Given the number of headlines sent to print and the variety of plaudits doled out for Ireland’s performances in November, it has been telling that very few of those made a hero of Devin Toner, one of only two Irish players to have gone the full 80 minutes in the three games against Southern Hemisphere opposition. Continue reading
A comment I saw recently that I really liked was “We still obsess about ‘ball carriers’ instead of ‘ball players'”. This back row selection paled by comparison with the original 2011 selection of O’Brien, Heaslip, Ferris, Leamy and David Wallace (who of course missed out through injury). They didn’t lack for effort but couldn’t bring the same impact as that quintet in their pomp. Continue reading
Amidst no small dollop of carping and moaning about what a pain in the arse it was, we mentioned at the end of the last Ruck Marks article that we’d try and run a similar exercise using Ireland’s November tests as our subjects. We surprised ourselves by actually carrying this through [just like we carried through our tag index … all the way up to ‘D’] with a Boxeresque appetite for dumb labour. Continue reading
One of the opinions that has surprised the Mole during the season to date is that Peter O’Mahony isn’t a number 8. It’s not universal but it’s quite widespread and runs contradictory to my own beliefs. Continue reading
What looks like having been the sole dog day of the summer fell a month to the day after Ireland’s dismal 60-0 drubbing. Continue reading
How do I love Off The Ball? Let me count the ways: a lot.
It really is a highwater mark for Irish sports broadcasting, a one-program golden age. As a man who turns off an awful lot of radio programming in double-quick time, Off The Ball is the one regular transmission which not only escapes the cull, but is [occasionally] actively sought out on the morning after. Continue reading
Munster’s preparations for their key back-to-back matches with the Llanelli Scarlets in the Heineken Cup were staggered by an unexpected loss to the Ospreys.
The thing about the record books is that they don’t draw a picture – they just record the score. In that light, a bonus-point loss to the second-placed team in the league away from home isn’t a bad result. In any other light, it was a terrible result. Continue reading
The Mole isn’t the most quarter-backly of operators [his best work brings to mind the Simpsons daytime movie, ‘Leper in the Backfield’], but he can certainly recognize a media blitz when he sees one lined up on the other side of the press’ line of scrimmage. Continue reading
Munster repulsed a spirited comeback from the Dragons at Musgrave Park and pulled a losing bonus point away from the reach of their visitors with a late Ian Keatley penalty kick. Continue reading