End of Year Reflections

Christmas week. If like me, you have probably heard the words ‘recharge’, ‘reflect’, ‘come back stronger’ in your end of year day job team gatherings recently. Hawkeye Sidekick is taking heed of the advice and looking back at 2019, a year with plenty of high and lows.

The Highs:

  • Golf — Shane Lowry British Open success. The Irish Open (Lahinch) was incredible. John Rahm is the man!
  • Field Hockey — Ireland’s Ladies Senior team; nail-biting penalty shoot out win over Canada.
  • Boxing — Katie Taylor continued to amaze.
  • Motorcycling — Jonathan Rea success is incredible; dominated SBS again this season and zero mention from either BBC or RTE.
  • Cricket — World Cup final. England vs. New Zealand; excitement central. Ben Stokes was legendary.
  • Soccer — EPL title race. Manchester City and Liverpool fighting it out week in, week out culminating to City beating Brighton on the road. Liverpool would secure the Champions League with a final win over Tottenham but their second leg comeback over Barcelona was incredible. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quick thinking.
  • Hurling — Noel McGrath play making second half cameo against Kilkenny in the All Ireland final. Seamus Callanan goal machine. Dublin beating Galway in the Leinster SHC. Dublin then falling to Laois in the All Ireland series. Laois were an unbelievable story this season; shame that the powers that be did not recognize the O’Moore County at the end of year awards ceremony. Ballyhale Shamrocks continue to amaze.
  • Gaelic Football — Dublin. Awesome side. Kerry’s potential undeniable with David Clifford in the full forward line. Cork underage success; badly required to challenge Kerry at the top table soon. Mayo NFL Champions — a national title long overdue.
  • Rugby Union — Leinster Rugby continue to be standard bearer for the Irish provinces. Guinness Pro14 winners. Connacht and Ulster Rugby continue to progress nicely. Munster Rugby new attacking game this season exciting.
  • Rugby Union — AIL Kingpins Cork Constitution, superb side and their consistency is a credit to all involved at Temple Hill.
  • Rugby Union — Energia Club games this season have been superb; games incredibly entertaining and closely fought.
  • Rugby Union — Joy Neville. Inspirational woman. A referee who continues to excel, only a matter of time when she is officiating in Heineken Champions Cup fixtures. Marquee official at the moment.
  • Paralympics — Irish athletes continue to deliver on the world stage.
  • Soccer – In Stephen Kenny we trust.

The Lows

  • Those who are no longer with us — so many sporting personalities gone, some gone far too young. RIP.
  • Field Hockey: How Canada got back to beat Ireland men’s team? Horrendous officiating.
  • Rugby Union: Ireland. Rugby World Cup 2019. Japanese and New Zealand losses were tough views but the team performances fell far short of what the team produced during the year.
  • Rugby Union: Joe Schmidt came and went with his book — thanks Joe but the book was unstructured like the game plan in Japan.
  • Rugby Union: Israel Folau. An undoubtedly superb rugby talent but his views are incredibly out there and flat out wrong. Rugby World Cup 2019 missed his presence on the pitch but his commentary was not. Thank you and goodbye!
  • Rugby Union: World Cup 2019. Typhoon contingency planning exposed. Italy not getting their opportunity to play New Zealand to mark the end of Parisse’s career was sad.
  • Soccer: Racism continues to rear its head all around Europe. England international games on the road. Serie A and the monkey art. A complete and utter disease in society.
  • Soccer: The future of professional soccer in Limerick; these are tough times for anyone connected with the game in the Midwest.
  • Soccer: John Delaney. FAI. Corrupt to the core. Throw the book at the organization.
  • Soccer: Junior FAI Cup debacle. Player registration debacle; endless appeals off the pitch. Fixture management chaos.
  • Soccer: Manchester United. Ole at the wheel. Pogba off on his holidays and partying at weddings. The whole thing wrecks.
  • Hurling: The New York Classic. The only noteworthy media bites were of the Limerick hurling royal rumble in the streets of New York in the aftermath. Time to seriously consider ditching the competition; doing nothing to promote the game and alienating North America GAA organizations in the process.
  • Gaelic Football: Who stops Dublin next season? Besides Kerry or Tyrone, not seeing anyone else step up to the plate.
  • Rugby Union: More press and television coverage of Energia Club games.
  • Rugby Union: The trip to Boston last season for the Irish provincial A sides to play out fixtures; unsure what the point was to be honest.
  • Boxing: How can boxing sit back and not force Wilder, Fury and Joshua to fight each other? Hoping Usyk comes into the mix, quality fighter.
  • Rugby Union: Guinness Pro14 officiating not getting any better; Mitrea performance at Irish Independent Park a classic example of that.
  • Drug Testing: Athletes are getting away with it. If we think it is only Russia then we are naive. NIKE project is tainted.
  • Soccer: Mick McCarthy era — started well but has flattened out now. Euro 2020 looks remote unless we improve our passing game but won’t happen under McCarthy.

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