Soccer

How Sport will be changed by Covid-19

So How Was your Sporting Covid-19 Lockdown? Good and bad. I was busy on a book called Everything, the Autobiography of Denis Coughlan, and being active was a great boost in the grim month of April when the whole country was battling to prevent our health system being overrun by the virus. Having a sense of purpose each morning and working my way through the book, sentence by sentence, provided me with a guiding light through the uncertain darkness. My family were all safe and healthy and none of them, thank God, lost their jobs or anything like that. But the images of people being buried without their families and the very idea of so many dying alone and fearful was a horror that affected us all, I think.

Five Moments in Sport

I wrote an essay, ‘Five Moments in Sport’, and the lovely people at The Stinging Fly published it in May 2019. In July 2019 they kindly put the essay online on their website

Women’s Football World Cup. USA v England

He looks at the other three men in the pub in Dublin. Waits for a condescending or sexist remark. It doesn’t come. He’s vaguely disappointed. Don’t comment about the standard of football, don’t comment about the women’s bodies.

The Dingle Diaries. 3: Pogba Abú, Herrera Abú

Feeling good after our walk, we strolled into town and had fish and chips in Harrington’s on Strand Street. Hard to beat it and that’s the truth. I was feeling especially good because I got two affirming messages on the way back from The Magherees. One from a sports writer about my book, I don’t even know him, what a kind thing to do; and the other inviting me to read at an event next month. Both welcome, both keeping the old imposter syndrome at bay for another bit. Writers and their egos, eh?

Sunshine or Shadow – We Men Must Choose

We saw the full spectrum of masculine sports behaviour over the past week or so. First up the demeaning of a young female Norwegian soccer player, Ana Hegerberg, by a boorish (male) French DJ, Martin Solveig, when – at the high point of her short but very distinguished career – he thought it acceptable to ask her to do a suggestive dance (presumably for the delectation of all the men in the room). With Nordic sangfroid she declined the offer and turned away – showing the grace and steel with which she earned her Ballon d’Or. Showing the idiot up for what he is and what he represents.

Some Articles and Reviews in The Irish Examiner

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. Instead, I’ve been finishing off a crime novel. Honestly. I’ve also been writing some book reviews and sport-related pieces for The Irish Examiner. Here’s the proof (I haven’t been slacking), in reverse chronological order.

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Sport is about emotion. I’ve said this before. Other things too, but mostly emotion. And sometimes the emotions aren’t good but we seek them out anyway. We make ourselves vulnerable to them, we put ourselves out there. We let ourselves be open and exposed. Not a common stance for men. We stick our unprotected heads above the parapet in the full knowledge we could get our blocks knocked off.

England v Belgium – We’re Never Really Neutral

An English novelist, a wonderful writer whom I greatly admire, Tweeted yesterday after Germany were knocked out of the World Cup. He wished there was a word that would denote one taking pleasure in another’s misery. Haha, very good. And fair enough, too. The English have suffered a lot over the past 12 years, not winning one knockout game in any championship. Meantime, Germany only went and bloody won the last World Cup in the Maracanã, claiming their fourth in all. Three more than England.

A United Fan Watches Liverpool in the Champions League Final

Sitting in the sunshine, in the back garden, on a Saturday afternoon. Listening to Leinster, on the radio, win another European championship. And, as a Munster man, wondering what emotions I feel about that. Looking forward too, to watching Liverpool in a Champions’ League Final against Real Madrid, this evening. Well, not looking forward, in case they win the bloody thing. Me, being a proud Manchester United supporter since the heady days of one skinny Irishman, George Best, back in the 1960s – himself later to play for Cork Celtic, not so skinny.