The Top 30 Most Memorable Sporting Moments Of 2013 (30 - 21)

The Top 30 Most Memorable Sporting Moments Of 2013 (30 - 21)
By Balls Team
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30. Manti Te'o's fake dead girlfriend

Back in January, one of the most bizarre stories of the year broke when Deadspin alleged that one of the most heartbreaking stories of 2012 was in fact a hoax.

In September of last year, Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o, said that both his grandmother and girlfriend had died on the same day. The grandmother part was true but it turned out that his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, did not even exist.

Te'o had never actually met Kekua, who he believed to be a student at Stanford University. Instead the relationship was maintained online and over the phone. It turned out that the voice Te'o believed to be that of Kekua was that of a male acquaintance of his, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

29. Last second madness in the Iron Bowl

It’s never nice to lose a game in the last-minute but the Iron Bowl represents one of the biggest and nastiest rivalries in college football, and 2013’s encounter served up the greatest finish to a game this year. With the game level, unbeaten Alabama Crimson Tide had a last second field goal to win that dropped short and was returned 109 yards for the Auburn Tigers to win in the most ‘what the fucking fuck?!’ way. What is better than beating your mortal enemy in the most soul-destroying way possible in the last second of the biggest game of the year? The Disney style finale was completed by the crowd flooding on to the field, undoubtedly chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A”.


28. George North carrying Isreal Folau

One of the most unforgettable images of this summer's Lions tour was that of George North carrying Israel Folau (all 16st 7lbs of him) around like a roll of carpet in the second test in Melbourne.


Folau attempted to tackle North but the Welshman simply picked up the Aussie winger and drove him back, while simultaneously holding the ball.


27. Tony McCoy getting to 4,000 winners

4,000 winners. Just take a minute to think about that number. It's astonishing really.

That's the milestone which Tony McCoy reached on November 7th when he rode Mountain Tunes in the 3.10 at Towcester.

The first win of his career came way back in 1992 when he was just seventeen. Twenty-one years later he reached this unprecedented number.


26. Stephanie Roche's 2.3 million YouTube view goal for Peamount United

You won't find a better goal this year than Stephanie Roche's effort for Peamount United. I can't remember many like it in my life time actually.

Now we'll be the first to admit that we sometimes lose the arse over moments in Irish sport but we've got evidence from further afield that attests to the brilliance of Roche's goal. Eurosport called it a 'goal of the decade contender' while Olytico noted that her name had been mentioned in 3.857 tweets in 72 hours.


Not half bad. Not half bad at all.

25. Eden Hazard kicks a Swansea ballboy

Ballboys' normal interaction with professional footballers tends to be of the most cursory, business-like variety. The ball goes out of play and the ballboys' job is to lob the ball back to the stressed footballer with enough alacrity as possible. Not so Swansea and English football's most famous ballboy, 17-year-old Charlie Morgan (absurdly old for a ballboy). Morgan appeared to feel his job was to prevent Chelsea players getting the ball back as part of an overall Swansea City strategy.


Late on, with Chelsea needing a goal, the ball dribbled out of play and Hazard went to collect. Morgan threw himself on the ball and lay on it for a few seconds. Hazard did what any frustrated footballer would do, trying to drag the ball away. Annoyed, he decided to toe poke the ball from underneath the boy's body. Cue mayhem. The ballboy clutched his body while wincing, Hazard was sent off, and there were mutters of police charges. Meanwhile, anyone with even a jot of common sense sided with Hazard over the whole incident.

24. Dan Martin winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege

2013 was the year cycling returned to the Irish sporting mainstream. Martyn Irvine became a world track champion in February and Nicolas Roche finally delivered on his promise with a superb Vuelta A Espana in late August. In between Dan Martin became a superstar.


In March Dan had his biggest stage race win to date when he clinched the Volta Catalunya and of course he delighted everybody by winning stage 9 of the Tour de France for the first Irish tour stage win since Stephen Roche in 1991.

However the highlight of Martin’s year was his dramatic win in the Grand Monument of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Not only was it Irish cycling’s biggest moment in over 20 years, it gave us the cycling image of the year with Dan being chased by a giant Panda as he made that last incredible burst for the line

23. Munster beating Harlquins in the Heineken Cup quarter-final

Just a week after shipping fifty points to Glasgow in the Pro12, Munster defied the odds in April to beat Harlequins in the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup.

They went into the break 9-6 down, but a huge second half performance (that featured this tackle from James Downey) lifted them to an 18-12 win with Ronan O'Gara kicking all the points.

Paul O'Connell's performance was maniacal and shifted him from having an outside chance of making the Lions squad to being a shoe-in. Watch out for his emotional post-game interview towards the end of the above clip.

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
22. London making the Connacht final

The boys of 1901 can almost be put to rest now. London's All-Ireland hurling victory of that year has obviously been subject to numerous tributes and ballads from Londoners. But the men of 2013 can now take that limelight. First, they took on a fragile Sligo side in Ruislip. They were never going to be far away but London have been here before and come up short. In a tight finish, they secured a famous 1-12 to 0-14 win, their first scalp in the Connacht championship since 1977.

Then came their traditional nemesis, Leitrim, a team they have taken to extra time on numerous occasions. After a draw in Ruislip, we witnessed a rollercoaster of a game in Hyde Park, with London going an incredible 2-10 to 0-2 ahead. Leitrim mounted an extraordinary comeback but the Paul Coggins' men held on by a point.

There followed numerous campaigns to get the Queen and Boris Johnson over to Castlebar for the final. The Mayor of London did send out a message saying “Regardless of the result against Mayo, London can be proud of their mightily impressive achievements this year. They travel to Castlebar on their momentous quest for victory with best wishes from me and all London fans. “Go London!”. Of course, Johnson failed to mention that he had been calling for Coggins' head only weeks before.


21. Conor McGregor beats Max Holloway

Whether or not you’re a fan of Conor McGregor’s sharp tongue and out of ring antics, no one can deny his explosion onto the UFC against Max Holloway in Boston, was one of the sporting moments of the year. The amount of hype behind the fight has never been seen in UFC for a debutante on U.S soil.

The entrance alone could have gone down as a top moment, with McGregor receiving the blackout treatment to the spine chilling sound of ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ by Sinead O’ Connor. Only to be followed by the ever familiar beat of ‘Shipping Off To Boston’.

Although McGregor didn’t get the knockout, he made light work of Holloway, winning by unanimous decision, made all the more impressive by the fact that he tore his ACL in the second round. The hype monster has most definitely put Ireland on the UFC map, and no doubt he’ll be challenging for a spot in 2014’s list.
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