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What are the biggest “what ifs” in Irish sports?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    For such a small and diverse island we have done remarkably well at both domestic and international sport. I never like bashing Michele, she did what she thought was giving her the best chance of winning a medal, she tested negative at those games, so there you go. She is a 3 time Olympic gold Medal winner and no one can take that away from her.

    Soccer wise I think the Roy Keane argument around better progression in Japan is shallow enough. His head wasn't there anyway, he walked off the pitch himself. He was the captain, it was his job to keep them boys going. He wasn't prepared for it and threw a strop, phuckem, he was a great player but Spain might still have gone through. We bottled the penos, you need bottle to win penos. We were good but not that good, imo.

    The biggest shambles has been the Rugby at the World cup, downright appalling stuff, they really need to raise their game? The last 3 World Cups they have gone to in the top 4 , 3 and 2 in the world.... and came home beaten by teams who adapted better and relished the challenge of a world competition. They have no fight in their dog at the World Cup, lightweights and pushovers, as a former player and now mild enthusiast I would love to be eating my words soon, but they are already heading off with a crocked, albeit brilliant world class out half, who is only one head butt away from being out of the tournament and no replacement. Another shambles awaits.

    Why have we no international Gymnastics Arena? How many 50 metre swimming pools do we have? Why do we have to pay to play Tennis?

    The one that winds me up the most is how brilliantly our best golfers perform globally. They received no state funding whatsoever, but the reality is that we love our Golf and there are 100's of brilliant courses available across the country. It really shows what we could achieve if we had a few decent 50 metre pools around Athlone, Longford, Clonmel, Tullamore. They bend over backward to pay people doing phuck all with their lives, the least they could do is build a few Olympic pools and tell them they get paid 25 cents a length? We might have a few more decent swimmers then I reckon?

    The biggest what if is the lack of state funding, period. All privately funded sports we kill internationally, think horse racing, golf, the talent is there for sure. But the willpower to promote other sports is not. We still have no ice hockey pitch in the south, no Tennis academy, no Gymnastics, Volley Ball, only a handful of athletics tracks. Look what the investment in Astro Turf hockey pitches returned, we competed in a World Championship Final.

    Sport in Ireland needs better financial investment, across the entire playing field, what if?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭Did you smash it

    Saipan is best viewed as not a story of keane vs McCarthy but an indictment of how the drinking culture and the culture of loveable disorganization in ireland’s international team ultimately led to Ireland playing in a World Cup without its best player.

    the rights and wrongs of the argument are far less important than the overall context of Ireland being a kind of banana republic when it comes to setting standards of organization and preparation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    PS - I really got angry at the " Irish " competitors at the Winter Olympics. I am not angry at the "ex pats" who managed to wangle their way to an Olympics... they took the initiative and got there. I am angry at what a phucking waste of money that is. Paying or financing foreign skiers and snowboarders to represent Ireland at the expense of promoting new domestic talent is a complete disgrace. It is short term, cheap and looked pathetic. No offense to the competitors who took their opportunity, but shame on the Irish Olympic council for blowing their money down the swanny. Not for the first time either, it looks rancid in there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,503 ✭✭✭✭Mad_maxx

    We’d have been beaten by the All Blacks the following week, Ireland were a poor team in 91., very poor

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭Did you smash it

    Doubt they get that much to be honest. I’d say any funding irish Olympic competitors get in the winter or summer games is hard earned.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭Did you smash it

    i agree with all the stuff about facilities.

    one other thing I’d mention is that to play football on an Astro pitch in Ireland you have to pay money.

    I live in Poland, so so many schools have great astro pitches and you can walk on them for free and play away once school is out. I presume much of Europe is the same.

    in Ireland between funding, insurance and vandalism there’s no chance of that ever happening.

    the biggest what if or maybe imponderable is that if Ireland was blessed to have a Messi or Neymar born on its territory how far would they go in life compared to the real messi/Neymar. I’m not sure if they would achieve anything like what the actual versions did. Just think we are so far behind to support elite talent

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 11,411 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hammer Archer

    Had Eoin Hand's Ireland team not been on the receiving end of corrupt refereeing decisions in the late 70s/early 80s, there's every chance they would have qualified for a world cup.

    They were drawn in the qualifying group of death for the 1982 World Cup, with Belgium, France and the Netherlands. In the third last game of the group, they were away to Belgium. Raúl Nazare from Portugal was referee and by all accounts, it was abundantly clear that he had been paid for by the Belgians. Ireland had a perfectly good goal ruled out for reasons that are still unknown while Belgium scored a late winner from a free that came from a Swan dive just outside the box (referee was probably hoping to give a penalty but the dive was too far outside the box).

    After that game, Ireland drew away to the Netherlands and beat the Great France team 3-2 at home but came third behind France on goal difference and only a point behind Belgium. Had they beaten Belgium and all other results were the same, Ireland would have topped that group.

    Had they qualified that year, Jack Charlton may never have been Irish manager and with the quality of players at our disposal, who knows how well we would have done.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,979 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    We would have sat back not gotten the second penalty at still ended 1-1.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,913 ✭✭✭✭martingriff

    Fergi would have told him to take one and if he continued sold him sooner then he dis. Fergi took no crap. I say this as a liverpool fan

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 missie1234

    What if the referee Jimmy Cooney hadn't blown the whistle two minutes early in the Clare v Offaly replay in 1998?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,034 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    If nudie hughes goal bound shot had been 2 inches more to the left it would have went in the net instead of bouncing out Monaghan would have won the 1985 All Ireland. That was some team.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,749 ✭✭✭Eoinbmw

    What if Neil back had been penalized in 02!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    One, I may well remember incorrectly, is itialia 90. Wasn't there an offside given against an injured Irish player in the Italian penalty area (Sheridan perhaps?).

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Horse Racing is almost built on what ifs, What if Golden Cygnet had not been fatally injured? Would have been around with the greatest collection of hurdlers to grace the sport.

    And what if Martin Donnelly's suspension hadn't broken at Jerez, could we have had a World Champion? Probably not, but a multi GP winner anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,574 ✭✭✭StevenToast

    Agreed but the semi final hoodoo wouldnt have been hanging over the team ever since.

    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Fletcher

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,400 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Sport in this country has been chronically underfunded. For decades, still is.

    the point you make about hockey is excellent, yet depressing. Imagine with proper investment and resources for sports and sports people… the successes we’d have had throughout the years… ?! Over multiple sports… ‘what if’….is right

    it’s a country with motivated people at grassroots level with significant interest and passion for sports…. But a country with small minded politicians that sees our money fecked off away on virtue signaling and random overseas ‘aid’…. Which offers zero encouragement to foreign governments to sort out their own issues..

    Luxembourg with a population of around 646,000…. Look at some of their sports facilities….puts us to shame.

    The Republic of ‘IF’ we only had…..

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,399 ✭✭✭dunnerc

    What if Dublin didnt get all the money .....

  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭20Wheel

    What if ... inconsequential sports results werent read out on the radio as cheap airtime filler.

    How many hours of my life have been involuntarily filled with hearing background noise about St Gilberts junior teams triumph in the avonmore league.

    Putin is a dictator. Putin should face justice at the Hague. All good Russians should work to depose Putin. Russias war in Ukraine is illegal and morally wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    I would be more interested in finding out where it does go tbh. Which sports body are your referring to? It isn't the GAA, I know that for a fact and I doubt it is the IRFU either. The FAI were crippled by a culchie with notions.

    Which one ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,826 ✭✭✭griffin100

    That jammy Wim Keift goal from Euro 88 is one that still rankles with me.

    A more obscure one - Sean Kelly retired from the Vuelta Espania in 1987 when leading the race with a couple of stages to go due to a saddle sore in a very sensitive area when he was nailed on to win. If he had won Irish riders would have won all 3 grand tours that year. He also has 3 second places in Flanders over the years, if he had won it once he would be only one of 4 riders ever to have won all of of cycling’s Monument races. A big deal if you a cycling fan!!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,979 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,213 ✭✭✭Grueller

    The class players? That's revisionism lads. We had Kevin Kilbane as a regular, a solid pro but not class. Ian Harte was slow as a wet week and had to have Kilbane covering him all times in front. Gary Breen as first choice centre half? Steve Stauntaon was creaking by this stage too. Realistically we were a country mile away from winning a world cup in 02, despite rte making documentaries to the contrary.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,979 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Quinn was creaking too and Matty Holland was nothing special.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,062 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Then we wouldn't be the global leader in horse sport that we are.

    The Equine sports contribute in the massive amount of activity based taxes that they generate, as well as employment and supply.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,979 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    All business and sport supports employment and indirect tax. Don't all get the nice perks that the well connected posh boy sport gets though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,024 ✭✭✭Cosmo Kramer

    What if Michelle Smith had retired straight after Atlanta and never swam competitively again? Would she be a national hero today - quite possibly.

    What if there was no GAA and the effort, resources and playing numbers that go into GAA were put into soccer, rugby and Olympic sports instead? Would we be a kind of New Zealand of the northern hemisphere - among the best in the world in a number of different sports?

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,979 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    I think if Smith retired immediately after it would have just fueled the doping rumours. The casual fan would probably love her though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,599 ✭✭✭DJIMI TRARORE

    What if Karius,sorry it's still too soon

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,630 ✭✭✭✭Strazdas

    A controversial viewpoint : we might have done worse and not qualified from the group stage. It looks like the whole Saipan thing pulled Mick and the team together and with a point to prove. With an obviously moody and bad tempered (at that moment) Keane in the team kicking off against his team mates, it's anyone's guess what the results might have been.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    What if Sonia O'Sullivan didn't trust that fart at the 1996 5000m Olympic final.