The sporting world has had to come to a sudden halt for the safety of both fans and athletes alike. Unfortunately with no sport left unscathed this means that Irish sport has had to come to a standstill for the time being. The postponement of the 6 nations, has affected the country, a competition that the Irish could still yet win when the competition commences. Irish International football has also taken a hit with Euro 2020 being pushed back meaning that we’ll have to wait to see the outcome of Ireland’s crucial clash with Slovakia in the play-offs. The postponement of the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo means that a number of Ireland’s top athletes will have to sit tight and wait before competing again on the world stage.
With no Irish team’s or athletes to support in the near future we’ve decided to put together a list of our favourite Irish sporting moments from recent times, so you can bask in the glory of yesteryear while waiting for your favourite sports to return.
2015: Shane Long’s strike versus Germany
With world champions Germany standing in the way of the Euro 2016 play-offs, things looked extremely bleak for the boys in green on that brisk October evening. Die Mannschaft had the lion’s share of possession, were creating chances at will and had the best goalkeeper in the world twiddling his thumbs at the other end. Somehow proceedings were still level when Shane Long entered the fray in the 65th minute and well, you know what happened next…
2015: Conor McGregor’s defeat of Jose Aldo
Conor McGregor took the UFC by storm when he exploded on to the scene in 2013, dispatching each of his opposition in ruthless fashion and amassing an army of die-hard fans across the world in the process. Although McGregor mania was at its pinnacle before facing lightweight king Jose Aldo in December 2015, not even the most staunch Conor fan could have predicted what was to happen when the two finally met in the octagon…
2016: Robbie Brady’s winner against Italy
With the clock dwindling down and Ireland bereft of any creativity for the majority of the game it looked nigh on impossible for us to come up with that winning goal to clinch our place in the last 16 of Euro 2016. Out of nowhere up steps Robbie Brady with a deft glance from Wes Holohan’s delivery in the 85th minute of the game. Like much of the country, Brady was close to tears in his post goal celebrations.
2016: Ireland defeat the All Blacks for the first time
After a 111 year wait and 29 previous attempts at a win, Ireland finally got one over on the All Blacks in 2016. The Irish came out of the traps like a bat out of hell that day in Chicago and pummelled the seemingly shell-shocked New Zealand into submission in the first half. The All Blacks, fought back like they always do but the Irish showed their resolve and held out for a historic victory. The feat would again be repeated two years later on home soil in front of a raucous Irish crowd but that first time always feels that more special.
2018: Ireland’s Grand Slam
Ireland clinched their third Grand Slam and third title in 5 years by defeating reigning champions England in their backyard in the final game of the tournament. The much coveted Triple Crown was also secured in the process after previous victories against the Scottish and the Welsh. To make it even sweeter, this was all sealed on St. Patrick’s Day, you just couldn’t write it, could you?
2018: Ireland reach the Women’s hockey World Cup final
The Irish women’s hockey team captured the hearts of the nation in 2018, historically reaching the World Cup final in London against all the odds. After opening with two victories, a defeat by the home nation in the final group game left the Irish undaunted as two penalty shoot out wins were to follow in the knockout stages, showcasing their unwavering character and bouncebackability. Unfortunately beating the Netherlands in the tournaments decider proved to be an unfeasible task but to get there in the first place was a huge win unto itself.
2018: Leinster’s double winning season
After dramatically securing the European Champion Cup at the San Mames by narrowly defeating French outfit Racing 92 in the dying moments of the game, Leinster looked to kick on two weeks later and bring home an historic European double. The Irish side came out comfortable winners, defeating their Welsh counterparts 40-32 and although the score looked close, Leinster showed that day that they were unquestionably the best side in Europe. The comprehensive victory sealed Leinster’s best ever season to date.
2019: Katie Taylor’s Unification win
Bray native Katie Taylor picked up where she left off in the amateurs and racked up a record of 12-0 before facing WBO lightweight champion of the world, Rose Volante at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Although Taylor has given the Irish public plenty of memorable moment’s over the years this may trump them all as she put on a boxing clinic, outclassing the undefeated Volante to unify the division and add the WBO title to her already lengthy list of honours.
2019: Shane Lowrys Open win
Offaly’s Shane Lowry picked up his first major win and achieved this feat on the island of Ireland by winning the 148th Open Championship in Portrush, Northern Ireland in 2019. Beating out England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Lowry became only the 5th Irishman to win the tournament. The 33rd ranked Lowry came in to the tournament at 66/1 with the bookies, meaning the Irish that backed him had more than one reason to celebrate.