Perfectly good goals disallowed. Travesties of justice waved on. Players and managers tearing their hair out. Supporters in uproar. Officialdom lambasted. The grand old game going to hell in a handcart. Ah, yes, who wouldn’t miss football’s good old pre-VAR days?
You have to go back 88 days to find the last time Cork City ended an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match with three points. Summer has come and gone since, and alarmingly, a mini-revival by Finn Harps in the meantime has left the 2018 league and cup runners-up looking over their shoulders.
The battle for promotion from the Championship reaches a crescendo this weekend with at least eight teams still dreaming of making it into the Premier League and two able to seal it right now. But how well prepared are any of the sides for what could lie ahead?
Goal number 13 for the season was far from unlucky for David McGoldrick as his first-half effort gave Sheffield United a 1-0 win at Preston on Saturday, a result that lifted the Blades back into the automatic promotion places in the Championship, after Leeds United lost 1-0 away to Birmingham City.
Spring is in the air. The cold hand of the previous year’s winter, which resulted in heavy snow and fixture cancellations as late as March was conspicuous by its absence but as April begins no one is taking the warm weather for granted just yet.
Luckily for Manchester City, the bloated Champions League format means that opening group games can hardly be regarded as critically important, never mind ‘must win’, but even if the competition couldn’t ever hope to hit the ground running the way the World Cup did in Russia, this week’s action did see some of football’s global superstars exhibiting varying degrees of luminosity — from dull to blinding — in their attempts to twist again like they did last summer.
Shane Duffy was named the FAI Senior Player of the Year for 2017 last night but the big Brighton defender was unable to collect his award in person as the weather took its toll on the annual televised ceremony in RTÉ, with the programme having to be shortened from a scheduled running time of 90 minutes to one hour.
Bayly said in garda interview that he agreed to transport the drugs so that a gambling debt of €6,500 would be reduced. He said he was in fear for his life and that of his daughter and girlfriend.
In calling up Declan Rice to his squad for this month’s training camp and friendly in Turkey, Martin O’Neill has stressed that the highly-rated young West Ham defender, who is still eligible to play senior football for both Ireland and England, will not come under any pressure to decide his international future.
When Arsenal lost 3-0 at home to the best team in England, four days after losing in the Carabao Cup final, there were some onlookers who described it as rock bottom. Now that statement is looking both over-ambitious and lacking in foresight.
And so Irish sport’s answer to the Winter Olympics — otherwise known as the League of Ireland summer season — comes around again, the burning passion of the faithful set to go head to head with the piercing February chill on this long-awaited opening night.
Burnley’s impressive start to the campaign is this season’s ‘Cinderella’ story but the stereotype of the Lancashire club led by a gruff ‘old-school’ manager disguises the very effective method behind their rise.