Japan: The Land of the Rising Sunday League

15 February 2021

As my travel companion Tim and I settled in to sample the Guinness that Kyoto had to offer, a middle aged Japanese man came barrelling into the pub and pulled up a stool beside us. After splitting the G and immediately regretting our choice, this Japanese man alongside us could barely contain his excitement as he placed his own order.

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The Clash of the… Bamboo?

1 February 2021

If the iconic Danish-Norwegian Europop group Aqua are to be believed, “life in plastic, it’s fantastic.” This may be true for Barbie Girls the world over, but I wonder if Barbie herself has traded the ash for a plastic hurley when togging out for her local camogie team.

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The Countdown Clock Conundrum

25 January 2021

As the clock winds down, the challenger’s brow furrows as he strains every sinew to beat the clock. The pressure builds. His breathing quickens. With seconds to spare he shoots his shot. Silence. The camera zooms in. “COTTAGERS” he blurts out breathlessly. With a wry smile, Nick Hewer utters those magic words: “let’s have a look.” He’s done it! The Countdown teapot is his! Years of disappointment at Craven Cottage supporting Fulham have finally paid off as he has solved the Countdown Conundrum.

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Build a Wall

18 January 2021

“Build a wall!” bellows the puce-faced tyrant for the umpteenth time as a familiar vein bulges in his forehead. And again. And again. As the referee’s whistle sounds to signal a free kick, Big Dave barely has time to remove his studs from the striker’s thigh before his goalkeeper starts his weekly tirade. When faced with a free kick, all that distinguishes a Sunday League goalkeeper and Donald Trump is that Donald doesn’t hide his tiny hands in oversized gloves.

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New Lockdown’s Resolutions

11 January 2021

With 10 seconds remaining, the annual countdown begins. Much like the countdown clock of the Ladies All-Ireland football final, when a new year is counted down on the 31st of December, amid the joyous celebrations, some will slump to the ground in despair. When the clock strikes midnight, a pain to rival that of Cork’s Doireann O’Sullivan at the final whistle of the 2020 All Ireland final is shared among many across the country. The fireworks may have been flying but many will feel as if their wings have been clipped as it is finally time to get to work on the dreaded New Year’s Resolution.

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Celebrate Good Times, Come on

14 December 2020

Every Christmas, the age old question of which is the tastiest chocolate in the tin of Celebrations arises, prompting untold levels of outrage. Each year, my father nearly ruins Christmas as he remains steadfast in his assertion that the Bounty is undoubtedly the best. When the question is put to me, the answer is simple. My favourite celebration is and always will be Robbie Keane’s effortless transition from cartwheel to tumble to flurry of finger guns against Germany at the 2002 World Cup. When I learn that this still doesn’t come in chocolate form, I settle for a Maltesers.

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Video GAAming: A Virtual Reality?

7 December 2020

In November 2005, and with Christmas just around the corner, the GAA community was treated to the hotly anticipated release of Gaelic Games: Football on PlayStation 2. The game was truly ahead of its time. The way in which players would unpredictably pour forward regardless of their position arguably inspired the marauding wing backs like Ryan McHugh or Mattie Donnelly we see today. Thanks to its frustratingly finicky controls, the game also signalled the advent of the short kick out which has become synonymous with modern football as it was nigh on impossible to kick the ball long.

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Countless Times In A Blue Moon

30 November 2020

In May 2017, Manchester City unveiled the signing of Portuguese international Bernardo Brogan from Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh in a deal worth up to £43 million. Fresh from helping Monaco to the Allianz National Ligue 1 title, he was joining a team which was eyeing a third All-Ireland in a row that summer.

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Make Throw-Ins Great Again

23 November 2020

Joe Biden is set to become the most powerful man on earth having defeated Donald Trump in this month’s US Presidential election. Trump’s presidency will be remembered by many for its corruption, indifference towards marginalised US citizens and insidious propagation of misinformation. Millions of people around the world will hope that Biden is the knight in a shiny suit the US so desperately needs.

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Ref Marks The Spot

16 November 2020

As far as I’m aware, Ash Ketchum wasn’t a big GAA man but his memorable motto as it related to Pokémon is equally applicable in modern Gaelic football. Inter county coaches up and down the country won’t care if it’s a Bulbasaur or a football, if it’s been punted into the opposition’s 45 and has travelled more than 20 metres, the inside forward has “gotta catch ‘em all.” Catching ’em all in this context might not mean a new Pidgey for the collection but would secure an advanced mark for the team.

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