Expecting another 12 months of high drama
By Larry Ryan
Alex Ferguson holds an all-night vigil at Daniel Welbeck’s bedside after the England man is subjected to a series of stiff handshakes before United’s cup-tie at Upton Park. The incident overshadows the 6-6 draw.
The year’s first transfer saga — with Kildare hurling in disarray and his dual star hopes dashed, Seanie Johnston is linked with a move to Cork.
Jim McGuinness’s influence is beginning to be felt at Celtic Park. Georgios Samaras is thrown out of the club after telling Football Focus that manager Neil Lennon sometimes organises five-a-sides during training. FEBRUARY
Liverpool lose a seventh match in a row. Brendan Rogers steams open the envelope he sealed before the start of the season and writes in many more names. Crosses out Glen Johnson’s.
Kick-off in Ireland’s opening Six Nations clash with Wales is held up for an hour as Declan Kidney awaits the arrival by helicopter of eight New Zealanders to form the Ireland scrum. In a touching show of authenticity, the Kiwis perform a quick Haka wielding both hurleys and bodhrans.
Celtic’s influence on Jim McGuinness is beginning to show as Donegal hold out for a scoreless draw against Kildare in the opening round of the National Football League. McGuinness admits his side had become too adventurous during last season’s run to glory.
Our Six Nations home tie with France is called off due to a waterlogged pitch. The French don’t do nearly as much whining as we did the year before. MARCH
Joey Barton returns to London to bolster QPR’s relegation fight. “Awight, awight, I’ve ’ad a butcher’s at the table and we’ve just got to Adam and Eve, work for the Uncle Bert and everything will be Calvin Klein,” he said.
Uproar at the Stadium of Light after a dressing room window is left ajar before the Premier League tie with Manchester United. An apoplectic Alex Ferguson complains his players could have caught their deaths in the draught. The rant overshadows United’s 9-8 defeat.
Robin van Persie’s penalty is easily saved as Manchester United bow out of the Champions League. “Why didn’t he go for power, George?” grouses Ray Houghton.
Paddy Crerard loses the rag.
Zlatan volleys his eighth from the comfort of the home dressing rooms as Ireland struggle in the Friends Arena. APRIL
Rory McIlroy is suspended from golf after he tees off at the Masters sporting nothing but a Nike swoosh to protect his modesty, a balancing act that proves more difficult for new caddy Caroline Wozniacki.
To coax him out of retirement, Ronnie O’Sullivan is given a bye to the final of the World SnookerChampionship. He beats Mark Allen, who accepts defeat gracefully, eloquently singing the praises of snooker’s ruling body.
Mikel Arteta blazes wildly over as Arsenal go out of the Champions League. “Why didn’t he try to place it, George?” grouses Ray Houghton.
Despite pulling four points clear at the top of the table, Rafa Benitez is sacked by Chelsea after Roman Abramovich decides 40-goal Fernando Torres can now work without anyone at the controls. Still-injured John Terry takes over as manager, wearing full kit. MAY
Chelsea pip Manchester United to the title on goal difference despite losing their last three matches. United’s final-day defeat at West Brom is overshadowed by fears that Wayne Rooney may not survive the papercuts he suffered at the hands of autograph-hunters before the match.
Paddy Crerard loses the rag.
Katie Taylor tires of beating up other ladies and gatecrashes the press conference Dereck Chisora has called to announce his return to the ring, before hammering him in the resultant grudge match.
Celtic beat Barcelona on penalties in the Champions League final, despite enjoying just 1% possession, secured when a huddle of players gather around the ball at kick-off.
The ball is kicked just 42 times in the opening series of matches in the Gaelic SFC — 40 by goalkeepers. “Only a figary,’ says Eugene McGee, of the glut of handpassing. JUNE
Late drama ahead of the Lions Tour as Australia cry foul and rope in New Zealand to help them take on Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. In an ironic twist, all of the Lions pack is also made up of Kiwis.
Tipp hurlers attempt a never-seen-before tactic in the Munster semi-final as players remain in the positions they took up for the pre-match parade. Limerick forge a 28-point lead, but Tipp eventually prevail when Eamon O’Shea abandons the plan 10 minutes into the second half. Michael Duignan resigns from commentary in disgust.
Championship hurling is played under lights for the first time after RTÉ insists Clare matches be staged after the watershed unless Davy Fitzgerald wears a gag on the sideline. “I will in me eff,” says Davy. Des Cahill faints. JULY
Joey Barton arrives in Dublin to bolster Shamrock Rovers’ title push. “It’s a bleedin deadly buzz. Keep on hoopin’. Nice one, bud,” he says.
Andy Murray loses the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. Nobody cares about the Olympic gold medal any more. AUGUST
Tipp beat Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final despite playing a backs and forwards training match for the entire second half. Lar Corbett’s goals prove decisive despite the close attentions of Padraic Maher. Babs Keating phones every radio station in the country until someone allows him express his exasperation.
Explosive punditry from Jerry Kiernan during the World Athletics Championships. Not due to several incendiary outbursts at Ireland’s poor showing, but because his hair is set ablaze by low-hanging studio lighting. SEPTEMBER
Tipp start the All-Ireland final with their entire inside forward line sitting in the Hogan Stand. Their markers follow suit. But the plan backfires when JJ Delaney and company get up five minutes before half time to buy choc-ices. The lads sneak onto the pitch and Kilkenny plunder a quick-fire 8-11 from play.
Donegal retain the All-Ireland in as spectacular a footballing display as the game has seen. At least that is the consensus of thankful journalists not thrown out of the press conference following the 0-5 to 0-3 win over Kerry. OCTOBER
After several months courting new Chelsea boss Pep Guardiola, John Delaney finally appoints Billy Davies as Ireland manager for the trip to Germany. Eamon Dunphy hails the new appointment as a ‘genuine guy’ and a ‘real football man’.
The reconvened Football Review Committee recommends that free-throws be awarded to punish fouls for the 2014 SFC.
Following the defeat by Kazakhstan, Eamon Dunphy calls Billy Davies a “bankrupt renegade from the wretched wasteland of the Endsleigh League.” NOVEMBER
Out of contract Joey Barton joins Celtic to take the European Champions ‘to the next level’. “Och aye de noo. It’s a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht. Lang may yer lum reek,’ he says.
After months of campaigning, doing ‘the Poznan’ is made illegal in Europe.
In a move designed to deter newspaper columnists making handy comparisons between fines levied for racism and sponsorship contraventions, Uefa elect to make all forms of abuse legal in football. John Terry comes out of retirement. DECEMBER
Sheamus is named Sports Personality of the Year after he retains his WWE world heavyweight title. Rather than cut to ad-breaks during the presentation, RTÉ screens an ugly dressing-room fracas in which fellow nominee Rory McIlroy is thrown through a window.
Tech powers-that-be decide to close down the internet after the real Mario Balotelli finally joins Twitter. Ceefax page 302 makes a dramatic return in time for the January transfer window.
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