Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things that didn't float our boat in 2008

Things that Jumpthefence added to its black book…
1 Ongoing GAA problems
The Cork strikes. The Paul Galvin affair. The Justin McCarthy ousting in Waterford. The doping controversy. The Cork strikes again. Sure it’s nice to have something to talk about in the pub but there seems to be stuff happening every year now where nobody comes out with any dignity or class and the ordinary fan is just getting bored. Everybody loses a bit of themselves with the problems in Cork. Kerry didn’t do themselves any favours with the reaction to Galvin’s ban. The GAA themselves didn’t come up smelling of roses in any of the mishaps. Back to the on-field stuff next year maybe?

2 Irish rugby team
If Munster won hearts and minds and plaudits, Ireland’s rugby side continued the doomy spiral of the World Cup performances with an awful Six Nations and a dispiriting Autumn series (even with new manager Declan Kidney installed). There was something naturally gloomy about the camp in the final days of Eddie O’Sullivan and defeats to France, Wales and England were deserved and horribly predictable. Kidney came in to some fanfare but New Zealand made boys of us and the Argentina win was so ugly it felt like defeat.

3 Arsenal
Started the year top of the Premier League amid proclamations of Wenger’s genius at putting together the best young players in the history of the game. Just didn’t have enough steel, winning mentality and experience to see out big games or the season (the 4-0 defeat to Utd in the cup hugely deflated their aura, late collapses from winning positions at Chelsea, Utd and Liverpool (Champs Lge) summed up their problems). End the year with question marks over hanging onto fourth spot, having lost two captains and valid wonderings as to the judgement of their manager in thinking these youngsters were up to it.

4 Cristiano Ronaldo
Oh man oh man, how can anyone be so damned good yet so damned annoying? Jumpthefence actually feels sorry for him at times as he does tend to get kicked, fouled and taken out of games far more than most footballers. But the increasing ego that questions every tackle made as an offense, the petulance, the strutting, the arrogance, the self-perception that he’s now bigger than Man Utd, make one the world’s top players extremely unlikable. And that’s a shame, cos it alters the ordinary punters’ sense of how good he is.

5 Domestic football
Though the paranoia and bitterness that pervades the domestic game can make it hard to root for at times, nobody wants to see season after season dominated by clubs going down the swanny or stories of debts and administrations being more popular than feelgood stories. Cork City almost went under. Pretty much every other club around had some form of difficulties. All due to overreaching, misplaced ambition and just never being able to connect with the wider public. An awful pity, but every step forward of the past five years seems to be followed by two backwards.

6 The misplaced hypes and hopes
Hey, it’ll happen anyway and everywhere but Jumpthefence finds a terrible disparity at times between those who receive our cheers/ jeers and those who deserve them. Giovanni Trapattoni does a pretty good job early days yet gets abuse for not fielding an average-to-good prem lge player while Bernard Dunne beats a couple of no-hopers and continually gets peddled as a fighting machine. We talk up a rugby team that’s struggling to get into the top eight in the world while laughing at and dismissing individuals who’re fighting massive odds for not winning Olympic medals. Some perspective needs to be found at times. We won’t be holding breath.

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