McAteer rolls back the years

Former Irish international footballer Jason McAteer grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons at the recent Star Sixes legends tournament in Glasgow. While he played an instrumental role in the performances of a star-studded Irish line up featuring Phil Babb, Ian Harte and Lee Carsley (apparently a legend), McAteer let his frustrations boil over when he kicked out at Michael Owen in retaliation to some cynical play from the Englishman. The referee sent him off for his troubles while Owen was only shown a yellow card, much to the frustration of most of the stadium. When asked about why Owen had not been sent off, McAteer didn’t hold back: “because it’s Michael Owen and it’s England.” England went on to win the final 3-2 against a Rest of the World team with Owen netting the winning goal.

Quidditch is fictional, right?

Well, not exclusively. The primary sport of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been developed into a competitive sport which is played at international level. Potter enthusiasts have formed a real-life version of Rowling’s creation which has been described as a “mix of handball, rugby and dodgeball”. The golden snitch is a tennis ball in a sock attached to the back of the shorts of a designated ‘snitch runner’, while the quaffle is represented by a volleyball. The seven players must hold a broom stick between their legs, which limits them to one hand with which to play the game. The Irish Quidditch Cup was recently held in Trinity College, with Dublin based team Draíochta Dragons earning qualification to the European Quidditch Cup, the Champions League equivalent of quidditch.

Lampard left fuming by ‘Spygate’

In a strange turn of events, Derby County had their training session halted by a police intervention in the build up to their crucial clash with Championship table toppers Leeds United. A mysterious man was removed from the training ground on suspicion of spying. Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa claimed responsibility for the event, stressing that spying is not illegal, and that he had always sent coaches to watch opposition training sessions during his time as Argentina national coach. The disruption appeared to get the better of Derby manager Frank Lampard, who seemed emotionally charged in his pre-match interview. “I don’t care if it is cultural, I am not buying it,” he moaned. Interestingly, the operation proved to be massively effective as Leeds ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

A year of sporting gaffes

Shane Ross has divided opinion throughout his term as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, but one consistency of his actions in 2018 was his lack of attention to detail when addressing our sporting heroes. Following the Grand Slam success of the Irish rugby team, he referred to Rob Kearney as Dave (his brother) in a tweet. At least Kearney saw the funny side of Ross’ incompetence, replying: “you’re welcome, Leo.” He also issued a statement congratulating World Rowing Champion ‘Dominant Puspure’, omitting her first name (Sanita), or possibly even thinking her name was Dominant. Here’s to Ross honouring Jack Schmidt when Ireland win the Rugby World Cup in 2019…