The sporting year ... in crazy quotes

Larry Ryan brings you the daft controversies, wacky conspiracy theories, memorable quotes and some of the craziest lines from the sporting year.

The sporting year ... in crazy quotes

HARSH WORDS

“I am one of the few who thought Gerrard was not a top, top, player. When Scholes and Keane were in our team Gerrard seldom had a kick against us.”

Liverpool’s captain was one of the many victims of Alex Ferguson’s book.

“It’s pure constipated hurling.”

Ger Loughnane thought Dublin went through the motions against Wexford.

“I want nothing to do with that. It’s an absolute disgrace. He’s a brilliant footballer but in so far as he’s a man, you can forget about it.”

Joe Brolly took Sean Cavanagh to task for his cynical foul against Monaghan.

“Rafa Benitez – We’re just not that inter im”

A Chelsea banner summed up the fans feelings for the temporary manager.

“They’ve killed us. The team is a mess. It’s a shambles, Bill. He makes Trapattoni seem like Pep Guardiola… If you were running one of the competitions for a member of the public to pick a football team, that’s the kind of team they might pick.”

Noel King had a brief taste of the Dunphy treatment.

“What I see now is that the talent that we all thought would be there is not there.”

Annika Sorenstam’s sober judgement on the career of one-time LPGA prodigy Michelle Wie.

“He couldn’t put on a coaching session to save his life. I’ve spoken to people about him and he can barely lay out cones.”

Joey Barton, pictured, had a different take on Alex Ferguson’s career.

“We should be allowed to take 10,000 volt tasers onto the course and taser every muppet who shouts out something stupid. I would laugh then.”

Ian Poulter wasn’t impressed with crowd behaviour at the US PGA.

“We got to a Connacht final last year but we’re papering over the cracks. There are players there that deserve better quality of training and management and I think going forward Kevin should make the right decision for the sake of Sligo football and not anybody else.”

Eamonn O’Hara tore into Sligo manager Kevin Walsh on The Sunday Game.

GOODBYES

“I went as hard as I could for as long as I could.”

Tomás Ó Sé will surge forward no more in the Green and Gold.

“We had our battles in various games but I wouldn’t have a bad word said against Paul. Hopefully down the road we could meet up and have a few drinks and a chat.”

Noel O’Leary left the tussles with Paul Galvin at his own exit door.

“This man has real pedigree. That’s the mystery. I’m still astonished that he made such a bags of it.”

With Trap heading for the exit, Eamon Dunphy took his foot off the pedal.

“From a Tipperary hurling point of view, I’m around a long time and I think it’s time somebody else got a shot at it.”

Brendan Cummins stepped out of the goals.

“He made us realise, we are our brother’s keeper and that our brothers come in all colours. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale. His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through the heavens. He is now forever free.”

Muhammad Ali on the death of Nelson Mandela.

“My life’s been 22 yards for 24 years. It’s hard to believe that wonderful journey is coming to an end.”

India batsman Sachin Tendulkar had a good innings.

“I want to say thank you to Manchester United. Not just the directors, coaching staff, medical staff, the players, the fans, but to all of you – you have been the most fantastic experience of my life.”

Some Ferguson fellow.

THE WAR ON DRUGS

“Yes.”

Lance Armstrong finally admits, to Oprah Winfrey, that he doped.

“Yes, I was a bully. I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative and if I didn’t like what someone said I turned on them.”

Armstrong faces facts.

“When you see the punishment... I got a death penalty meaning I can’t compete. I’m not saying that is unfair but it is different.”

But he still wants some kind of absolution.

“The thing that makes me most angry is the fact that they’re trashing our history. It’s like driving a bulldozer through a war cemetery.”

Sebastian Coe reacted to failed tests from Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

“I’m looking forward to some change in my body. It’s really hard to feel the difference if you’re only doing it for a couple of months.”

Vijay Singh told Sports Illustrated about taking Deer-Antler Spray, which was found to contain a banned substance.

“I don’t know. I really don’t. I’d like to think there is some good in all this but from my perspective, sitting here today, there has been nothing but damage done to the sport.”

The tables turn as Lance Armstrong reacts to findings that top riders at the 1998 Tour de France used EPO.

‘This is not a black day in Australian sport, this is the blackest day.’

Former head of ASADA, Richard Ings, after the Australian Crime Commission linked organised crime to growing drug use across Australian sport.

THE TEARS

“For it to all just work out for me, on such an emotional day, I couldn’t help but look up to the heavens and think that my old dad Ken had something to do with it.”

Justin Rose, pictured, after winning the US Open on Father’s Day.

“Crossing the line with [the] guys brought tears to my eyes. I expected it to be big but this is something else.”

Chris Froome on his Tour de France win.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES

“That’s the way it goes, isn’t it? We’re only the small, little fish out there and we’re trying hard to make it through but how do you get the breaks when you’re a small fish?”

Davy Fitzgerald, pictured, queries a few decisions after the drawn All-Ireland hurling final.

“If there is anybody walking the planet now who hasn’t put all the pieces together, I’d be very surprised. I said at the time, there were some fairly dark forces operating against whatever I tried to do.”

Richard Keys remained bitter about his departure from Sky Sports.

“This video shows the respect and consideration that Fifa has for me, my club and my country. Much is explained now.”

Cristiano Ronaldo smells a campaign against him after Sepp Blatter admitted a preference for Messi.

LOVE/HATE

“He’s a peculiar fish at the best of times. He just needs a bit of love every now and again. He’s not a big talker but he does what he does.”

Bernard Brogan gave Stephen Cluxton a cuddle.

“A fella stood up behind me and roared with venom: ‘Fitzgerald you haven’t a clue. You’re ruining Clare hurling’.”

Davy Fitz’s roller-coaster year had its dips.

“For him he wants to talk to you, to know a little more about you to give you the confidence. It was like a second love for me.”

Samir Nasri felt a little bit guilty for jilting Arsene Wenger.

“They don’t let a male stud mate before a big race because it takes away the horse’s drive and energy.”

Carl Froch explained his three-month sex ban ahead of the win over Mikkel Kessler.

“He’s a good guy to me. As a person to person, he’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does.”

Dennis Rodman, after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I said to him the roles that we would have and he told me he would reverse those in about 10 minutes.”

Martin O’Neill explained how things will work with Roy Keane.

“You don’t know Martin as well as you think you do, he makes me look like Mother Teresa.”

Keane doubted whether O’Neill will be the good cop of the duo.

“We’ve had a lovely few days. The hotel’s been lovely. The food’s been excellent. The training ground is lovely. No potholes. We’ve had footballs… it’s been great… bibs, everything. It’s been major progress.”

But Roy, pictured, has had no complaints early doors.

“She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’ — it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.”

Serena Williams dug the claws into Maria Sharapova’s romance with Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov.

“If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.”

Sharapova volleyed Williams’s serve back with interest.

“One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his loving relationship with himself.

“As a boy he would get angry and cry easily if other boys didn’t pass him the ball, or because they did not play as he wanted. They called him ‘cry baby’.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro recalled her son’s childhood.

“I think Ronaldo is now a truly great player.”

Eamon Dunphy arrived at the final stage in a long, winding process.

THE WINNING FEELING

“1948 is a long time ago. Sean T O’Kelly was the president, John A Costello was the Taoiseach, he took over from Éamon de Valera, Noel Browne was the Minister for Health and it’s all over! Waterford are All Ireland champions for a third time, the first time since 1948. Waterford hurling is back on the big stage!”

WLR FM’s Kieran O’Connor taught history as Waterford minors made history.

“Oh Holy Moses what a match! I have never experienced anything like it.”

Marty Morrissey was no prophet of doom as Domhnall O’Donovan equalised in the drawn hurling final.

“This game of Gaelic football has been infiltrated by a load of spoofers and bluffers, people with no experience in some cases of Gaelic football. Fellas with earpieces stuck in their ear, psychologists, statisticians and dieticians and we have forgotten the basic principles of the game.”

Pat Spillane was in a grump at half-time in Cavan-Fermanagh.

“Thank God we went to Knock on Saturday on the way.”

Paul Coggins counted London’s blessings after the win over Leitrim.

“I don’t wake up and think I’ve won the Masters. But when I walk in the closet and I put the green jacket on every morning, I do.”

Masters winner Adam Scott.

“I’m rooting for a tie. Can the NFL do that?”

Jackie Harbaugh, mother of the competing Super Bowl coaches Jim and John.

“Twelve frees? That’s just beyond me. I can’t understand that, I really can’t. That’s one of the very disappointing things. Not only were we playing Mayo but we were playing the referee as well.”

It wasn’t until glory arrived that Jim Gavin finally lost his cool.

THE LOSING FEELING

“I find that amazing. I find that absolutely amazing, if that was the comment. I know Jim made another interesting comment; that he’d walk away if his team were cynical. So maybe that’s another comment Jim should look at.”

James Horan took the opportunity to nudge the Dublin manager towards the exit.

“To be a minute away from history and have the ball in your hands on their 10-metre line, well it’s devastating. I guess you sum it up as a step forward but a missed opportunity.”

Joe Schmidt looks at an empty hook where the All-Blacks had been.

“I’m not in a great place mentally. I can’t really say much, guys. I’m just in a bad place mentally.”

Rory McIlroy after withdrawing in the middle of his second round at the Honda Classic.

“It’s not the way to play football. By the end, it was a shambles. I didn’t really care at the end. Because I didn’t think we deserved to get to Rio.”

John Giles after Ireland’s World Cup failure was confirmed.

“I fear we are on the road that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are on; not qualifying for anything for a long time.”

The future looked bleak to Liam Brady.

“The goals killed us.”

Leitrim manager Barney Breen after shipping 8-13 against Armagh.

CONTROVERSIES

“The only people who should play for England are English people.”

Jack Wilshere invites a storm to blow.

“I’m not gonna lie. He’s not my favourite guy to play with. He’s not the nicest guy on the tour. It’s good for both of us. We don’t enjoy each other’s company. You don’t have to be a rocket engineer to figure that out.”

Sergio Garcia was relieved to avoid Tiger Woods at The Players Championship.

“We did go out to the middle of the pitch, all the lads, drinking beers, singing a few songs and enjoying each other’s company. I think the call of nature might have come once or twice, but it was nothing untoward.”

Graeme Swann on accusations that England players urinated on the Oval pitch while celebrating their Ashes victory.

“I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation. I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism.”

Paolo Di Canio, three days into his short-lived Sunderland reign.

“What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

Liverpool owner John W. Henry reacted to Arsenal’s bid of £40m and £1 for Suarez.

“Some are talking out of their backsides, a load of tosh. I’m not accepting it, as simple as that. I have certainly got more intelligence than them, that’s for sure.”

Joe Kinnear hit out at Newcastle fans unhappy with his appointment as director of football.

“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘You’re never going to be a looker, you’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight’?”

BBC commentator John Inverdale went rogue.

“I’m here to analyse. By the way, that’s what you’re paid to do as well, not be a PR man for Trapattoni.”

Eamon Dunphy to Liam Brady as the pair continued to take opposite sides on the Trap debate.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

“It was terrible; when I was Taoiseach I missed the European final. I said I can’t go because they’ll all give out.”

Bertie Ahern told MUTV about some of the regrets he has about his time in office.

“I was dropping his mother off at the airport this morning at 6am, and unfortunately I fell asleep.”

Mark Chamberlain missed son Alex’s goal against Brazil.

COLOUR COMMENTARY

“I was collecting €188 a week off social welfare and here I am with 60 thousand dollars. I don’t know what the f*ck’s going on to be honest.”

Conor McGregor on his rags-to-riches UFC debut.

“Newspapers can report anything. Bloody hell, newspaper reporters have been writing lies since the year dot.”

MUTV’s Paddy Crerand was still out of the loop about an hour before Alex Ferguson’s retirement was confirmed.

“Man of the Match Dave Bergen claimed the subsequent kick-off and went charging upfield like sex-crazed rhino on bad acid.”

The Sligo Champion felt the call of the wild during a match report on Sligo’s 6-3 win over UCG in the Heineken Connacht Junior Cup.

“The whole world looks different. It’s like when the summer comes and you see all the girls walking about in miniskirts. When the sun’s out, all the girls look fantastic. That’s how you feel when you’ve had a win.”

Harry Redknapp celebrated QPR’s new winning feeling.

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