I think that 9/4 are generous odds for the home side to earn a draw.

Next off to Carrow Road, where two teams on a dismal run of form come up against each other. Both teams have lost their last three Premier League games but there can be no doubt which side are cowering in the darker realms of depression. Languishing two points above the drop zone, injury ravaged, knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton for the second year running and having just lost their one beacon of hope light to Chelsea, Newcastle’s season just seems to relentlessly continue to go from bad to worse. The one lonesome positive of the winter is the signing of French right-back Mathieu Debuchy, but I can’t see him dragging his new teammates to victory on Saturday. Chris Hughton will be out to get one over on his former club who senselessly sacked him months after he had inspired the Magpies to promotion back to top flight football. His Canaries should overcome their opposition whose hopes now rely on Papiss Cisse, who may prosper from his fellow countryman’s departure. Norwich are available at 6/5 to win.

The final leg of our accumulator finds us focusing on the match between Sunderland and West Ham, two teams who are looking somewhat busy during the current transfer window. The Hammers have welcomed back one of their many long lost sons in the figure of Joe Cole and he made an instant impact in his homecoming match, creator of both goals in a 2-1 victory over Norwich. West Ham will be heartened by their 2-2 draw with Man United in the FA Cup, whereas Sunderland’s identical result with Bolton should have the opposite effect. The home side are lacking in defense but still pose a threat up front with the exciting Stephane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher always dangerous. I think this one will end up in a draw; it’s available at 9/4 and means that this week’s accumulator packs odds of about 22/1.

League of Ireland football – For The Love, Not The Money

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League of Ireland football,Why not get involved?

Sligo Rovers are the latest winners of the League of Ireland. They play at the Showgrounds. The normal capacity? Just over 2,000. Which begs the question; why not follow your local team? Why not get interested in the League of Ireland? In this article I’ll be writing about the good and bad things about the League of Ireland. Hopefully, by the end of reading this article you will be interested in following your local team.

Cast your mind back to the summer of 2011. Can you remember reading in the news that Irish club Shamrock Rovers  became the first League of Ireland side to qualify for the Europa League group stages? I’m sure you do. They made history, despite being only and I quote “a small team playing in the Irish league.” Or who can forget the recent European exploits of St Patrick’s Athletic who wrapped up a number of scalps including Elfsborg, Shaktar Karagandy and Olimps Riga to name but a few.

Most League of Ireland fans follow foreign teams, with English, Spanish and Italian teams proving very popular. I’m not giving out about that, as they follow their local football team aswel. No, I’m hammering the one’s that pay no attention to the League of Ireland despite it being right on their doorstep. I mean, what else do you be doing on a Friday night for two hours that you can’t get to your local footballing ground? No excuses. Surely you would get a greater thrill from attending a match than shouting at a television screen?

Even LOI fans nowadays will tell you that getting involved in their local football team was the best thing they have ever done. The atmosphere in the League has been outstanding. Sligo Rovers ‘ultra’ group, Forza Rovers, are by far the best fans in the league. They constantly put on massive fans displays with other fan groups such as The Shed End Invincibles of St Patrick’s Athletic not far behind.

If some fans saw their displays in England, Spain or elsewhere they would never stop chatting about such displays. Another thing you get is how close the players are within the clubs’ fan base; nearly every fan of a club knows the players on a personal level. You just don’t get that feeling in the English Premier League or elsewhere, it’s implausible to think of.

When I first got writing about League of Ireland football I sensed the ‘buzz’ around stadiums on match-days between the home & away fans. Yes, there are problems within fan groups, Bohemians Vs.  Shamrock Rovers being the main example, but you get a small minority of people that are not there to support their team rather they are there to cause violence but you can’t blame the league on this. Hooliganism and fan related violence is predominant all across Europe and the wider footballing world.

The quality of the League of Ireland is apparent for all to see, just take a look at the Irish national team. Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, Stephen Ward, Seamus Coleman, James McClean, Keith Fahey, David Meyler and David Forde all passed through the League of Ireland enroute to wearing the green jersey. Indeed, Coleman and McClean made a great transition from the humble surroundings of League of Ireland to the lofty heights of the English Premiership, both are now feared by many. So what are you waiting for? The league possesses a number of talents capable of following in their footsteps, why not come check them out.

I hope this article not only encourages you but encourages some of your pals to come along to a match when the season returns in March. Cheer on your local football team and follow all the coverage right here on Irish News Review.

Alex Murray

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