Tuesday 16 January 2018

When illness strikes... We look at five times when teams were struck down on the week of big games

Pat Lam
Pat Lam
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Connacht boss Pat Lam revealed this week that 12 members of his squad had been hit by illness following their historic win over Toulouse. With the return game loomig we look at occasions when mass illness hit sporting teams.

1. Spurs v West Ham, May 2006

After years of trying Tottenham Hotspur stood on the cusp of qualification for the Champions League with only West Ham to beat on the final day of the 2005/06 season.

Disaster struck on the morning of the game when 10 players were struck down by food poisoning.

Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane and Spurs star player that season Michael Carrick were among those affected.

Martin Jol’s team were beaten 2-1 and were pipped by Arsenal for the final qualification spot. The police were called in but the hotel that served the team their Saturday evening meal were cleared of any wrongdoing.


2. Manchester United v Fulham, November 2013

Arsenal were flying high at the top of the Premier League table but were forced into a late reshuffle when a late illness hit Arsene Wenger’s squad.

Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky were forced to withdraw from the team while Mikel Arteta was forced to play on through his illness and a sniffling Serge Gnabry took his place on the bench.

Robin van Persie’s first half header(shoulder) was enough to give United a 1-0 win but Arsenal have recovered since while the Red Devils look increasingly under the weather.


3. Ireland v West Indies, September 2012

Ireland were struck by a serious stomach bug problem before their game with the West Indies at the World Tweny20 Championships where victory would have seen them qualify for the Super Eights.

Eight members of their squad, including Ed Joyce, plus the coach Phil Simmons, were unable to train in the days before the clash, leaving questions over their ability to field a full team.

It got worse for Ireland posted 129-6 in their rain-reduced innings of 19 overs in Sri Lanka, but further showers saw the match called off before the Windies could bat.

Both sides lost to Australia in their first match, but West Indies advance because of a better net run rate.

4. Down minors v Armagh minors, July 2009

Following their narrow defeat to Armagh in the Ulster football championship final, the Down team werer forced to cease training after 20 of its 28 players came down with flu-like symptoms and four members of the management also have suspected swine flu.

Down were due to play Dublin in an All-Ireland quarter-final the week after the outbreak but the game was eventually postponed.

Down would go on to beat the Dubs but lost to All-Ireland runners-up Mayo in the last four.


5. Ireland v Canada, June 2013

Ahead of Ireland's test with Canada in Toronto during their North Atlantic tour a number of the touring party were struck down by illness.

Despite their disrupted preparation, a hat-trick of tries from Fergus McFadden helped Ireland to a 40-14 win over the Canadians.

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments section below

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