Mike O’Halloran: Reflections On A Sporting Year

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rsz_mike_ohalloranOur hurling and rugby writer, Mike O’Halloran, reflects on his personal highlights of the year in sport 2014… 

In a year when Kerry footballers won the senior, minor All Irelands and the juniors were Munster Champs, a few other sporting moments caught my interest.

1. Ultimate Frisbee.

My son in law, BJ Bloom introduced me to the game of Ultimate Frisbee, a game that is played without a referee where the players play within the spirtit of the game and players call fouls on each other, how this would work with those of us who were brought up in the GAA would be an interesting study.

Ultimate Frisbee is played in pitch seventy yards by forty yards with end zones of twenty five yards. Teams consist of 7 players. The Frisbee is passed by the team in possession to each other until a player gains possession in the end zone just like American football.

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2. Retirements.

Kerry lost two of the greats who had candles in front of their pictures in our house; Tomas O Se and Paul Galvin, two of the greatest to ever chase the caid. Those of us who follow the hurling were blessed to be able to see the Galvin The Great play for Lixnaw.

Kilkenny lost JJ Delaney, Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Aiden Fogarty, David Herrity. Some challenge for Cody in 2015 to rebuild.

3. Great Point in Killarney.

The wonderful point scored by Conor Keane of Legion in the final of The ODonoghue Cup Final versus Rathmore in the drawn game, he curled a beauty from the left when Legion were trying to get back into the game.

4. Great Goal.

Donal Breathnachs goal in the Waterford U21B Championship. Check it out…


5. Katie Taylor wins her fifth world title

I am always amazed at her spirituality and how in these cynical times she is brave enough to speak of her religious beliefs and how she takes power from the prayers of her fans.

6. Photo of the year.

The picture of Ogie and Anne Moran being hugged by their giant son David after the All-Ireland Final. The emotion of Ogie’s face told the whole story.

7. The Star.

Austin Stacks’ win in the Kerry County championship means that Kieran Donaghy will be the captain of Kerry in 2015, just reward for his efforts down the years.

hurling_108. Hurling highs and lows

The hurling scene had highs and lows, Lixnaw’s win in the county championship and their great run in Munster was a highlight, as was the return to action of Mike Conway.

The hurling scene was not all sweetness and light though, with 5 clubs unable to field an U21 team and two very unsavoury incidents during the year.

The county team failed to win The Christy Ring Cup but won their division in style and should have been promoted, but they then had to face Offaly where they were given a lesson on the gulf between them and the top seven or eight teams.

Offaly gave them a big lead and an extra man for most of the second half but Kerry still came up short. Plans are afoot to up the ante this year and here’s hoping.

9. Most Enjoyable game of 2014

The game between Gloucester and Munster in Gloucester in The Heineken Cup. The atmosphere in the Shed was second to none almost Thomondesque

10. Cashen Spirit

My highlight of 2014 has to be the donation by my old Ballyduff teammate Chris Houlihan of a wellbred sixteen month old greyhound pup Cashen Spirit to The Limerick Youth Service.

Chris is one of the top greyhound trainers in Ireland. He donated the pup to the youth service to promote an interest in greyhound racing among young people and hopefully raise much needed funds for the service.

Cashen Spirit got off to a winning start when it was a trap to line winner at Limerick track before Christmas.

To hear the Limerick youths describe the beauty of The Cashen and Ballyduff on Radio One was a highlight to be sure.

Happy New Year.

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