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‘Spidey 3’ heats up box office

first_imgFOR THE RECORD: The record the movie biz seems to care about most is biggest opening weekend – ever. If achieved, it gives a studio some serious bragging rights and countless marketing opportunities. Sony owned the record with the $114.8 million debut of 2002’s “Spider-Man” until last summer, when Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” took in a record-shattering $135 million. Sony could regain the crown with “Spider-Man 3” since the flick has opened in a record 4,252 theaters. Stay tuned. PRICEY SPIDEY: Although it could be even higher, the production budget of “Spider-Man 3” is widely reported to be in excess of $250 million, and that doesn’t even include the gazillions spent on advertising and marketing. But hey, the investment should pay off handsomely: the first two Spidey films took in a combined $1.6 billion worldwide. My prediction: Spidey will net around $140 million. (Check back next week to see if I choke on spider webs!) UNLUCKY THEM: The Eric Bana-Drew Barrymore poker drama “Lucky You” is just NOT enjoying the luck of the draw. First, its release date gets pushed back a year, and now it’s the only major wide-release to open up against Spidey this weekend. SPIDEY MARATHON: OK, who’s gonna watch “Spider-Man” at 3 a.m. or some other ungodly hour? The Arclight Hollywood thinks plenty of fans will. At midnight Thursday, the second Spidey sequel began back-to-back screenings that will run for 24 hours. An added bonus for the over-21 crowd at the midnight show: cocktails served! FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Even before its debut on U.S. soil, Spidey is slinging his web around the world after premiering in 16 foreign lands on Tuesday. Greg Hernandez, entertainment-industry reporter for the Daily News, is author of the popular blog Out In Hollywood ( http://www.insidesocal.com/outinhollywood ). greg.hernandez@dailynews.com (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And we’re off! I look at the summer movie season as a box office derby. The Oscars have been handed out, we’ve seen plenty of art-house films, so let’s roll out the big budget blockbusters for 18 straight weeks! We’ll watch them either do a big belly flop, rewrite the record books or something in between. It’s always such fun water-cooler talk (does anyone still have water coolers?), don’t you think? So many of the movies seem sure to draw droves of moviegoers to the multiplex. I think by summer’s end some fans might be forced to check into rehab to treat buttered popcorn addictions! last_img read more

Batshuayi targets World Cup from Dortmund’s ‘fab four’

first_imgBatshuayi has slotted seamlessly into Dortmund’s attack alongside Germany trio Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle which has sparked his flurry of goals.The German media has dubbed the quartet Dortmund’s ‘Fantastic Four’ and Batshuayi is relishing the limelight.“I’ve seen some talk about that online and I find it funny,” Batshuayi told Bundesliga.com.“It’s nice for all concerned, the Dortmund supporters are really pleased with us and we’re happy too.“Things like this fire our motivation to continue playing well and scoring goals.“Long may it continue.”Batshuayi has hit seven goals in nine games since joining Dortmund in January to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined Arsenal.The Belgian wants more when third-placed Borussia host mid-table Hanover 96 on Sunday after scoring five times in his first three games.He failed to hit the net in a frustrating off night three weeks ago in a 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg — which led to a change of hairstyle.“The only downside was (the draw) against Augsburg, we’re all very disappointed with how that turned out,” said Batshuayi.“It was a very tough game both for footballing reasons, we should’ve played a lot better.“I already had blond highlights, which meant my hair echoed (Dortmund’s) club colours, yellow and black.“However, since we had a bad match against Augsburg, I got rid of them completely, so now I’m back to just black hair.”Now his goal is a top four finish is the Bundesliga to see Dortmund qualify for the Champions League.Batshuayi’s loan deal expires in May and German daily Bild speculate Borussia will need to pay Chelsea 60 million euros ($74m) for him to stay.However after frustrating months on Chelsea’s bench as back-up to Alvaro Morata, Batshuayi’s goals with Dortmund has put him on the radar of Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.Batshuayi hopes to play for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup to add to his 13 appearances and five goals for ‘Les Diables Rouges’, who have drawn England in Group G.“If he keeps scoring like he is, then it’ll be tough for Martinez to leave him out,” said ex-Belgium coach Marc Wilmots.“He’s competing against Wolfsburg’s Divock Origi (on loan from Liverpool) for a place.“He has to remain free of injuries and in peak physical condition to play every three days.“He didn’t play that much at Chelsea so he needs a better rhythm, but his smile of late has really struck me.“You can see he’s taken on this challenge with great delight.“He’s done really well at Dortmund with his goals because things looked rather gloomy at Borussia when he arrived.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Two timer: Dortmund’s Michy Batshuayi scored twice for Dortmund in their win over AtalantaBERLIN, Germany, Mar 15 – Michy Batshuayi is in contention for a World Cup place with Belgium after joining Borussia Dortmund’s goal-scoring ‘fantastic four’ while on loan from Chelsea.The 24-year-old came off Dortmund’s bench to score twice — including the 94th-minute winner — in a last-gasp 3-2 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt last Sunday.last_img read more

AFC send Zapata on leave, cite security reason

first_img0Shares0000AFC Leopards head coach Zapata Rodolfo. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – AFC Leopards have sent their Argentine head coach Rodolfo Zapata on leave, citing concerns over his security following fan apathy since their SportPesa Shield semi-final loss to Sofapaka last Sunday.Ingwe Organizing Secretary Timothy Lilumbi told Capital Sport the club took the decision after growing concerns over his safety with a number of fans accosting him after the Sofapaka and Tusker matches last Wednesday. “We have not sacked the coach. What has happened is that we have sent him on leave because of the concern over his security. There was trouble in the Sofapaka match and Tusker as well on Wednesday and as a club we are concerned about him. If anything happens to him, we will be in so much trouble,” Lilumbi said.He added; “An employer can always grant an employee leave and that is what has happened. He will return to the club during pre-season for the 2019 campaign.”However, Secretary General Oscar Igaida gave a contrasting statement, saying the coach was headed to the United States on personal business, further putting into doubt whether or not the tactician will still be in charge of the team.AFC Leopards head coach Radolfo Zapata passes instructions to his players at half time during their Hull City Challenge match against Gor Mahia at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on May 1, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“Tom Juma will be in charge for the final two games of the season. The coach has been granted leave to travel to the US for some personal business and he will be back before the new season. We have not sacked him,” Igaida said in a response to Capital Sport.Efforts to reach the Argentine coach who joined Leopards in mid-season from Botswana side Gaborone United were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.Zapata took over from Dennis Kitambi who had been handed the role following the sacking of Robert Matano early in the season.On whether Zapata will still be in charge of the team in the new season, Lilumbi said; “I cannot say conclusively anything as at now. That will still pend on any recommendations the Executive Committee will have.”Zapata on Wednesday told Capital Sport that he was not ready to quit the club but added that he would only do so if the club’s top hierarchy would seem it fit for him to leave.AFC Leopards head coach Rudolf Zapata. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA“I will have a meeting with the Executive Committee to analyze the season and see what we need to do in the team and what’s better for us. If they think the coach is the problem then, it’s okay, I will go, but I think the problem is much deeper,” the tactician said.AFC’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Sofapaka in the Shield semis increased pressure on the tactician and Wednesday’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Tusker FC increased the calls for the tactician to call it quits or the club to fire him.A section of fans who had attended the Wednesday afternoon tie in Machakos publicly told the coach on his face to quit the club with a section of the club’s backroom staff coincidentally joining the call.AFC has been a notorious club known to hire and fore coaches at will and if Zapata’s term comes to an end, it will only be a chapter of the already best-selling book at AFC, anchored in firing of their tacticians.Though regarded as one of the biggest clubs in the country, the club has not won the Kenyan Premier League title in the last 20 years and continuously remain in the shadow of arch rivals Gor Mahia who just this season picked their 17th KPL diadem.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgcol01col02col05col06col07col08Full 26.2 MooAge Group ResultsSeptember 24, 2011Results By Multisports.ieFull 26.2 MooFemale 26 to 35PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1Erin Murphy12:05:44.070DNF – Time is for 13.12Kathleen Dawson184:35:24.364Third Female Overall3Sorcha NicAmhalai235:19:06.561Female 36 to 45PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1Rachel Burgess103:59:31.568Second Female OverallFemale 46 to 55PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1sharon daw63:35:36.366First Female Overall2Deborah BlackWestendorf205:06:2544Eimear Hurley13:55:12Female 56 and overPlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1Joan McGuinness194:48:10.549Male 25 and underPlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1Cillian McBrien144:17:11.967Male 26 to 35PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1Daniel Hannigan33:07:23.042First Male Overall2DECLAN DONNELLY53:35:22.460Second Male Overall3Martin JEANNIARD73:44:25.353Third Male Overall4alexandre spingor83:44:25.4525Dessie Shiels164:27:22.6696Ian Hurley204:55:39.855Male 36 to 45PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1dipak vala114:10:42.8512Gerry Hogan154:25:01.1543Steffan Fischer214:59:21.5594Karsten Hippe224:59:21.858Male 46 to 55PlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1David LaDouceur93:47:48.5622Terry Hindson3:55:30633David James174:29:53.846Male 56 and overPlaceNameOverallTimeBib Number1David Brady134:14:08.0502Thomas Stafford5.22483Liam fenelon5.47654Peter Burns5.57.34475Peter McGlynn126:43:5441MOOATHON: WHERE DID YOU COME IN FULL MARATHON? was last modified: September 26th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:MOOATHON: WHERE DID YOU COME IN FULL MARATHON?last_img read more

Chelsea flop Tiemoue Bakayoko close to AC Milan loan switch

first_img Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ IN DEMAND Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade moving on RANKED Chelsea are in talks with AC Milan over a potential loan deal for Tiemoue Bakayoko, according to reports.The Blues signed Bakayoko for £40m from Monaco last summer, but the Frenchman failed to live up to that price tag during a disappointing season. REVEALED Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Bakayoko has been poor for Chelsea And now, according to Sky Italia, he could be shipped off to Italy with Milan in advanced talks with Chelsea over a potential deal.The Serie A club want the 23-year-old on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season.Chelsea are happy to let Bakayoko leave, with the midfielder not thought to be part of Maurizio Sarri’s plans.The Blues could bolster their midfield by signing Mateo Kovacic on loan from Real Madrid as part of a deal that would see goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois move to the Bernabeu. Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer 1 Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti targets LIVING THE DREAM targets LATEST TRANSFER NEWS LATEST last_img read more


first_imgA young man has been charged with a hijacking of a car carrying the wife of Donegal’s GAA team doctor and her 10-year-old son.Bernadette Moran (37) was stopped at traffic lights in Dublin following the All-Ireland senior football championship quarter-final between Donegal and Kerry in Croke Park on August 5th.Ms Moran, who is married to Letterkenny surgeon Kevin Moran, was dragged from the car and it was driven away while her son was inside. Ms Moran managed to grab her son when the car stalled.The car was later discovered abandoned a short distance away.Yesterday, Christopher Coakley (20), of Empress Place in inner city Dublin, was charged with stealing Ms Moran’s car and with robbing her car keys at Mountjoy Square on August 5th.Garda Karl Byrne told Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court that Mr Coakley had been arrested at 12.02am yesterday and he was then charged with both offences.He said that Mr Coakley “made no reply to the charges after caution”, and he was kept in custody pending his court appearance.Garda Byrne also said there would be an objection to bail, and directions from the DPP needed to be obtained.Defence solicitor Aine Flynn said there would not be a bail application at this stage.She said Mr Coakley was “a vulnerable young person” and psychological assessments of him had been carried out previously.She asked the judge not to remand him to Cloverhill Prison but instead to St Patrick’s Institute, a detention centre in Dublin for young offenders.Judge Smyth said he would recommend that Mr Coakley was to be held there.He remanded him to appear again at the same court next Thursday.Legal aid was granted to Mr Coakley, who did not address the court.MAN CHARGED WITH HI-JACKING OF GAA TEAM DOCTOR’S CAR AFTER MATCH was last modified: September 7th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:car hi-jackedDonegal GAA team doctorKevin Moranlast_img read more


first_imgBy Ira Goldman in New York: A 4-13 to 2-8 win over Rockland Wednesday evening has extra satisfaction for Donegal NY’s Junior team as it was Rockland who beat them last month in the League Final.The Donegal lads were up 1-1 before Rockland got over the black spot and never were headed from then. Up 2-5 to 1-4 at the interval, Donegal opened the second half with the second of Greg King’s two goals of the day.A first half shot to the net by Brian Giveney and another by Paul Murrin in the second half left Rockland too much of a hill to climb. The dependable Daniel Shovlin scored 3 points and veterans Anton Diver and Kevin Lilly contributed 2 each.In all, a solid, well-played game with no controversy and good football by both teams added to the reputation of Junior B as perhaps the most entertaining division of the NY GAA.The table-topping Juniors take on Offaly on 18 June while Donegal’s Senior squad face Cavan on Sunday and Leitrim on 29 June to finish the month.  GAA NEWS: DONEGAL NEW YORK JUNIORS IN CONVINCING WIN OVER ROCKLAND was last modified: June 5th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:championshipDonegal New YorkJuniorsRocklandlast_img read more

Slow starts a concern for Trojans

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! An NFL coach watched USC’s come-from-behind victory over Arizona State on Saturday and made a quick observation about the No. 1-ranked Trojans. “The offense was in shambles in the first half,” the coach said. “LenDale White and Reggie Bush are the two best players on the team. Those two are legitimate NFL players and big-time prospects. “I don’t understand why they just didn’t focus on those two guys and that way they don’t put the defense in any strenuous situations.” Everyone knows White and Bush are two of the top tailbacks in the nation, but it took three games for USC to really take advantage of it. White, unfairly maligned by some within the USC program following the Hawaii game, showed against Arizona State that he’s possibly as talented as the more-hyped Bush. “He might be the most-talented player,” the NFL coach said. With Matt Leinart ailing, USC made a decision that could last an entire season by making White and Bush the focal point. They responded with 269 yards rushing in the second half. White assumed a smaller role at the outset of the season, perhaps because he’s more outspoken than Leinart and Bush, but just like in the Orange Bowl (when he gained 118 yards), White demonstrated his worth when given enough carries. “We proved today that we can share time and still make the plays and score,” Bush said. It also showed USC could become a run-first team instead of making Leinart the focal point. Leinart received seven stitches in his chin and admitted he felt out of sorts, although USC coach Pete Carroll said he didn’t suffer a concussion. “He wasn’t at his best,” Carroll said. “We tried a little too hard to get something going (in the first half).” Perhaps the best indication was a bootleg play Leinart ran independently in the third quarter that resulted in a six-yard loss. Asked where that play originated, Carroll said, “You can ask (Leinart). It came out of nowhere.” Meanwhile, USC’s running game set its own record Saturday. For the first time in school history, two USC tailbacks rushed for more than 100 yards in back-to-back road games. The last time two USC backs gained more than 100 yards in two straight games occurred in 1977, when Rod Connors and Dwight Ford did it against Texas Christian, followed by Ford and Charles White eclipsing 100 each against Washington State. After further research, USC determined its comeback was equaled in 2002, when the Trojans also overcame a 21-3 deficit to California. That victory and Saturday’s win over Arizona State are the biggest comebacks since the 55-24 victory over Notre Dame. last_img read more


first_imgRelay for Life, the major fund-raising initiative that celebrates those who have come through cancer and remembers those who succumbed to it, is gearing up again.There is also an emphasis n fun at the Relay for Life event.The event offers both hope and encouragement and provides a hugely significant boost in the fight against a disease that will affect one in three people in Donegal alone.Now in its fourth year, Relay for Life Donegal is staged in the grounds of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology in the month of May and has, in its short history, touched the hearts and lives of thousands. The word ‘inspirational’ sums up what the event is about – an overnight community celebration that honours current and former cancer patients along with their families and friends.Relay for Life is a team event with each team comprising of between ten to fifteen friends, co-workers, classmates and neighbours.“We’ve had up to sixty-four teams per year since we started but due to reasons of safety and comfort, we are limiting it to fifty teams in 2015,” chairperson of Relay for Life Donegal, Robert O’Connor indicated this week.Relay for Life has been a huge source of comfort to families affected by cancer.Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the 24 hour event – symbolic of the pertinent fact that cancer never sleeps. But while the shadow of the disease is there throughout, the event is also a fun one as those who have been in attendance at any of the previous three will testify with smiles on their faces. It’s an event where patrons get the opportunity to socialise, make new friends, enjoy live entertainment and take part in numerous activities over the 24 hour period. On a weekend of many highlights, one of these is the opening ceremony where cancer survivors lead the way in the first lap of the event followed by their carers.Another hugely emotional aspect is the candelight ceremony held at dusk. Here is a time to remember those lost to cancer and to show support for those living with it.Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back – that’s the key elements of Relay for Life.Over the last two years, there have been 2,092 journeys made to the chemotherapy department at Letterkenny General Hospital – that’s a reflection of the fight that goes on and is aided significantly by the proceeds raised by Relay for Life.Over 850,000 euro has been funded from Relay for Life Donegal for the Irish Cancer Society as it continues its work in attempting to eliminate cancer and improve the lives of those forced to live with it. The organisers stress that the money is spent in Donegal. “We also want to make it clear that Relay for Life is for the whole county. It takes place in Letterkenny but the teams come from all corners of Donegal,” said the chairperson.To help reflect this, Relay for Life will be launched at four different venues next week. They include the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town on Monday 19th; Sliabh Sneacht, Drumfries, Clonmany, Tuesday 20th; Ionad Teampall Chroine, Dungloe, Wednesday 21st; and the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, Thursday 22nd. The starting time for each launch is 7.30.p.m.It’s hoped that as many as possible will attend the launch nights where details will be provided on how to set up teams and film footage shown on aspects of the Relay for Life initiative.Set your clocks to 6.p.m., May 30th, and prepare for this year’s Relay. “It’s more than just an event – it’ s an experience,” insist the organisers. And what an experience. RELAY FOR LIFE TO BE LAUNCHED AT FOUR VENUES NEXT WEEK was last modified: January 16th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalRelay for Lifelast_img read more


first_imgJACK IT IN, YOUNG GREALISH – OR COMMITTalk about a bit of cynical manipulating. Jack Grealish – still not fully committed to the Republic’s cause (has he ever been?) – named under-21 Player of the Year at the ‘3’ F.A.I. International awards.The Aston Villa man has been largely sitting on the fence as regards a senior international career despite the fact that he has represented Ireland up to under-21 level. It was reported last October that he had finally opted to be included in a Martin O’Neill squad but this was subsequently denied by the player himself. Born in Birmingham, Grealish’s father hails from Dublin and he also boasts a grandparent link with Gort in County Galway. by Paddy Walsh, Donegal Top Sports ColumnistWalshyShay Given has become the latest Republic star to urge the young attacking midfielder to throw in his lot with O’Neill’s men, insisting that he would be a positive addition to the squad.But former Irish full-back, Kevin Kilbane, has a different view. Forget about Grealish if he hasn’t committed by now, he argues. Kilbane found himself in a similar position as the Villa player. He was born in Preston of Irish descent but insists that at the age of fourteen he knew which country he would be choosing if the call ever came. It did and he went on to represent the Republic on 110 occasions, travelling over to join the squad even for the most mundane of friendly matches.Such wholesale commitment wasn’t always evident on the part of some of his team-mates with mysterious injuries (not to mention grandparents passing away) occasionally emerging to rule them out of linking up with the squad in Dublin. But this wasn’t Kilbane’s way – turning out in that green shirt was all-important to him and nobody could ever have faulted him for lack of devotion to the Irish cause. Sure, young Grealish may be finding it a difficult decision given that the bulk of his childhood friends and neighbours are probably English and may be continually persuading him to commit to Roy Hodgson’s squad.But surely, deep down, there’s a gut feeling telling him what he should do. If he does decide to go for England, good luck to him, but the fact that he hasn’t committed to the Irish set-up by now is one that is worrying and here’s one football follower who believes he should be told to get with it or get out of it.Even if the F.A.I. do conjure up an award for him to persuade him that the wearing of the green is where it’s at.OUR SHAY TO RETURN The afore-mentioned Shay Given’s commitment to the jersey can never be questioned and while he did retire himself from international duties for a spell, he’s back and raring to win the nod from Martin O’Neill for the starting line-up against Poland in Sunday’s European Championship qualifier. It’s a tough decision for the management team with David Forde having excelled in the position since claiming the number one jersey. The Millwall ‘keeper will be sorely disappointed if he loses out even if he has been conceding goals as his club side struggle at the wrong end of the Championship table.The Lifford man, meanwhile, has impressed for Aston Villa in a F.A. Cup run that has brought them to the semi-finals but league outings have been as rare as hen’s teeth.Shay to start, to concede one to Robert Lewandowski & Co., but the Republic to go on and triumph by the odd goal in three.DERBY DAY Mickey Harte will be facing Donegal.The great Mickey Harte – and don’t let recent mixed fortunes for his Tyrone team fool you – brings his team to Ballybofey this weekend for what promises to be a local derby with some bite.Rory Gallagher’s Donegal came off the back off a dismally poor performance against Monaghan to edging Kerry close in Tralee. But the end result was the same – a defeat and one which leaves them loitering with intent in the bottom rungs of Division 1.They can’t afford another upset and I believe they’ll avoid one with a narrow victory over their bordering neighbours.A SATURDAY LIKE NO OTHEROur hero Johnny has been a warrior this season.So there I am, in the company of thousands of other Irish fans (though obviously not in all my sitting-room), screaming at the television screen and yelling at the French to kick the ball to touch from a penalty and promising them I’d forgive Thierry Henry if they did (listen, when you’re at desperation stakes, you’ll say anything). And then in the split of a second, I realise sure the French have nothing to play for and have every right to attempt to work the ball from their own try line and venture up the Twickenham pitch and look for another try even if the clock is in the red zone and they have no chance of winning. Can’t argue with that but it’s only when they appear to concede possession that I begin screaming again…It had all started so calmly too. Mac’s Mace on Letterkenny’s High Road on the Saturday morning and regular customer, Michael Bouchier-Hayes, asking me to call it. Ireland, I say to him.Half-time in Rome and that confidence is growing. Only 14-13 to Wales and they need a bagful. “Told you Italy would make it tough for them but you laughed at me,” Tom McGurk tells his fellow panellists on R.T.E.But by full-time the story’s turned on its head and a late, late try from the Italians is the sole consolation as Warren’s Warriors run out winners by 61-20, a hat-trick of tries from George North seemingly sending our Six Nations hopes west. “We have a chance,” insists Conor O’Shea. But not a very good one, he concedes.Hopes rise when the big man, Paulie, goes over for an early try at Murrayfield.A couple of years ago (watch out, there’s a name about to drop) I met Sean O’Brien in the foyer of the Mount Errigal Hotel (sound man) and I’m almost certain I told him to wheel off the line-out, wrong-footing his opponents and burst through for a try if he ever got the chance. And that chance came. Half-time, 20-10 to the Irish.“Promised you a cliff hanger but we’re running out of cliffs,” says McGurk. And not even one of the most famous rugby Cliffs (Morgan, the former Wales fly-half and B.B.C. commentator) to provide us with the low-down on his nation’s hopes of thwarting both Ireland and England for the Championship.But the Irish eat into the Welsh points differential and overtake it with a Sexton penalty before O’Brien stretches out a hand to ground the ball for his second score. And then Stuart Hogg appears certain to close the gap as the game enters its dying seconds only for Jamie Heaslip’s plunging tackle to force him to drop the ball in try territory. Full-time, 40-10 to Ireland.Champions again but what a nail-biter. Oh sorry, there’s another match to come. “Anything’s possible today,” says Conor O’Shea. “France could beat England or England could beat them by fifty,” Ronan O’Gara informs viewers from pitchside at Murrayfield.Just before kick-off in Twickenham, Brent Pope back in the R.T.E. studio in Dublin (and not actually in Rome where any Pope belongs) is close to smirking about the prospects of England clawing back the 26 points gap they require. “They’re going to win the Six Nations, I know that”, he confidently predicts success for Ireland.Early try for England but France recover to go 15-7 in front. “Wheels coming off the chariot”, Frank Larkin Facebooks a comment.But some running repairs and they’re back wheeling along nicely. Too nicely, Half-time: 27 to 15 in England’s favour. “You have our permission to hide behind the couch”, Tom McGurk declares. No need to tell some of us, we’re already there.“If England score first in the second half, they could push on,” Brent Pope has lost some of his earlier spark.French try, 42 minutes! English try, 46 minutes. Penalty, France, 51 minutes. England try. And so it goes on and when five minutes from time, Jack Nowell, ghosts in for another five pointer, suddenly the couch isn’t big enough to hide behind.And then that final surge, England needing six points to claim the title; France needing to keep their discipline; and Ireland needing Nigel Owens to spot an infringement – any infringement – from the home side. And he does! Nick Easter (Happy Easter) in over the top, penalty to France! YES, WE’VE DONE IT! But wait, what are they doing? They’re trying to play it out from their own line with half of England camped in front of them? Monsieur Madness.Until, finally, obviously remembering Thierry Henry, they boot it into the Twickenham stands to a crescendo of boos from the home crowd and a cartful of booze over at Murrayfield and other points besides.What a day. A day of ‘ifs’ and ‘what ifs’ when even the term drama couldn’t do it justice. And the Pope was proved – just about – infallible.SIX NATIONS MEDALS FOR DONEGAL THREELarissa in actionAnd so to Sunday and the Irish women’s team attempting to match their male counterparts with a Six Nations title. And a trio of Donegal players to help them do it.The previous evening, France had beaten England and the Irish required a 27 point gap over the Scots to clinch the Championship. Just about squeezed it, they did. 37-3 up at the interval, they continued to blitz Scotland in the second period – running in eleven tries in total to run out winners by 73-3.Hardly any edge of the seat stuff there but a hugely impressive performance albeit against a limited Scottish team who just couldn’t contain the visitors. Or women against girls, as R.T.E. commentator, Ryle Nugent neatly put it.Both Stapleton and Muldoon (hailing from Fahan and Ballybofey respectively) were in the starting line-up and as the clock ticked down, Katie Norris from Moville also saw a taste of the action from the replacements bench.Surely, a homecoming reception in order for the three of them.FINN SPARKGreat start to the season for Finn Harps but, as Ollie Horgan has warned, they had a similar positive beginning last season and look where that ended up?This time, however, the squad looks stronger and with Packie Mailey set to return to action shortly – though he may have to fight to regain his place seeing as his defensive colleagues have kept clean sheets in all three outings so far – things are looking up around Finn Park.Bottom of the table, Cobh Ramblers, travel to the venue this Friday and that should represent another trio of points for Harps.But those of us with both short and long memories know there’s always the possibility of a collapse and we’re not for getting out the maps to Premier League grounds just yet.Meanwhile, in keeping with the favour France did us at Twickenham, it’s only right we give a blast of ‘Allez Les Bleus’ every time Wilfried Tagbo touches the ball…RALLYING TO THE CAUSEA true Joule in the crown for the Donegal International Car Rally with the announcement of new sponsorship for the event. Manufacturers and designers of energy efficient hot water cylinders and solar heating systems, the company has motored in with a three-year deal that will firm up the immediate future of the event.There are some out there – maybe, more than some – who find the rally a pain and just wish it would fold up its tents (and I can recall those days when those canvas covers were dotted all around Letterkenny and surrounding areas as fans of the event geared up for the annual motorfest) and go away.But an estimated injection of 25 million euro into the local economy can hardly be turned away at any time. Not for a county that has struggled to keep pace with many parts of the country when it comes to attracting visitors.Local rallying heroes have emerged over the years including James Cullen, Rory Kennedy, Vincent Bonner and the latest top rated exponent, Declan Boyle, lending domestic pride to the event while from across the border we’ve had the likes of the late Bertie Fisher and the first ever winner of the Donegal Rally, Cahal Curley on many a starting – and finishing – podium. And from overseas we had the greats such as Ari Vantanen and Achim Warmbold burning the rubber on our roads.There have, of course, been tragedies – lives lost when two marshals were killed in 2002, when a spectator died in 2008, and when a co-driver perished after an accident on the Knockalla Stage. As much as those participants who have tasted glory at the Donegal Rally, those victims are also forever inscribed in the event’s logbook and shouldn’t be forgotten.For now, the Donegal Motor Club and the new sponsors, Joule, have injected a new dynamism into the event and that can only be good for the county with rally enthusiasts from all over marking down June 19th to 21st as a weekend away in the Hills and the tourism calendar benefiting as a result.A RIGHT SEND-OFFA top Premiership referee is at the centre of controversy after sending off the right player.Martin Atkinson brandished the red card to dismiss Steven Gerrard during Sunday’s clash at Anfield – leading to outrage among pundits. “What’s the game coming to when this sort of thing happens at this level?,”one demanded.“A referee dismissing the player who had carried out the initial foul? Just when we were so getting used to cases of players getting sent off for things they didn’t do, along comes Mr Atkinson, or is it Archibald, to throw a spanner in the works. He ought to be banned for this incredible blunder.“We can’t have the game descending into farce like this. Mr. Arkwright should be punished severely and not allowed to referee at the top level for some time. He has thrown the Premiership into repute.”PARK YOURSELVES FOR A TABLE QUIZAnd finally…name the G.A.A. club that made history by qualifying for the inter-county Feile competitions in camogie, girls football, hurling and boys football all in the one year?Got it? Okay look away now if you want to continue guessing. For those who don’t, it’s St Eunan’s who will have both the girls and boys under-14 football teams competing at a venue in South Leinster in the last week of June. Before that the Letterkenny club will be one of a number of Ulster clubs hosting camogie and hurling teams from both this country and abroad on the weekend of June 19th to 21st (if that date looks familiar, it’s because the Donegal International Rally is running over the same three days as mentioned previously in this column. Which should mean Letterkenny’s population will just about treble.Fund-raising is under way to aid the participation of the four Feile teams. And that leads to a few more questions – all of them being posed at a specially organized table quiz this Saturday night in St. Eunan’s newly revamped clubhouse. Teams of four (20 euro entry) and a starting time of 9.p.m.JACK IT IN OR COMMIT, GREALISH – IT’S WALSHY ON WEDNESDAY was last modified: March 25th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more