Irish Life

Irish Sporting Moments From The Last 10 Years That Are A Tonic To Today

Irish Sporting Moments From The Last 10 Years That Are A Tonic To Today

We're all acutely aware that the past year or so has been rough.

It's an understatement to say otherwise, so we've made it our mission to attempt to deliver some sunshine via sporting nostalgia.

With that in mind, we've taken a sporting moment from each of the last ten years that are a tonic to times like these, all thanks to our friends at Nizoral Care Scalp Tonic.

Dive into a world of sporting nostalgia that's sure to make your heart warm.

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2011

Cluxton Causes Chaos As Dubs Win It All

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton kicks the winning point in the 2011 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final. Picture credit: Brian Lawless/SPORTSFILE

Okay, we're all sick of Dublin's dominance.

They've won six All-Irelands in-a-row and nobody looks like stopping them anytime soon. But cast your mind back ten years ago, when the Dubs were amidst a 16 year drought for the Sam Maguire.

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In 2011, they faced off against a Kerry side who had won three of the previous five All-Irelands. With ten minutes left, Kerry held a four point lead, but Dublin substitute Kevin McManamon scored a goal to cut the deficit to one.

The teams eventually went level. However, as the seconds wound down, McManamon was fouled within scoring range. Step forward Stephen Cluxton, the Dubs leader and goalkeeper, to send the ball over the bar and the capital into mayhem.

2012

Katie Reigns In London

Katie Taylor, Ireland, looks up after receiving her gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Picture credit: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
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Going into the 2012 Olympics in London, anyone with a vague interest in Irish sport knew that our best medal hope came in the form of Bray's Katie Taylor.

As soon as women's boxing was announced as being introduced at these Games, we knew we had a chance at an Olympic gold in boxing which the country hadn't seen since Michael Carruth in 1992.

Taylor entered at the quarter-final stage to defeat the UK's Natasha Jonas, before defeating Tajikistan's Mavzuna Chorieva in the semi-final. With a silver medal in the bag, Taylor defeated Russia's Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in the final, making history and cementing her place as one of Ireland's greatest sportspeople.

2013

Rob Heffernan Wins Russian Ramble

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 Ireland's Robert Heffernan after winning the men's 50k walk at IAAF World Athletics Championships. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

We always imagine being good at walking is akin to being the best at breathing, that it's far more impressive to be the best at something so innate to the human condition.

So when Rob Heffernan romped home to win gold in the 50km Walk at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, our pride and admiration knew no bounds.

It makes it even sweeter that he defeated home athlete Mikhail Ryzhov, who was eventually disqualified for doping in 2015.

2014

The Athletic Avenge 53 Years Of Hurt

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Christy Fagan of St Patrick's Athletic celebrates scoring his side's second goal in FAI Ford Cup Final match between Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic. Photo by Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

Since joining the League of Ireland in the early 50s, St Patrick's Athletic became one of the most dominant sides in the Irish top-tier, winning nine league titles and being one of two sides never relegated from the Premier Division.

Despite this success, they had won just two FAI Cups, in 1959 and 1961. In the intervening period, they had experienced heartbreaking defeats in SEVEN cup finals. Pat's fans, despite the other successes they had achieved, felt cursed. There was a cup hoodoo in Inchicore.

In the 21st Century, the Saints had lost to Longford Town in 2003 and to Derry City in both 2006 and 2012. The 2014 final again pitted them against the Candystripes and revenge was on the cards.

Two goals from that season's PFAI Player of the Year Christy Fagan led Pat's to the Holy Grail for the first time in 53 years, and had Brian Kerr in tears...

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2015

Shane Long Downs The World Champions

Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, shoots past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Germany. Picture credit: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

It was a night that saw the return of the 'Lansdowne Roar' and one that won't ever be forgotten by Irish football fans.

With the chances of qualification for Euro 2016 slipping out of our grasp, Ireland needed a miracle, and World Cup winners Germany were next at the Aviva Stadium.

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The Germans applied pressure throughout, with Ireland even having to sacrifice Shay Given through injury. It was his replacement, Darren Randolph, who set up one of Ireland's finest moments.

A long ball caught the German defence unaware, as did the lightening quick Shane Long who sprung the offside trap. One touch out of his feet and teed up for a lash, the ball found its way past Manuel Neuer in the German goal. Bedlam.

2016

Brady Evokes Houghton To Beat Italians

Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland. Photo by David Maher / Sportsfile
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In a group with Belgium, Sweden and Italy, it was always going to be tough for Ireland to find their way into the knockout rounds of Euro 2016.

A 1-1 draw with Sweden to start was par for the course, but a 3-0 defeat to Belgium sent Irish fans spiralling. Next up was Italy who were already through following two wins against Belgium and Sweden. Another miracle was required.

Although aided by Italian manager Antonio Conte rotating his squad, Italy's reserves were far better than our plucky Ireland team under Martin O'Neill.

Penalty shouts and close calls permeated the game. The introduction of Wes Hoolahan, the man who scored our goal against Sweden, was the catalyst.

The former Shelbourne man missed a gilt-edged opportunity and looked to have squandered our chance at progression. Thankfully, Hoolahan didn't shy away when Ireland needed him most. He found space to deliver a pinpoint ball to Robbie Brady, who beat the Italian keeper to the ball and made it 1-0. Bedlam (again).

2017

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No Show Like A Joe Show

Joe Canning of Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It would have been utterly criminal if Joe Canning retired from the sport of hurling without an All-Ireland Senior Hurling medal to his name.

Granted, his performance in the semi-final against Tipperary was otherworldly, but this was the crowning achievement for Canning and his Galway side.

In 2017, his Galway side duked it out with a resilient Waterford side in a classic on the banks of the Royal Canal.

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Canning poured in 0-09 as Galway managed to stave off the Déise for a three point win. It was Galway's first All-Ireland Hurling title since 1988, having lost six finals between then and 2017.

2018

Sexton 83'

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland celebrates with team-mates after kicking the match winning drop goal during the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between France and Ireland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

When Ireland get tantalisingly close to a Grand Slam, you can expect a drop goal to have a huge say in whether they win or not.

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In 2009, Ronan O'Gara ensured that he made history in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a drop goal. Nine years later, with the clock in the red and 41 phases of play in the books, Johnny Sexton called game.

2019

Shane Lowry Wins The Claret Jug

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Shane Lowry of Ireland celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was hard to discern where Shane Lowry would go in his career when he won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009.

He found the going tough on both the European Tour and PGA Tour but eventually began winning, firstly at the Portugal Masters in 2012 and then at the prestigious WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2015.

He may have felt that a second place finish at the US Open in 2016 was the closest he may ever come to a Major win, but he was mistaken.

Lowry was dominant at Royal Portrush from the outset, having a tie of the lead with JB Holmes after the second round. His imperious form in the third led him to a course record 63 and a four shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood.

He fought through the challenging conditions on the final day to win his first Major, becoming the first Irish golfer since Rory McIlroy in 2014 to win one of golf's big four.

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2020

Sam Bennett Wins The Green Jersey At The 2020 Tour

Sam Bennett of Deceuninck–Quick-Step. Photo credit: photofort 77/Shutterstock.com

For a distinct part of 2020, Sam Bennett rekindled Ireland's love of cycling.

The Carrick-on-Suir rider followed in the tracks of another Carrick legend, Sean Kelly, to win the green jersey at the Tour de France following wins on stage ten and 21 during Le Tour.

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That final stage win on the Champs-Élysées will go down as one of Irish cycling's crowning achievements.

2021

Ireland Defeat England For Stander Sendoff 

CJ Stander of Ireland, centre, after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

2021 is only in its infancy, but at least we have a sporting moment to cling onto.

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In the drama surrounding Andy Farrell's Ireland during the Six Nations, a final day win over England was just the tonic for the repeated questioning of the coach.

Add to that, it was the final time we'd see CJ Stander in an Ireland jersey, who has announced his retirement from rugby just days previously.

It was emotional, we're welling up just thinking about it...

*****

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Sean Meehan

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