ALL THINGS IRELAND: December 2011
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Monday, December 19, 2011

MUNSTER BEAT THE SCARLETS 19-13 TO HEAD GROUP 4

Munster remain top position of Pool 4 in the the Heineken Cup
with a win over Scarlets today in Thomand Park.10Share
The opening score came from a Ronan O’Gara penalty in the 4th minute wtih Stephen Jones levelling 8 minutes later.
A second successful penalty from O’Gara in the 34th minute put the home side 6-3 in front at the half time whistle.


O'Gara followed up with another penalty in the 43rd minute before James Coughlan scored the first try on the 51st minute, Ronan adding the convertion.


Priestland and O'Gara exchanged penalties before Scarlet's Ken Owens crossed the Munster line after 65 minutes. When Priestland added the convertion the visitors had reduced the gap to six points with 14 minutes remaining but Munster held on to secure their fourth victory in pool 4 of the Heineken Cup, winning 19-13 in Thomond Park.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

LEINSTER & ULSTER WIN BIG AS UNLUCKY CONNACHT LOSE OUT

Aironi 20-46 Ulster

Ulster's Heineken Cup ambitions remain alive and kicking after a bonus point victory over Aironi in Monza moved them to the top of Pool 4.
Brian McLaughlin's men scored six tries on their way to a well-merited win which puts them in pole position ahead of next month's crunch clashes with Leicester Tigers (home) and Clermont Auvergne (away).
Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Craig Gilroy and replacements Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin were all on the mark for the visitors, while a first half penalty try added to Italian woes.




Gloucester 23-19 Connacht

Connacht 'fronted up magnificently', in the words of Eric Elwood, and were just minutes away from an historic first Heineken Cup victory when Jonny May struck for the match-winning try for Gloucester.

 Jonny May's 75th-minute try kept alive Gloucester's faint Heineken Cup hopes and extended Connacht's frustrating run of defeats to 10 matches.

Niall O'Connor looked to have earned the westerners their first win of the competition when his 72nd minute penalty put the visitors 19-16 up, but replacement centre May then sailed past two defenders for the decisive score.


Tiernan O'Halloran, who had another impressive outing, and Tim Taylor had earlier traded first half tries, while O'Connor kicked four penalties and Taylor and Freddie Burns combined for three for the hosts.
May's late intervention was a bitter blow for Eric Elwood's supremely committed side, who were unlucky to lose after being the better team for much of the match against an out-of-sorts Gloucester.






Leinster 52-27 Bath

Leinster hold a six-point lead at the top of Heineken Cup Pool 3 after dispatching Bath with great aplomb at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night.



Three first half tries - two of them scored while Leo Cullen was in the sin-bin - saw Leinster regain their ruthless streak amid a festive atmosphere at the home of Irish rugby.


A crowd of 46,365, the second largest ever for a Heineken Cup pool match, watched on as Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald and Jonathan Sexton all crossed the visitors' whitewash to give Joe Schmidt's charges a 24-6 half-time lead.
Fitzgerald darted over just 30 seconds into the second half to chalk up the bonus point, and there were further tries for Eoin Reddan and replacements Rhys Ruddock and Ian Madigan.
The hosts thrived in broken play, efficiently putting away the sort of chances they failed to convert at the Recreation Ground just six days ago.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

SHAMROCK ROVERS LOSE 4-0 TO SPURS

Michael O'Neill's successful tenure as boss of Shamrock Rovers manager came to an end this evening with a 4-0 defeat by high-flying Tottenham Hotspurs at a packed Tallaght Stadium in Dublin.

Rovers started brightly but first-half goals by Steven Pienaar, André Townsend and Jermain Defoe put the game to bed early on.
Shamrock Rovers were by no means outclassed and very much made a game of it but Spurs superior finishing was the difference in the half.

Rovers came out in the second half and gave it a good go, competing for every ball and having a few shots on goal themselves.
Steven O'Donnell shot just wide on 63 mins while Gary O'Sullivan had a good shot saved by Carlo Cudicini on 87 mins.

However, Tottenham had the final say with a goal by sub Harry Kane on full-time.

Despite the victory Harry Rednapp's team are out of the Europa League, I don't think he is too disappointed as the Premier League is his stated priority.

It is a shame that the Shamrock Rover's hierarchy have allowed Michael O'Neill to leave the club.
It is believed that the manager wanted the funds recieved from qualifying for the Europa League, €1 million, to be invested in new players.
It seems that the Rover's board were unwilling to acceed to his demands and he has now left the club having created history.
The vacant manager's job at Northern Ireland is now down to three people with O'Neill's name believed to be one of them.
O'Neill has said tonight that he: "would be honoured", to take the Northern Ireland job
Thanks Michael for all the success you delievered to Shamrock Rovers in such a short time.



GROUP AWONDRAWNLOSTGOAL DIFFPOINTS
PAOK330412
RUBIN KAZIN321611
SPURS332510
SHAMROCK ROVERS006-150




Monday, December 12, 2011

FIONNUALA BRITTON WINS GOLD FOR IRELAND IN SLOVENIA


Wicklow's Fionnuala Britton won gold at the 18th SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Velenje, Slovenia on Sunday.

The Kilcoole AC athlete ran a determined race from the front, shaking off the attention of all her challengers before pulling clear with a couple of laps to go.
Maintaining a smooth rhythm throughout, she raced to a wide-margin victory over Dulce Felix of Portugal, with Gemma Steel of Britain back in third.
The victory was Ireland's second gold medal in the race after Catherina McKiernan's success at the inaugural championships back in 1994.
In last year's race, Britton faded out of the medals to finish in a frustrating fourth place and that was very much in her thoughts going into today's race.
Speaking after the race, the new European Champion said:
"I can hardly believe it. That was the plan (to make the running) from that start and I knew I had to it. After last year, this is the only medal I wanted. In a ways, it's been on my mind for the whole year."
Lets hope our latest Champion can carry her onto further success in the London Olympics next year.



Sunday, December 11, 2011

LEINSTER EDGE OUT BATH 18-13 IN THE HEINEKEN CUP

Heineken Cup holders Leinster had to rely on the boot of Jonny Sexton to get the upper-hand over English-side Bath at The Rec on Sunday.

The young out-half kicked six penalties out of seven to ensure the away side a valuable and deserved victory by 18 points to 13.

However, Leinster were very wasteful with the ball and squandered three clear try-scoring chances in the game.
The worst of those came from the normally excellent Sean O'Brien when he was metres from the try-line and with a three-man overlap, he chose to go it alone instead of passing the ball outside for a certain try.

England wing Matt Banahan then barged over Leinster's line which put them in the lead with Ollie Barkley's conversion on 65 mins.
Luckily, Joe Smidt's team, especially Sexton, held their nerve to close out the win as Bath's captain, Francois Louw conceded loose penalties under pressure from the Leinster forwards.

Leinster top the Group with a home game against Ian McGeechan's side at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin next weekend.


TEAMPLAYEDWONLOSTPOINTS
LEINSTER32011
GLASGOW3218
BATH3126
MONTPELLLIER3024




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

TRAPATTONI WINS IRISH MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has won the Philips Manager of the Year award after guiding the national team to their first major championship finals in 10 years.


The Italian was in competition with Dublin football manager Pat Gilroy, who led the capital side to their first All-Ireland title in 16 years, Brian Cody, who lifted the Liam McCarthy trophy with Kilkenny, and Leinster's Heineken Cup-winning coach Joe Schmidt.

But the award, which was announced at a ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon, was given to the 72-year-old in recognition of his achievement of guiding the Republic to second place in Group B and the subsequent 5-1 aggregate win over Estonia in the play-offs.
The last time the award went to an international football manager was in 2001 when Mick McCarthy brought Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals.
The likable Italian has guided lowly Ireland to two play-off's in his tenure, cruelly losing out to France before he steered Ireland to a 5-1 over Estonia in the Euro play-offs and is a deserved winner of the award. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

IRELAND FACE SPAIN & ITALY IN EURO FINALS


So now we know.
Ireland have been drawn against Spain, the current World and European Champions.
Just for good measure, we also have to play three-time World Cup winner's Italy and add to that Slavan Bilic's Croatia.

Make no mistake, its a very tough draw.
But with two teams to qualify from the group we have a fighting chance.
Rest assured, Trapattoni and the Irish team will give it everything.

The good news is that we will be based in Poznan in Poland, which has better facilities and is much easier to get to than the Ukraine.
Also lets celebrate the fact that we are actually in the Euro Finals and its something to look forward to next Summer.


                    GROUP C
GROUP C FIXTURESHOMEAWAYVENUES
JUNE 10IRELANDVCROATIAPOSNAN
JUNE14SPAINVIRELANDGDANSK
JUNE 18IRELANDV ITALYPOSNAN