Sunday 15 July 2018

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England ENG 1

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Weekend takeaways - De Gea saves Reds' blushes

Outstanding: David de Gea. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Outstanding: David de Gea. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Best tweet of the weekend was surely the one about David De Gea being so good that he could 'save a PD file in a calculator!'

The Manchester United goalkeeper's astonishing performance had social media buzzing, including that amazing double-save against Lacazette and Sanchez that made you wonder just how many feline genes are in his DNA?

His 14 saves equalled a Premier League record, matching the previous performances of Vito Mannone (Arsenal v Chelsea, 2014) and Tim Krul ( Newcastle v Spurs 2013).

But as people waxed lyrical about the attacking nature of Saturday's thrilling Man Utd/Arsenal clash and criticised the Gunners' for conceding two early goals, it was surprising how few questions were raised about the Red Devils' defence.

De Gea stopped 14 of the Gunners' shots that were on target but they actually had 33 shots in the game.

His brilliance was inescapable and praiseworthy but what the hell was the United defence at, particularly Smalling, Rojo and Lindelof?

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It also asks serious questions about Arsenal. The sort of one-touch football they're playing right now is carving open some defences but one out of 33 is a pretty damning return.

No job but real respect

Colin Kaepernick may still be black-balled by the NFL for his 'take the knee' protest' against police brutality in the US but he may find some consolation in his latest award.

'GQ' have already named him their Man of the Year and now he is the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

This relatively new award, a collaboration between the most respected media arbiter in US sport and the Ali family, is designed to honour an athlete who embodies 'the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world.'

Cora Staunton of Carnacon celebrates her side’s victory at the final whistle of the All-Ireland Ladies club SF final against Mourneabbey at Parnell Park. Photo: SEB DALY/SPORTSFILE
Cora Staunton of Carnacon celebrates her side’s victory at the final whistle of the All-Ireland Ladies club SF final against Mourneabbey at Parnell Park. Photo: SEB DALY/SPORTSFILE

Despite the fact that almost 90 quarter-backs are employed in the NFL - and that Kaepernick is ranked fifth in the sport's history in touchdown-to-interception ratio - he is currently unemployed.

Kaepernick has been criticised, in some quarters, for not voting in the 2016 US elections but the citation stressed that 'the Ali Legacy Award does not honour perfection'. It said he won the award 'for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice and for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost."

GAA players get political

Some people argue there is no place for politics in sport and would even love nations and flags to be removed from the Olympic Games.

Kaepernick's 'take the knee' gesture has shown it's sometimes impossible to keep one from the other and now we're seeing it in Ireland. Some Leinster rugby players have already gone out as volunteers on a night food run with one of the Dublin homeless charities.

Now inter-county Gaelic players, former and current, through a platform called 'Gaelic Voices for Change' are organising a sleep-out across the country on December 16 to show solidarity and raise funds for Ireland's homelessness crisis. Some have sniped that this is unnecessary given the amount of NGOs and charities already working in this area.

Others, bizarrely, branded this 'elitist' because the movement initially looked for inter-county players to take part through the two players' unions (the GPA and WGPA).

This generation is condescendingly described as 'snowflakes' who can't deal with the harsh realities of life yet these GAA players are willing to get involved in supporting the most vulnerable in our society.

Players with a social conscience - what's not to love?

Tiger's not roaring yet

Tiger Woods, as a black athlete in America, has often been criticised for his lack of political activism but he's had more personal problems to worry about in recent years.

Some of the coverage of his return to action in the Hero World Challenge has bordered on hysteria. After back surgery and a 10-month lay-off, golf fans were understandably excited to see him back and shooting 69-68 in his first two rounds. But his 75 in round three emphasised that he's far from back to full fitness.

Playing in a tournament in the sunny Bahamas with a tiny field (18) and a very small gallery is also nothing like the rigour of returning to the full PGA Tour.

So it is far too early yet to be predicting that Tiger can make a successful comeback.

Cora enjoys perfect end

Fairytale endings are rare in sport but Cora Staunton got hers yesterday when Carnacon beat Mourneabbey in the All-Ireland ladies club SFC final.

The 34-year-old joked after the Mayo champions won their sixth title and first since 2013 that she had stayed around for so long that the club captaincy had come around to her again after 15 years.

Staunton scored 0-7 (3f) and constantly tied the opponents' defence in knots and it was the perfect send-off for the Mayo legend who flies to Australia on Tuesday for a spell with Greater Western Sydney Giants in the women's AFL, a professional league that is only in its second season.

But spare a though for Mourneabbey as this was their third club final loss in four seasons.

Cork had three teams in women's club finals over the weekend but only one - Aghada, who beat Corduff in the junior - won. Dunboyne, led by Vicki Wall, just pipped Kinsale by a point in a thrilling end-to-end intermediate final that actually managed to outshine the senior decider.

Irish Independent

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