Monday, August 16, 2010

This Sporting Life - August

Tipp are beginning to insinuate their way back into my affections. That Cork debacle was almost the end but I retained a vestige of interest and slowly they are winning me over anew. Wexford and Offaly were training sessions but the match against Galway, which I attended, showed an intestinal fortitude that I doubted they possessed. Then along came Waterford last Sunday all butched up from Davy Fitzgerald's midnight route marches and Spartan regime - and Tipp matched them physically and destroyed them with their superior skills. The open spaces of Croke Park suit this team. The Mahers are motoring, Lar Corbett is enjoying an Indian summer and the McGraths are bringing youth and fearlessness to the mix. Why even the notoriously inaccurate John O'Brien scored freely. Now dare we hope - of course we do.

Aren't you sick of Padraig Harrington and his endless gabbing about how he builds his season around the majors. He's only qualified for one of the four this year. He should practice silence, exile and cunning until he wins again. All the self-justifying guff is undignified. And I don't know why he's pitching for a Ryder Cup slot - in his heyday he didn't win a point in two Ryder Cups (two half points was his lot). His long game has disintegrated. And much as we admire the gloriously exuberant Rory McElroy (notwithstanding his role as a corporate shill for Jumeirah), the fatal flaw in his game was again evident as he threw away the USPGA at the weekend - hardly sinking a decent putt in his last round.

Doesn't your whole being recoil in horror at the avalanche of hype for the new football season in England. The hiatus between seasons seems especially short this year with the World Cup interlude. Do we care how many million City spend, or how Russian oligarchs affect Chelsea selections, or how furiously Ferguson chews his gum? The fact is that it's all about how much money you have to scoop up the best players. Chelsea or United will win, Arsenal will flatter to deceive, Liverpool will struggle to score, City will struggle for cohesiveness - the rest don't matter. The only thing more irrelevant is Scottish Football. The Irish scene is not discussed in polite company.

How can the English handicapper rate Harbinger superior to Sea the Stars on the basis of one, admittedly fabulous, performance in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes? Nonsense. And now of course that he's had to retire through injury a myth will be perpetrated. Sea the Stars won at all distances throughout the season culminating in a miraculous win the the Prix De L'Arc. Fie on't.

And Sharapova is back.