Irish football fans won’t have had too much trouble coming up with a comparison for 24 hours which saw World Cup challengers Spain come close to total meltdown just two days before their opening Group B game against Portugal in Sochi.
THE Catalan separatists may be too busy preparing to defend their assertion of independence in the Spanish courts — despite the absence of their leader, Carles Puigdemont — to look to Northern Ireland for lessons from that never-ending danse macabre of relentless conflict as tactic.
Spain is to hold a special Cabinet meeting at the weekend to activate measures to take control of Catalonia's semi-autonomous powers after the region's leader threatened to explicitly declare independence if no talks were offered.
All week the build-up to Barcelona’s visit to Atletico Madrid on Saturday night had centred on the difficult political situation in Spain, with a push towards independence in Catalonia, and the central authorities in the capital pushing back.
In her article of October 7, under the headline “Ireland relied on support of others...it mustn’t look away as Catalans chart own freedom”, Marina Devlin compared the armed Spanish police disruption of the Catalan independence referendum to the 1916 Rising.
The Seville media described their team as visiting “where the gods play” on their first ever trip to Anfield — a slightly overblown analysis, certainly on the basis of the defensive horror show performed by the Premier League hosts in last night’s Champions League opener.
A Spanish judge has ordered police to search a printer’s shop and two offices of a regional newspaper in Catalonia as part of an investigation into alleged preparations for what Spanish courts have deemed is an illegal referendum on independence for the region.
Rory McIlroy said he needed a paracetamol after a raucous Saturday’s play in the cauldron that was Hazeltine National but you got the feeling that Darren Clarke had the bigger headache because of his underperforming captain’s picks.
Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello gave Europe the perfect Ryder Cup boost going into Saturday's afternoon fourballs as they fought back to square their foursomes match with American stars Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.