We Pick Our 7 Favourite Posts In Balls.ie History

We Pick Our 7 Favourite Posts In Balls.ie History
By Mark Farrelly
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This week we've been celebrating Balls' fifth birthday and looking forward to the launch of our new design and new entertainment site next Monday. We've already featured the most popular posts of all time in terms of traffic but today we've decided to choose our own favourites from the past five years.

Various members of the Balls team were asked to put forward a post they hadn't written themselves that they thoroughly enjoyed. Funnily enough there's not one mention of Conor McGregor or Roy Keane.

Hope you enjoy them too.

That time we tried to win the World Cup with Ireland on FIFA

To all followers of the ballsdotie Snapchat, the early summer of 2014 will always be tinged with glory and regret. Truly, these were the best days of our lives.

Thanks to the governing body’s dogmatic insistence that fourth place finishers in European qualification groups be excluded, Ireland were absent from the ‘official’ FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

However, the populace here were too consumed with the drama on Snapchat to notice. With a reinstated Giovanni Trapattoni and Jonathan Walters in the form of his life, Ireland got further than any of us imagined. The public began to dream

The tears were pissing out of my eyes at the end.


Conor Neville

The Complete Story Of How Dublin Almost Got A Premier League Team

This is a real 'do you remember that?' story. A 'god that nearly happened, didn't it?' story. An occurrence you recall fragments of in the pub. Something you feel that you might have imagined.


In the 90s Dublin came close to getting its own Premier League team. It was nearly English football's own version of the NFL and the Baltimore Colts.

It's a tale of dodgy rezoning of land, fan protests on both sides of the water and Eamon Dunphy.

Some time in 1994, Joe Kinnear picked up the phone and called Eamon Dunphy. Wimbledon had just finished in the absurdly high spot of sixth in the Premier League. This was not a position reserved for teams with no ground and a tiny fanbase.

Dunphy and Kinnear were old friends from their days playing together for the Republic of Ireland side during the late 60s and early 70s, a period when Ireland barely won a match.

Despite possessing an accent that made him sound like a minor Only Fools and Horses character, Kinnear was in fact born in Dublin. This was something which was widely known and referred to in those days, much more so than it is now.

Kinnear told Dunphy that Wimbledon’s tennis loving Lebanese chairman Sam Hammam, invariably described as ‘colourful’ in newspaper reports, was looking to sell the club.

Then came a highly unorthodox suggestion. Would Dunphy be interested in helping the club upsticks and move the whole operation to Dublin?

Read the rest here.

PJ Browne


Sergio Busquets' Dog

This post won't be winning a Pulitzer Prize but it certainly had a profound effect on yours truly when I stumbled upon it three and a half years ago.

It's simply a gif of a dog falling over, with the entire copy consisting off 'Book him ref.' Nowadays it's a run of the mill joke you'd see tweeted ten times a day but back then, it presented Balls as something completely different to other media outlets on the web. I remember thinking two things:

1. How on earth did the writer come up with this nonsense? And...


2. I have to work there.

Mark Farrelly

25 Steps To Becoming a Football Hipster

The early Balls.ie tagline proclaimed it was a website for “sporting ridicule”. The best examples of that aren’t poking fun at sports, or sport stars, but rather sports fans. Some of us take sports way too seriously and we often need to be taken down a peg or two. There isn’t a better example of this on balls than Paul Ring’s '25 Steps To Becoming A Football Hipster.' The guide isn’t suggesting you can’t be serious about football. It’s merely stating that if you’re trying to portray yourself as being serious about football ALL THE TIME, we’ve every right to poke fun at you.


Where else would you read advice such as “Rename you cat Klopp”? The word "hipster" is used far too often. It meant a helluva lot more back when this was posted in February 2013.

20. Play FIFA 13 using the Brendan Rodgers possession game.

21 Pay a fortune for a Norwegian satellite feed to follow the progress of Molde.

22. Set up an African Cup of Nations twitter list for the duration of the tournament.

23. Wake up every morning and remember the great Yugoslav team that never was.

Read the full thing here.

John Dodge

The Premier League In 2021 According To Football Manager 2015

Deciding between this and The 2024 Ireland Team According To Football Manager 2015 was actually a very tough call, but in the end, a few key factors made this one stand out.

Both are an insight into what lies ahead in the sport of football, something I have been fascinated about since I can remember, and while Football Manager absolutely isn't capable of accurately predicting what the changing face of football will look like in 2021, the hilariously odd suggestions this simulation offered up were classic FM in the purest form, in the way that Tonton Zola Moukoko is still talked about as one of the greatest players of all time.

I fell in love with this post when it made me believe that we are heading to a future where:

  • Glenn Whelan is an assistant manager at Real Salt Lake.
  • Shane Long is playing with Elche C.F. Sad.
  • Wayne Rooney is at Inverness CT and will go on to manage Swindon Town.

And I can honestly say that is a World that I want to live in.

Read the whole thing here.

Mikey Traynor

12 Photos Of Robbie Henshaw Doing Miscellaneous Things

You may say I'm only picking this because it's fresh in the memory and you'd be absolutely correct. My memory of the stuff we do is, understandably, horrific. However, don't let that get in the way of a truly momentous 'article'.

It captured the imagination of the country. The king was dead (retired), long live the king and all that. Sure, we were on our way to winning the Six Nations but it didn't seem right to be doing it without O'Driscoll.

Yes, we had O'Connell but we needed someone pretty to go along with his rugged handsomeness. Someone whose features didn't look like they were, albeit superbly, carved from marble with a pick-axe. Let's be honest, we needed someone for the Leinster crowd to love.

Step forward Robbie Henshaw. Your mother would step over your corpse if it meant being able to mammy him. Look at that face.

Robbie Henshaw Doing Miscellaneous things captured the mood of a recovering nation. We were ready to shed the shackles of the past and step forward into a new light, both economically and sportingly.

This was what the country needed.

See them all here.

Gary Reilly

The Republic of Ireland Team To Play In World Cup 2022

Way back in June 2013, our resident LOI writer John Dodge set about gazing into a crystal ball and coming up with the Ireland team that would take to the desert heat of Qatar 2022. The result is a splendid slice of mischief which sees Richard Dunne lead a coup against John Delaney and James McClean become a UN peace envoy.

A special mention to Barry Downes too for his portrayal of Dunne as Ireland manager, complete with hipster glasses.

Read more about the team here.

Paul Ring

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