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Heroes And Villains Of A Notably Mental Sports Weekend

Heroes And Villains Of A Notably Mental Sports Weekend
By Gavin Cooney Updated

This weekend was the first of the truly busy sporting weekends of 2016, with the return of the Six Nations, the latest trick in this spellbinding Premier League season, and a couple of big golfing events along with the National Football League (the Irish one). Oh, and the Super Bowl was on as well.

So recount your experiences of a magnificent sporting weekend by disagreeing with our rankings of the heroes and villains of the last couple of days.


Wes Morgan

Leicester's improbable assault on the Premier League continues apace with a wonderful 3-1 win away to Manchester City. There are many heroes in this quest to aquaint the twinkle in the eye of Claudio Ranieri's eye with the gleam of the Premier League trophy.

Our Leicester hero from the weekend is centre-half Wes Morgan. Whilst his centre-back partner Robert Huth scored twice and took many of the plaudits, it is Morgan who gets our vote. The defender was released by Notts County in 2001, and signed a part-time contract with non-league Dunkirk in the Central Midland League and began to study to become an accountant.

His coach at Dunkirk secured Morgan a trial with Nottingham Forest, where he was offered a contract on the proviso he would lose weight. Morgan lost two and a half stone, and became a mainstay of the Forest team before joining Leicester in 2012. He has ascended the league with Leicester and now sits atop the Premier League, looking down on the multitudinous leagues he has grafted in.

Morgan was outstanding against City, and helped secure a win that virtually guarantees Leicester's participation in the Champions League next season.


Wes Morgan will be the burliest man in the Champions League next season. It's why we are all in this game. Magnificent.

Martin O'Neill

The infiltrating of large-scale foreign sporting events by a couple of initially ticketless Irish lads with a GAA jersey and/or a bag of cans is one of the finest displays of our native genius. At Superbowl 50 last night, this genre of cultural imperialism reached its apogee, and it needed neither of its usual formidable weapons.


Martin O'Neill ended up in the BBC studio analysing Peyton Manning during one of the game's many breaks. For Irish viewers it was the high point of an otherwise dreary contest. Whilst Roy Keane was too shy to join the Beeb, O'Neill showed no such hesitancy. Bask in the sheer random nature of it all here.

Honourable mention: Jeff Reinbold's wearing of a bow-tie on Sky Sports.

Willie Hegarty

Readers of Balls.ie should be acquainted with Wille Hegarty. In the event you are not, Hegarty is Shannonside Northern Sound's commentator for Roscommon GAA games, and is,in the opinion of this writer, a GAA icon. Roscommon beat Kerry away for the first time in their history at the weekend, and Hegarty was tasked with controlling his excitement and toning down his emotions to deliver a match report.He just about managed it.


CJ O'Stander

Stander's Irish debut was so good as to warrant the rewarding of an apostrophe. Stander was ubiquitous, carrying 23 times (more than any other Irish player) and made 40 metres, Ireland's third highest.


Away from the actual rugby part, his singing of the national anthem as gaeilge set the tone for a performance which had fans of the word 'barnstorming' triumphantly scribbling.

The South African rugby public he has left behind were suitably impressed.

Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler

Fowler and Matsuyama heroically brought the Phoenix Open to a marathon, four-hole playoff to distract us all during the first-half of the mind-numbing inevitability of Von Miller colliding with Cam Newton in San Francisco. Matsuyama made par at the fourth additional hole in Arizona to eventually finish ahead of Fowler, but both should be praised for having the decency to draw out the tournament for as long as they could.



Lewis Hamilton

In contrast to Martin O'Neill, Sky and the Beeb both wheeled out noted boring man Lewis Hamilton to act as a metaphor. A dull game on the field was compounded by Hamilton saying nothing at all, whilst wearing a silly hat. He even had the indecency to turn up late in the game, meaning that those watching him were pretty much committed to staying up until 3.30am.

Owen Farrell

Noted annoyance Farrell struck again against Scotland, needlessly shoving Greig Laidlaw over the sideline.

Philly McMahon

McMahon is a brilliant footballer, but sadly has a proclivity for being sidetracked my nonsense. Two minutes into the weekend's game against Mayo, McMahon was blackcarded for fouling Aidan O'Shea. It was his first involvement. Needless.

Jerome Garces

Garces managed to annoy supporters of both Wales and Ireland at the Aviva on Sunday. On the Irish side, Johnny Sexton was particularly displeased with Garces failing to recognise Irish choke tackles, and was lenient on the Welsh scrum. Wales were irritated at a particularly harsh penalisation of Rhys Priestland whilst barely refereeing the breakdown at all. Read more here.


The Man Who Tweeted This After Leicester Beat Man City

The above refers to the sacking of Nigel Pearson's son for some particularly staggering depravity, which accelerated the departure of Pearson himself and subsequent appointment of the wonderful Ranieri. It came as a sharp reminder that as incredible a story as the Leicester tale is, it is spearheaded by silly, fallible humans.

Added to that is the controversy of Jamie Vardy racially abusing a Japanese man and the fact Danny Simpson is currently doing community service for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

The Leicester story is largely inspiring, but like anything that involves human beings, it is contaminated with our biological failings. So fie upon this tweeter, best just to ignore these issues and preach the good story of Leicester City.

See Also: 6 Phrases That Every Rugby Bluffer Should Use In The Next Two Months

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