I had the great pleasure of visiting Blarney Castle yesterday. What a magnificent place, it’s almost magical. However, after facing the terrific climb to the top of the castle, I did not bring myself to kiss the stone, for in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “….it is not necessary for me to seek eloquence at Blarney….my natural gifts in […]

A Match Made in Heaven

Estonia defeat Northern Ireland A chorus of joy rang out around Ireland as Zbigniew Boniek announced that Estonia would be Ireland’s opponents in the Euro 2012 Play Offs. Out of the four possible opponents, Estonia was viewed by many as the dream draw and it’s hard to disagree with the reasoning. However, many journalists and sports writers are already suggesting […]

It’s Not Over Yet

Berezovski receives a red card (Uefa) I came away from last night’s victory with a few thoughts amid the joy of having inched that bit closer to the European Championships. As is often the case, Ireland seemed to have that bit of luck and as usual, there was an edginess to the performance that would give even the most patient […]

Ongoing Eligibility Row? Where?

To describe the eligibility of Northern Ireland born Irish nationals in the context of association football as an ongoing issue is, quite simply, a falsehood, because it is not an ongoing issue. Indeed, as the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said in a statement issued in response to the recent upsurge of speculation in the media, the decision reached by […]

All the King’s Men

Ireland U21 Team v Hungary Ireland under-21 boss Noel King has now been in the job for over a year and having inherited a talented group of players, he has improved significantly on Don Givens’ efforts as coach with some reasonable results. Ahead of Ireland’s under-21 game against Liechtenstein, it is worth looking at the wealth of talent which bubbles […]

On the Campaign Trail: Gay and Martin

Gay Mitchell, Irish Rover In between my attempts to be taken seriously as an academic, I’ve been trying to stay tuned into the developments of the Presidential election and the thing that has recently come to the fore, is the self-proclaimed “Street-Fighter” attitude of Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell. Mitchell, we are told, has now been let loose – like […]

What about those puppet shows, Gregory?

Gregory Campbell (Belfast Telegraph) So Gregory Campbell of the DUP has branded a Presbyterian minister a puppet for endorsing Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness. The gall of that Reverend, eh?  I mean, how dare a Protestant support a republican? He should know better – sure isn’t republicanism and nationalism just for Catholics, like? Our grafitti will show him. Such rash and […]