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"Well, What A Year 2014 Was" - Read What Happens Next Year In Our Review Of 2014

"Well, What A Year 2014 Was" - Read What Happens Next Year In Our Review Of 2014
By Conor Neville
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Well, it's been a remarkable sporting year, truly, like all the others before it. It's been a year of ups and downs, of surprises and of continuity, we've had a dramatic and surprising World Cup, new Premiership champions, more upheaval in rugby and glory on the golf course. Here is the story of the sporting year 2014.

January 

As always the Darts got in early, with the 2014 World Champions being crowned on New Yeas Day, no less. No sooner had people murdered the final bars of 'Auld Lang Syne' than they had to sit down and watch Phil Taylor win the World Championship, a ritual which occured again this year. Taylor won the final 7-0 and then rounded on all his critics and said he 'd consider retirement again.

The BBC Darts started then with Andy 'The Boilerman' Manford, a 49 year old BNP supporter from Dartford beat Martin 'Wolfie' Adams in the final after a 36 dart battle to hit the Double One.

In the January transfer window, Fellani went back to Everton at the eleventh hour. Moyes promised a world class signing for Manchester United fans, a creative pivot, someone who could unlock defences. He eventually unveiled Craig Gardner to the world's media at 11.59, January 31.

Tweet of the month:

 @Rioferdy5 ; "I love me some darts, innit. One hundred and eeeeiiiiggghtttyyyyy. Innit #darts"

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February

The Super Bowl was held on a cold night in New Jersey. Bruno Mars cried off on the half-time show due to a family bereavement and Phil Coulter was brought in to sing a few songs.

Bell Belichick's New England Patriots failed once again on the big night losing to an amazingly resurgent Dallas Cowboys. Afterwards, Tom Brady's wife got into a fist fight with Tony Romo's wife after the game in full glare of the world's media.

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Tony Romo's wife, Candice Crawford, was attacked by an enraged Giselle Bundchen after the Super Bowl

At the Winter Olympics, Ireland almost made a breakthrough in a couple of sports. Terry McHugh's shock return to lead Ireland in the bobsleigh competition produced an immediate response as McHugh and co. led Ireland to a spectacular, but also agonising, 4th place finish.

Tweet of the month:

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 @Giselle_Bundchen : I'd like to apologise for what went on on Sunday night. Obviously there was two of us in it like but sure...

March

February and March marked the first Four Nations championship since 1939 after England abruptly pulled out of the championship at the behest of their clubs. Needless to say, the Welsh followed suit soon after. Ireland and France drew for the third year in a row and in the spirit of the days of the 1930s, the two sides shared the championship after defeating both Italy and Scotland. Italy achieved their best ever position, finishing third.

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Elsewhere, Mount Leinster Rangers won the All-Ireland club hurling championship defeating Portumna in a low-scoring final. Carlow radio commentators Brendan Hennessy and Terrence Kelly celebrated wildly, shouting "SHAME ON WEXFORD", "SHAME ON LIMERICK" and "SHAME ON GALWAY" and shame on everyone else who was alleged to have traduced Carlow hurling in a rabble rousing outburst.

Tweet of the month: (On the day of the France-Ireland clash in Paris)

 

 @Mark_PremRugby: "Can't wait to see Bath-Leeds Tykes at the Rec later. Best competition in World!! #premrugby"

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April

A historic weekend for Irish golf as Shane Lowry took home the Masters. Tiger Woods missed his fifteenth cut of the year. Rory McIlroy didn't play as he was still working through his legal action with Nike. McIlroy had sensationally broken up with Nike and had signed a new deal with Martin Ward Plant Hire.

Tweet of the month:

 @Joey7Barton: "I think it was Neitzsche who said "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."

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May

Everton sealed their first Premiership title in 27 years. The arrival of Fellaini in January was thought, by many observers, to have made the difference for the Toffees. Their triumphant manager Roberto Martinez left immediately to manage Real Madrid.

Arsenal slumped dramatically in the second half of the season but had something to cheer about on the final day when a late win in Hull secured 4th place and Champions League football for next season.

Mike Phelan steadied the ship at Old Trafford leading United to safety and it was announced he would be given the job full time for 2014/15. Tony Pulis' attempts to coax Rory Delap out of retirement came to nothing, and Crystal Palace eventually went down with a couple of games to spare.

The Champions League final in Lisbon saw a fairytale for Jose Mourinho who became the first manager to lead three different clubs to European Cups. This achievement was marred somewhat by his antics at the final whistle, as he proceeded to taunt the Real Madrid heirarchy as well as a number of their senior players. Iker Casilas, still benched, slung a pizza at the Chelsea boss in the tunnel after, but Mourinho happily turned up for an interview with Gabriel Clarke in his pizza stained suit. Clarke, however, cut him off to go to an ad break when he was about to give him the full story.

In the Heineken Cup final, Leinster threw away the bulk of possession against Saracens in the final and were punished. In a penalty ridden game, Sarries triumphed 21-19. The Saracens players were jubilant, and the fans were in euphoric mood, but, up in the stand, Chairman Nigel Wray sat stony-faced and unimpressed and left before the Cup was presented.

Tweet of the month

:

 @RioFerdy5 : "Just had a quality latte there from Costa Coffee. Needed that. #Iluvvalottalatte "

June

The opening ceremony at the World Cup in Brazil was panned by both the crowd and viewing television audience. The tournament anthem, penned by Derry songwriter Phil Coulter, was roundly booed by the crowds. Towards the end of the tortuous ceremony, Brazilian legend Pele was required to dispatch a penalty to allow the ceremony to continue. However, he walked up and shanked it horribly wide with the ball almost going for a throw in. It was generally held to be a worse penalty than the one Diana Ross took during the opening ceremony of USA 94.

England's abject failure incited a major inquest back in the UK. Two battling 0-0 draws with Italy and Uruguay were followed by a shock 2-1 defeat to Costa Rica. The Guardian argued that "it was the superior technique of foreign players", Talksport argued it was "a lack of spirit, innit", Sky Sports insisted it was "nothing to do with the way the Premiership was organised." The Sun reckoned "the referees have cost us and you can't tackle anyone anymore", while the Daily Mail argued that it was "the foreign food, more than likely poisoned by the foreigners."

The Sun's headline 'Costa Rica 2 Pineapples 1' has already entered popular folklore. Hodgson resigned after returning home from the World Cup. Harry Redknapp was immediately installed as 1/15 favourite to succeed him as manager but the job was eventually given to Alan Pardew.

There was turmoil in Argentinian ranks in the run-up to the tournament after manager Alejandra Sabella fell out with a number of their star players. The Argentinian FA wasted no time in sacking Sabella. Howard Wilkinson was parachuted in as caretaker manager for the World Cup.

Spain exited the World Cup at the hands of the Swiss in the quarter final after dominating possession in the normal time. A penalty shootout sent the normally reserved Swiss into delerium. Back in the RTE studio, Eamon Dunphy began crying when he thought about the Spanish team's legacy to football and their exit. When Darragh Moloney suggested that Spain's failure to evolve their style of play was at fault and that the Germans now led the way, Dunphy walked out.

After Germany's devastating 6-0 victory over the Dutch in the quarter final, Dunphy declared it to be "Two bad teams, Bill."

Tweet of the month:

@PiersMorgan : "England have nothing much to fear from Costa Rica"

July

Belgium's defeat in the World Cup final left all the armchair intellectuals, the Zonal Marking enthusiasts, and the ex-Klopp lovers utterly distraught and their online betting accounts decimated. It was a tragedy, they said, to compare with Johann Cryuff's Holland losing the 1974 final.

Argentina's victory was seen as a vindication of Howard Wilkinson's decision to leave their star player Leo Messi on the bench throughout.

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Darren Clarke emerged from nowhere to win his second major. He blitzed the field at Royal Liverpool to take the title from overnight leader Lee Westwood. On this occasion, Clarke promised to be monkish and show temperance in the year following his victory. He celebrated with a demure mineral water.

Jim Gavin's Dublin were dumped out of the championship in Wexford Park. Gavin blamed the loss on their short-sighted decision to win last year's All-Ireland.

 

Last year's All-Ireland final defeat had clearly scarred Mayo and they failed to beat any team by more than 10 points in the Connacht championship. Elsewhere, Cavan won Ulster for the first time in 17 years, though they were to meekly exit at the quarter final stage at the hands of Laois, and either Cork or Kerry won Munster. RTE opted not to show it.

The Leinster hurling final was the first to be contested by two teams not from Leinster. Antrim's sensational victories over Dublin and Wexford had seen them into the decider. They were the popular but Galway succeeded in taking Bob O'Keefe across the Shannon for the second time in three years.

Tweet of the month:

 

 @Pompouslad : "I can't believe the Irish electorate have put Fianna Fail as the No.1 party according to opinion polls. How quickly people forget! #vinb"

August

It was a boiling hot summer. Leeds United enjoyed their first game in the top flight for eleven years, with their mysterious Ghanian striker scoring a series of ridiculous stunners against Howard Kendall's Everton.

Manchester United were resurgent under new boss Mike Phelan, winning their first 12 games of the season. A raft of revisionist literature was peddled about how Phelan was the real power behind the throne at Old Trafford from 2006 to 2013 and that Fergie didn't want a strong personality like Phelan taking over directly after him.

The PGA Championship was won by Reg O Mara. An obese, American unknown with a chequered personal life, O'Mara worked as a trucker until last year. Only got into the tournament at the last minute after a withdrawal. He drove all the way through the night in his filthy van, with his vicious dog barking non-stop in the back. He was stopped by the cops on three occasions, twice for speeding and once for tossing back burboun while driving. He showed up 30 seconds before tee time on the Thursday and won the tournament four days later. His longest drive was 440 yards. Already a folk hero, there is a film of his life in the offing.

Tweet of the month:

 @PGA_JohnDaly: "Well done to @FatTrucker on your PGA win. Superb!"  .

September

Davy Fitz led Clare to their second All-Ireland title in a row defeating Galway by five points in the All-Ireland final. In an echo of the 1995-97 era, Clare went from being media darlings who everyone was happy to see win the All-Ireland to the most hated team in hurling. Dart boards with Davy Fitzgerald's head on them became popular commodities in all other Munster hurling counties. Tommy Conlon wrote an article in the Irish Independent bemoaning their dominance, wondering if their cruel reign would ever end.

Down danced their way to a sensational All-Ireland title after being dumped out in the First Round of the All-Ireland championship by Cavan. Kerry's famine, which has seen them fail to bring back Sam since 2009 continues into another year. Down ended up triumphing on a scoreline of 3-11 to 1-14.

Europe won the Ryder Cup at a canter in Gleneagles in Scotland. Paul McGinley proved himself as adept at being driven around a golf course on the back of a buggy, while furrowing his brow and talking on a walkie talkie as all of his predecessors had been. Tom Watson appeared to do all the same things as McGinley, but without the same results. The Americans were hit by the fact that both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were sick, with both presenting scribbled doctor's notes to Watson on the eve of the tournament.

  Tweet of the month:

 @montgomeriefdn: "Congratulations to Paul McGinley on succeeding in the toughest job in sport. I know he learnt a lot from 4 years ago #celticmanor

October

After a miserable draw away in Nicosia, the Irish management team sundered. Roy Keane launched a furious blast at several of his players and announced that he'd had enough. Learning from what went on in Saipan, the FAI sent a representative from the Irish Guide Dogs For the Blind to talk to Roy.

The Guide Dogs person went in and said, "C'mon Roy, Stop this nonsense." Keane immediately agreed to return to the fold. The following Tuesday, Ireland defeated France 2-1 in a famous game in the Aviva.

Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

There was drama galore, and not just on the pitch, as the League of Ireland reached a thrilling denouement. St. Pat's thought they had finished 4th in the table but a 40 point deduction due to player registration complications saw them get relegated.

Roddy Collins led Derry City to a spectacular League and Cup double after his side held firm in the run-in. He promptly left the club the Tuesday after lifting the Cup. It is understood he has agreed a deal with Avondale United for the 2015 season.

Shamrock Rovers ended the season in turmoil after the surprise decision of South Dublin County Council to sell Tallaght Stadium, a move which led to major protests and mob violence. Provisionally, the Hoops are set to play at Tolka Park next season.

Tweet of the month:

 @HoopsFC: March on Dublin City Council. #KeepRoversAtTallaght #KRAT

November

The November tests saw Ireland line up against Australia, South Africa and Fiji. Despite dominating the Boks, Ireland ended up losing a scratchy encounter after Wayne Barnes gifted the South Africans a controversial late penalty to win the game. Ireland's current record in games Barnes has reffed now reads played nine, won one, lost eight.

Ireland also played well against Australia, eventually losing a free scoring classic 28-26. But they gained sweet revenge on Georgia. After only beating them 14-10 in 2007, Ireland destroyed them 75-0 in the Aviva Stadium this time around.

Tweet of the month:

 

      @StephenJones : "@Tom_O'Shea You're bald and you only have 18 followers. Blocked."

December

The authors of the song 'Chase the Sun' withdrew permission from the PDC for the use of the song. After much discussion, Phil Coulter was drafted in to write a replacement.

After a deliberately orchestrated campaign, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2014 went to ex-Tyrone footballer Ryan McMenamin. And Jackie Fullerton was powerless to stop it.

Interestingly, this came a few days after Channel 4's competition to find the '100 Greatest Songs In World Ever' was won by the Wolfe Tones for their song 'Come out you Black and Tans.'

The last acts of the sporting year 2014 were the semi-finals of the 2015 PDC World Darts championship.

The final is on tonight.

Tweet of the month:

 @TeamJKCorden : It just isn't darts anymore without the Darts song. Phil Coulter can take a running jump #boycottallypally

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