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These Are The Irish Sporting Bandwagons We Will Be Climbing Aboard In 2016

These Are The Irish Sporting Bandwagons We Will Be Climbing Aboard In 2016
By Balls Team
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last update Monday 22 February

2016 is bound to be a massive year for Irish sport - the Euros, the Olympics, Ireland vs the All Blacks in Soldier Field - but no doubt there'll be a few unexpected sporting bandwagons we'll all be clamouring aboard. We've gazed deep into our crystal ball to discover which unusual Irish sports bandwagons we'll all be jumping on next year.


Sure we haven't had a diver in the Olympics in 68, and ok, Oliver Dingley tried to qualify for the London Olympics for Team GB but he's ours now and we'll all be somersaulting along with Oliver Dingley this summer in Rio.


The Irish Form XV at the moment is largely the Connacht team. Thanks to the attritional nature of the World Cup, Ireland are only left with one good province and they play in Galway. Connacht had always been something of the hipster's choice but their inspiring win over Munster Saturday pushed them into the mainstream. 2016 will be - seriously - all about their Challenge Cup campaign and their effort to win the Pro 12 finish ahead of one of the three Irish provinces and qualify automatically for the Champions Cup. Time to learn your Matt Healy's from your Aly Muldowney's.



Richie Towell For The Euro Squad


The Richie Towell bandwagon is already starting to roll and it has all the makings of a perfect storm. So many of the essential points of a fascinating Irish football story converge in Towell. There is the 'League of Ireland players proving it in the English big time' narrative. There is the 'Ireland thirsting for creative midfielders who can let the beautiful soul of Irish football speak' narrative. There is the 'Ireland leaving home brilliant players for international tournaments' narrative (see Coleman, Seamus Euro 2012). When Towell scores that first Brighton goal and helps drive them towards automatic Premier League promotion, the roars to include him in the Euro 2016 squad will be deafening.

Northern Ireland


Amid the euphoria around Ireland's qualification for the Euros, people have ignored the fact that we also have a second team to support: Wales Northern Ireland. In fact, there's a decent chance we'll go out in the group stages and Michael O'Neill's hard-working, difficult-to-break-down side will be the only team worth supporting. And how happy will they be to have our support!


Joe Ward

One of the great hard luck stories of Irish sport in recent years, Joe Ward is due to have a big year. His silver medal at the World's was proof that Ward could achieve on the biggest stage and we expect he could challenge for gold in Rio. And there's no doubt he'll receive the full backing of the Irish sporting public. Having missed a trick supporting one Traveller heavyweight champion, don't expect Ireland to get caught out again.



Stephanie Meadow And Leona Maguire

No doubt Rory McIlroy will generate boatloads of hype when he represents Ireland at the Olympics but our best medal hope in golf may actually be in the women's event where Antrim's Stephanie Meadow and Cavan's Leona Maguire could represent Ireland. Maguire is the number one ranked amateur golfer in the world right now while Meadow finished 3rd at the US Open in 2014. Best of all, both have one of those hybrid Ulster-Southern US accents that Graeme McDowell has popularised.



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