Monday 16 December 2019

From the stands: Reds have nothing on these spot marathons

Albert Adomah of Middlesbrough misses his penalty during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough
Albert Adomah of Middlesbrough misses his penalty during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough

Aisling Crowe and Jerome Reilly

Liverpool's epic, or never-ending depending on your viewpoint, penalty shootout victory over Middlesbrough on Tuesday night predictably had the usual suspects raving about the thrilling intensity of English football.

However, although the 14-13 scoreline - after a tiring run of 30 penalties that left From The Stands willing anyone, just anyone, to miss so we could go to bed - is a record for the League Cup, it isn't the longest penalty shootout in English football history.

That honour goes to the under 10s of Mickleover Lightning Blue Sox and Chellaston Boys. Their Derby Community Cup game in January 1998 became world famous for a penalty shootout that finished 2-1. Nothing remarkable about that, except it took an astonishing 66 penalties to get a result.

In first-tier national competition, the world record is held by a Namibian team KK Palace, who beat rivals Civics 17-16 in a Namibian Cup game in January 2005.

Each team took an exhausting 24 penalties before KK Palace emerged victorious and wrecked - the entire shootout had taken 50 minutes to complete.

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Hurling, it has been argued, is as much art as sport. But surprisingly the great game has seldom inspired the wonderful paintings and sculpture it deserves. There are exceptions. The Christy Ring sculpture in bronze at Cork Airport is a favourite of ours.

But on the weekend that's in it, the mind is drawn to the iconic oil-on-canvas The Tipperary Hurler painted by Seán Keating some time between 1923 and 1925. The subject was apparently the hurler John Joe Hayes of Ballerk, near Thurles.

The subject is not wearing the blue and gold of Tipperary, however, but the red shirt and green sash of Commercials Hurling Club in Dublin, which is still going strong.

Commercials (founded in 1886) was a beacon for hurling men who came to Dublin in search of work in the capital's shops, pubs and hotels.

Keating was a former President of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the father of the former Labour Party minister Justin Keating.

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WE are always looking for new sports and stories to bring to you, and the latest that winged its way to the inbox was about baseball in Ireland. American football is attracting a growing audience here so it wasn't surprising to discover that another sport from the USA is gaining in popularity too.

Ireland's oldest baseball club, Greystones Mariners, won their first A League title last Saturday, defeating Dublin Hurricanes. The team consists entirely of players who developed from youth level upwards, which is a first in the 25-year history of Baseball Ireland's Senior A League.

The Bray club was founded in 1989 by a returning emigrant to San Francisco and is one of nine baseball clubs in the country.

For anyone who wants to catch some live action, the B League final between Belfast North Stars and Dublin Hurricanes begins at 11.30 today in Corkagh Park, Clondalkin.

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Newcastle United's former striker Tino Asprilla launched his latest business venture last week and to say it raised eyebrows in would be an understatement. A Chinese company has begun production on a range of flavoured condoms, to initially be sold in the striker's native Colombia. He even had advice on which flavour is the best.

"I'll recommend the guava flavour condom," he said. "That's a flavour and aroma that's very good for romancing."

What came as a shock to us was the confirmation that the former Parma striker turned down an offer to star in an Italian porn film last year! Mamma Mia!

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