Ah Ireland, for such a small country we have been blessed with such great talent. Well some of us have,those of us who haven’t, well we get to enjoy the moments of the ones that were blessed. Sure we do be only delighted to get in on the action. Sometimes that leads to tears, however maybe those very same tears and the reson we get to enjoy our success so much.
It does also truly feel like OUR success also, us fans do play our part, whether we are there in the stadium or not. Like I’m sure Packie picked up on you screaming in a pub on John Street in Kilkenny about what side the Romanian was gonna pick.
“He is going right” Eric proclaimed, “The Keepers right or his right?” asked Duff “I’ll tell ya after he takes it!”.
1. A Nation Holds its Breathe
The Irish national team has brought us so many memories throughout the years. Games against Italy, Germany and Netherlands springs to mind. However Packie Bonnar’s save will go down as not only Irish Soccers greatest moment, but probably the greatest moment in Irish Sport in general. A nation captivated, a nation worrying, a nation holding its breathe and then a nation screaming with excitement. Magic.
2. A Grand Slam Winning Drop Goal
Just like the soccer, our national Rugby team has provided many moments of elation over the years. However the drama of Ronan O’Gara taking a literaly punt at trying to secure Ireland’s first grand slam since 1947, well that was something special. We have had manay great days since then. including a St.Patricks day six nations win versus England in 2018 and defeating the All Blacks, however this O’Gara moment just pips it for me.
3. Olympic Gold in London
Katie Taylor is our greatest sporting export ever, and this is the moment where her career began to take flight. Sure Michael Carruth won welterweight Gold in 1992 and what an achievement, and Michelle Smith was Ireland’s first female Gold Medalist until they were retracted. However few could argue the feeling of immense pride when Katie won the Gold that day, and went onto dominating the boxing industry.
4. He Slept him !
This one felt like a national event. Anything that can keep the Irish up until 6 in the morning, last 13 seconds and still have us smiling has to be considered great. The ascension of McGregor brought the whole nation along for a ride and this moment against Jose Aldo is stuff of folklore. Like Setanta driving a sliothar down the throat of the savage hound of Culann, McGregor did that with his fist.
5. The Little Man With A Great Heart
In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, John Treacy collapsed with only 200 metres left in his 10,000-metre heat, a victim of heat paralysis and dehydration. In the sheering heat in 1984 Los Angeles , John Treacy ran a time of 2:09:56, to pick up silver. That is sweet redemption. John became the first Irish man since the 1956 Olympics to win a medal in Athletics. Ron Delaney won a gold in 1956 for the Mens 1500m, however no one managed to do it for Ireland in Marathon running, no one has managed to repeat the feat since. The Late Jerry Kiernan also ran in that race and came ninth.
6. World Cup Finalists
Anytime Ireland make a World Cup, the nation will celebrate. However the Irish national Hockey did not just manage to make a World Cup, they went all the way to the final. Defy the odd’s along the way, the underdogs topped their group before beating the likes of India and Spain on the way to glory. Sure they did not manage to clinch the trophy in the end, but for a team of people who used their holidays from work and college to compete for their country, they went above and beyond for the Tri- Colour. Hopefully they can do the same at Tokyo 2021.
7. Doherty versus Henrdy
In 1997, at the age of just 28, Ken Doherty faced Stephen Hendry at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Hendry came into the event searching for his sixth consecutive world title and looked set to continute his undefeated streak, which at the time of the final was 29 games in a row. Doherty had other plans though and defeated Hendry in the final becoming the only man from the Republic of Ireland to have won the World Snooker Championship. Another accolade for the Irish man was that in winning that championship he became the first snooker player to win the World Championship at junior, amateur and professional level. Nice one ken!
8. Lowry wins The Irish Open
You could not write a better feel good story. On a wet day in Baltray, Co. Louth, Shane Lowry was taking on Robert Rock of England in sudden death. Lowry missed a chance to clinch it on the 72nd, which leveled him with Rock forcing a playoff. Both had chances to win the Open, neither capitalizing. On the third hold of sudden death, it seemed like Lowry missed another glorious chance to win the tie, that was until Rock failed to convert his next show. Once again Lowry had the chance to seal the victory and thus his future, by making this shot. In doing so Lowry became the first amateur golfer to win in his debut appearance in a major. He didnt even recieve any prise money, but his future was now cemented and so to is his place in Irish sporting history.
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