Because of what was happening out in Tallaght over the weekend, this piece was always likely to be about basketball, and then a certain event in California last Sunday confirmed it could be about nothing else.
While on this island we were debating whether Rory, Katie or maybe Paul O’Donovan was our outstanding sportsperson of the decade, the Associated Press gave itself the rather grander task of identifying the finest athlete in the whole world over the same timespan.
What will be telling is just departed Dublin manager Jim Gavin next step. Does he withdraw from public life, J D Salinger-style, never to practice his hard-to-define sorcery again? Or, does he do the circuit? asks
It wasn’t as exhilarating as many of this season’s remarkable last 16 ties and it certainly didn’t have the quality of football that’s been on show over the last fortnight; but Liverpool’s wonderful victory in Munich, inspired by two-goal Sadio Mane, has nevertheless put down a marker that is hugely significant.
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.
They’ll need to score if they want to win. That would have been a goal if it had gone in the net. To win a game, you can’t lose. They’ll want their best players on. At the end of the day. Make no mistake, mistakes will be made.