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Archive for July, 2010

When my Dad was a minor (inter-county hurler, 1949)

July 20th, 2010 1 comment

In celebration of the Antrim senior hurlers qualifying for the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals this year, I’m going to post a couple of match reports from the Summer of 1949. At that time my Dad was seventeen going on eighteen and was selected to represent Antrim on the minor hurling panel. The scorelines from these two matches go a long way to illustrate the gulfs above and below Antrim in the inter-county hurling pecking order.

In Ulster hurling, Antrim are generally untouchable, albeit with Down and Derry making great strides in recent years to get near them. However it is nearly always a struggle for Antrim to challenge the traditionally strong hurling counties like Kilkenny, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Galway, Clare and Limerick. In 1949 Antrim met Donegal in the Ulster Minor Hurling Final and won with an excruciatingly one-sided scoreline of 13-6 to 1-1. Three weeks later in Croke Park, however, the triumphant Ulster champions would meet a similar fate in the semi-final against Tipperary losing 9-7 to 0-2. Read more…

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World Cup memories: 1994

July 11th, 2010 No comments

I am writing this on the morning of World Cup Final day 2010. I better get a move on as I have remembered just 4 World Cups so far: 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990; there are another 4 to write about.

Gerry at Liberty in ManhattanThis will be a longer article than the rest, because USA ’94 remains the only World Cup I actually travelled to in person. The Republic of Ireland was the only country to qualify from “these islands” in this World Cup and I meticulously planned a 3-week itinerary that would place me, my girlfriend and her sister in New York / New Jersey, Boston, Dallas and San Francisco at times that might coincide with Ireland’s progress through the tournament.

To get us in the mood, though, we travelled to Dublin to watch Ireland’s first match against Italy in a Northside pub, which was our friend’s local. We were keen to enjoy the full cultural experience of this historic moment as opposed to watered-down, looking over your shoulder version available north of the border. Read more…

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World Cup memories: 1990

July 5th, 2010 1 comment

This is the latest in my series of World Cup recollections. They’re turning out to be a snapshot of what I was up to at 4-yearly intervals. Italia ’90 strikes me as a feel good tournament for many nationalities; English, Irish, even the Scots, though apparently it is “widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups ever” because of its low goal tally and negative tactics. But it’s not really the goals we cherish in our memories, it’s the emotions we went through, isn’t it?

Having finished my Edinburgh student days in 1989, I was now living back in Belfast and working at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Musgrave Park Hospital of all places: a computer programmer researching the diagnostic potential of knee vibrations. Clickity, clickity. After the memory loss of the student days, my recall of events from 1990 is much clearer. Read more…

World Cup memories: 1986

July 1st, 2010 3 comments

Following on from my recollections of the World Cups (1978 and 1982), which live strongly in my childhood memory, I come to the first tournament I experienced as an adult: Mexico 1986. Northern Ireland had qualified once again and the tournament produced the infamous Hand of God goal and the Goal of the Century in one match. However as applicable to many major world events and the current affairs of this period, my memories are extremely hazy. Let’s face it – I was 19, just finished my first year as a student in Edinburgh, and had spent much of the Summer term recovering from a nasty bout of glandular fever.

I don’t even remember where I was when I was watching the football action. All I’m left with is the fact that the name Josimar still fills me with a sense of awe and wonder.

So a huge hazy slot in my memory for my early adult years. Do you suffer from a similar haziness for that period in your lives?

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