Russians not Hiddink it off with Guus

by Tim Ivins Guus Hiddink would have cast a lonely figure in the bowels of Petrol Arena late on November 18. His Russian team, chock full of talent and Euro 2008 runners up had been eliminated by lowly Slovenia on away goals. In the first leg, a goal from Nejc Pecnik in the 88th minute [Read more]

Boxing: It’s tough when you wait so long for something that’s over so quickly

With footy season over, I do my best to substitute footy with other sports. With the big Green v Jones fight tonight, I think it might be worth checking it out. I’ve never been a big boxing fan. My boxing knowledge spans only from Danny Green v Anthony Mundine to Rocky Balboa v Apollo Creed. [Read more]

Chelsea v Wolves at Stamford Bridge

by Peter Flynn It is an archetypal late autumn Saturday in London. The type of ‘Match of the Day’ Saturday I remember from my formative years. Cloudy, breezy, wet and dark by 4pm. Aaahh great memories of host Jimmy Hill, commentators John Motson, Barry Davies and that iconic theme music. My old china Corka and [Read more]

Morality and sport

by Chris Riordan Morality in Sport is a very broad, interesting and controversial topic. Fine Cotton. Shoeless Joe Jackson. Recent Euro soccer and tennis betting scandals. All palpably deceitful. But it’s not always so clear. The “gentleman’s game” has had its problems. Trevor Chappell was within the rules (and following orders) when he rolled McKechnie. [Read more]

What were your favourite Almanac pieces of 2009?

This is not a forum for ranking. However, one of the pitfalls of this fantastic site is that so many articles can appear and then be smothered soon after. In the spirit of end of year lists, I wish to highlight some of my memorable reads from in 2009.

Off to South Africa along the All White road

by Tim Ivins World Cup Football provides me with some of the strongest emotions I’ve experienced as a sports fan. It’s almost like the golden path in the Wizard of Oz, countries play-off for the right to play in the greatest show of all. The show which causes me to shift my body clock to [Read more]

The table

by Damian “Dips” O’Donnell Our dinners at home were always noisy, cluttered affairs. The eight of us would sit around the delightful (though tiny) old mahogany table, which seemed to have a talent for expanding whenever Mum found there were additional mouths to feed. It could have been someone’s mate, a cousin, the local parish [Read more]

Life: Vale Uncle Ado, butcher, battler, family man, Australian

By Andrew Starkie My dad, Joe, is like the You Yangs: back from the road, strong, always there.  He looked like Tom Jones before Tom had the work done.  Joe turned 67 on Thursday, the day we buried his elder brother, Adrian. Uncle Ado was a few years older, but had been an old man [Read more]

Tennis: Federer says it’s good to be back home

Tennis god Roger Federer has made it to the final of the tournament on his home turf in Basel, Switzerland. The world No. 1 (and my personal favourite) was bound to get this far on a home court advantage. With 15 Grand Slam titles and gold Olympic medal (2008), the brown windswept haired beauty has [Read more]

General Sport: Supporter lobby group starts up

By Adam Muyt Roy Masters has written a piece in today’s SMH (7 November) on a newly formed lobby group, Sports Supporters Australia.  Masters likens it to an RACV or NRMA for sports lovers and a quick squiz through its website heightens the comparison. This group is definitely ‘serious’, structured around a membership base and board, and complete with (obligatory?) commercial [Read more]

Ireland Correspondent: Saints’ new Irishman likened to big Cat

By Peter Lenaghan The speculation chased Tommy Walsh for the best part of two years, across Ireland, all the way to Australia and back home to County Kerry. Each month a story would appear in the Irish press and headlines would declare that the imposing and gifted youngster was “considering a deal” or “on the [Read more]

The Rumble in the Jungle

Champion of the World by Andrew Starkie Ali told everyone he was going to dance.  Foreman trained for this.  In sparring, he practised cutting off the ring.  Closing in and cornering his opponents like prey to be devoured. You can’t dance without a dance floor. Everyone was frightened for Ali – his people, Foreman’s people, [Read more]

A wholly satisfying half-marathon

by Darren Dawson I will always be proud of the fact that I am a member of that small percentage of the population who has completed a marathon. In fact, I have competed in four of those 42.2 k runs, with a couple of half-marathons thrown in for good measure. And so it is with [Read more]

Ireland Correspondent: Kennelly a very happy man after earning unique double through Kerry triumph

By Peter Lenaghan The son returned to the Kingdom. He was welcomed home. He gathered up the strands of a life he’d put on hold a decade earlier. He joined the famous county football team in which his father had made the family’s name. He battled for recognition and form in an ageing and divided [Read more]

Ireland Correspondent: The toy leprechaun can go back on the shelf

By Peter Lenaghan It is a dilemma that I have been wrestling with for weeks. Our time in Ireland is drawing to a close and I need a souvenir. In stores across the island there are enough tacky postcards, fridge magnets, flat caps, toy leprechauns and T-shirts and trinkets advertising a certain black beverage to [Read more]

Top Ten: The best dummy spits in sport

1. Jeff Tarango, 1995 The American hot-head spat the dummy in the ultimate fashion by becoming the first tennis player to walk out on a match at Wimbledon. After losing a point that had been replayed during his third-round match against Alexander Mronz, Tarango told heckling spectators to “shut up”. A subsequent warning for an [Read more]

Tennis: Federer puts Williams outrage in sharp relief

By Tim Ivins It’s amazing what a difference a day can make. Sunday eastern Australian time: Serena Williams v Kim Clijsters. World number 2 versus a woman aiming to be the first mother to make a grand slam final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. Williams’s anger has been bubbling away all evening. She’s broken her racquet after [Read more]

Ireland Correspondent: Hurling fans the winners as Plan B swings into action after All-Ireland final

By Peter Lenaghan They asked politely. They gave everyone plenty of notice. They explained why it was necessary. They even promised a fireworks display. They were wise enough to have a back-up plan. The first breach of the orange-clad security barrier seemed to come at the bottom of Hill 16, soon after Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling [Read more]

Ireland Correspondent: Kennelly stars in ill-starred final

By Peter Lenaghan There are five minutes to go in the second All-Ireland football semi final. Emily and I are watching the game in a south Dublin bar, but we are distracted by a bowl of hot chips and the rain tumbling down outside. In truth, the game lost our attention a while ago.

Ireland Correspondent: Race for cherished title nears full bloom

By Peter Lenaghan It is an important time for the Irish community. Its fabled, passionately followed competition, celebrating a milestone this year, is reaching its annual climax. Months of hard work and preparation have been devoted to a shot at glory. Weaker challengers have fallen by the wayside. Bookmakers are setting odds and holding vast [Read more]