2017 Sport: The weird and the wonderful
Our failed bid to host the 2023 rugby World Cup broke many a heart. How sympathetic was Senator Terry Leyden?
“It’s crying over spilt milk at this stage … they made a bags of it. Let’s call a spade a spade… they wouldn’t negotiate a piss-up in a brewery, for God’s sake.”
Least appreciated bust of a footballer
That would be the one unveiled at the airport in Madeira back in March which was meant to be a likeness of Cristiano Ronaldo, after whom the airport was named. The reviews were the opposite of positive, most reckoning it looked more like Niall Quinn.
The sculptor responsible, Emanuel Santos, was a touch beleaguered in the end, sounding like a man who regretted the day he was hired for the job. He tried to remain defiant, though: “It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone.”
Judge of the year
Our runaway winner is Judge Miriam Walsh to whom the task fell to punish Conor McGregor for driving at 158km/h on the Naas road.
“I have to ask, how much do you earn – and don’t say €110 million in one day,” she said at Blanchardstown’s District Court.
“140,” he chuckled.
When she handed him a €400 fine, she showed considerable mercy (while trying to retain a straight face): “You can pay that in instalments.”
McGregor laughed so hard he experienced more pain than Floyd Mayweather inflicted.
The most retweeted tweet from a sports person in 2017
It was the one LeBron James sent in Donald Trump’s direction after the Tweeter-in-Chief announced he was uninviting Stephen Curry to the White House.
Curry had been one of the stars of the Golden State Warriors’s NBA championship triumph, but had already decided not to attend the team’s reception at the White House because of his opposition to Trump and his policies. LeBron, then, politely pointed out that the “uninvite” was, well, pointless. At this stage, it’s 660,436 retweets and counting.
A slam dunk.
Most catastrophic ‘beat the traffic’ decision of 2017
That would be the one made by Cris Rolandus, a Dutch man living in Barcelona, back in March, when he left the Nou Camp seven minutes from time in the Champions League game between Barca and Paris Saint-Germain.
At that point, PSG led 5-3 on aggregate, having clobbered Barca 4-0 in the first leg, so Cris decided it was safe to depart and beat the crowds.
What happened next?
88: Neymar made it 4-5 on aggregate.
90 +1: Neymar made it 5-5 on aggregate.
90 + 5: Sergi Roberto won it for Barcelona.
How did Cris take it? “I spent the rest of the night just staring at nothing. Such a wonder will never happen again. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a party, between death and mortal sin.”
The most overused gag of the year was the one about Tiger Woods making more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. His latest, though, at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in November, was more promising than most, three sub-70 rounds helping him to a share of ninth.
His greatest relief was that he showed his kids that he can be quite decent at the game. “They’ve never seen what I can do,” he said, “they thought I was the YouTube golfer.”
Photo of the year
The one that had the nation reaching for the Kleenex – Galway manager Micheál Donoghue showing his father Miko the Liam MacCarthy Cup when the team stopped off at Ballinasloe on their homecoming. Take a bow, Morgan Treacy of the Inpho agency.
Most original verdict on the 15-15 draw between New Zealand and the Lions that left the series tied
That would have been All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s take on neither winning nor losing: “It’s a bit like kissing your sister, isn’t it? There’s nothing in it.”
Defendant of the year
The award goes to the 18-year-old fella who was charged with causing £3,994 worth of damage to a Travelodge in Borehamwood and ended up in St Albans Magistrates Court.
The general consensus was that his parents might possibly be Arsenal fans. The general hope was that he hadn’t opted to support Spurs.
His name? Brady Dennis Bergkamp Wright.
Most sceptical manager
That would have been Kilkenny’s Ann Downey when she heard that Cork camogie legend Gemma O’Connor wouldn’t line out in the All-Ireland final due to injury, as “confirmed” by Cork manager Paudie Murray before the game.
Downey: “I think that Gemma will play today. We’ve been gearing our training towards her being on the field. She’s a great warrior, unless she’s after losing a leg.”
How right was Downey? Very. O’Connor played from start to finish, scoring an equaliser from the halfway line in the last second of normal time before Cork won it in added time. Imagine if she was fit.
Most begorrah moment
When Canterbury Crusaders announced their newest recruit: “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! We have some exciting news to start your day, to be sure… Ronan O’Gara is our new Backs Coach!”