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Irish Euro love-in will end in tears
The writing has been on the wall for some time now -- events of the last week have just reinforced things. It's time for the Republic to leave not just the euro but the EU too.
The romance, if there ever was any, is well and truly over. We can't ignore the signs any longer. For one, our electorate -- well those that were around to vote -- gave the EU a much-needed boost by passing the recent fiscal treaty referendum. And what thanks do we get? A 3-1 humbling by a nation that's not even a full Union member followed by a 4-0 thumping from a country that has a far worse debt crisis than us.
It gets worse. We send our prized twin assets to the Eurovision two years in a row and each time they get flatly rejected. You'd think they'd say no to those treasures in the States, China even? It's time for us to read the signs. Leave our Euro 'love-in' now before the psychological damage becomes irreversible.
Once again we hear the old codswallop about the great fans and all the singing and partying. These are not school games where the parents try to console their children on the losing side. This is for the big boys and mediocrity does not merit such celebration.
Fans exude right kind of positivity
Ireland's premature exit from the Euros was very disappointing.
The players valiantly gave of their best, but alas it wasn't good enough. But the pain of the team's elimination from the tournament was numbed for me by the phenomenal performance from the Irish soccer fans. Of course their loyal support is nothing new, but I feel they really surpassed themselves during the crushing defeat at the feet of the Spaniards.
But when Ireland were trailing 4-0 against Spain the Irish fans were still singing vociferously as if in celebration and not defeat. They waved their flags and scarves in unison and their pride and dignity allied to their jovial appearance was beamed all over the world, giving a marvellous advertisement for our tormented little country.
Their performance was inspirational and I feel the positivity they exuded representing Ireland was infinitely better than any of our politicians could have achieved. Our fans proved that even through adversity you can still be a winner. Thank you.
Epic rivalry raises tennis to new level
It was the most anticipated match in the history of the sport.
No, I'm not referring to Ireland's group match with Croatia last Sunday night, though that promised much too. The meeting of the top two players in tennis at Roland Garros which began at 2.0pm on Sunday and ended with a double fault some 23 hours later is what consumed my waking and sleeping moments. This was indisputably the biggest meeting by two gladiators in the entire 135 years of the game. Never before was so much at stake.
For Novak Djokovic, the Grand Slam was up for the taking and for Rafael Nadal outright ownership of the French Open if he claimed a record seventh title.
Never mind the purists who only recognise calendar Grand Slams last performed in the men's game in 1969 by Rod Laver in winning the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. If a player wins these four majors consecutively, then that is a Grand Slam in my book. Only two men in history have won calendar slams: Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver twice in 1962 and '69.
To win the four you have to have a complete game and only seven players have done so -- the aforementioned Budge and Laver in calendar years along with five players who have achieved Career Grand Slams: Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Nadal clinched the US Open to complete his collection in 2010. With the exception of Nadal, the red clay appears to have been the most difficult surface for the other six to conquer. But conquer they did . . . as will Djokovic who has raised the level of the game to new heights and made Nadal a more complete player.
Nadal triumphed in an intriguing match last week by 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5. I felt I played every point of that match and it was the most intense encounter I have ever witnessed in any sport. I was delighted that Nadal won but you have got to feel for Djokovic. May this rivalry last for a long time as while Djoko is still the guy to beat, his Majorcan rival can now pursue Federer's 16 slam total and raise the bar even higher.
Sunday Indo Sport