Keeping busy…

It’s well over a year since my last blog post here which probably makes this whole site a bit redundant right now. 

When I get time again I will try and keep it updated a bit more regularly, but my new role as Political Editor of TheJournal.ie has me occupied most of my working day (as well as my non-working days!) 

If you want to keep in touch with what I am up to then my Twitter and my own article page on TheJournal.ie are the best way. I’m also running an increasingly active YouTube page

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Suarez, Republican battles and tweet fail MPs: what I’ve been writing about lately

New Year and some old resolution about promising to update this blog more.

In reality that probably won’t happen and the reason it hasn’t been updated since, woah, September is due largely to my full-time employment with TheJournal.ie – a happy outcome in this strange and still relatively new post-university life that has seen me relocated to Dublin, but still partially pining for Liverpool.

Still, it’s not as if I am missing out on the big news from there, namely the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row as I am diplomatically calling it. I’ve written a couple of pieces about it for Dale Street Associates, the Liverpool Echo/Daily Post blog, which I try to contribute to on a regular basis.

I wrote in the aftermath of the FA’s original announcement of Suarez’s eight-game ban and also the subsequent fall out from the publication of the now infamous 115 page document detailing the reasons behind the ban, a piece which also appeared on JMU Journalism.

I’m also keeping a close eye on matters in the United States where Republican candidates are slugging it out in the battle to be their party’s nominee to face Barack Obama in the presidential election this autumn. It’s all pretty unsavoury but I reckon it’s the ultra-robot Romney who has it in the bag and I explained why in this piece for TheJournal.ie.

On Friday, I also reported on Diane Abbott’s unfortunate tangle with Twitter…And you can keep up to date on all of my work with TheJournal.ie here.

As for 2012, well I will endeavour to update this blog a bit more but can’t promise anything. I am aiming to run a marathon again in 2012, perhaps I can keep you up to date on my training but since I haven’t begun that yet, there is nothing to report.

Happy New Year!

Finishing the Liverpool Marathon, October 2011 (Picture: Vegard Grott)

Making sense of ‘Le Hand of Henry’

A lot said, a lot written but in the end nothing done. No replay, no hope, the Irish nation, and those of us who have moved away, mourn one of the greatest injustices in the history of football.

And how galling to have perhaps the best player to ever play for the country telling us to get over ourselves. Easy for you to say Roy Keane as you earn a comfortable wage for guiding Ipswich to relegation while the millions back home struggle to cope in the worst economic crisis in the history of the republic.

Qualification on Wednesday would have been a boost for a whole football mad nation. Who knows what the knock on effects of reaching the World Cup might have been for the people, for the economy for the future of our struggling nation.

Instead we were robbed at the hands of Thierry Henry’s will to cheat, the incompetence of a referee and linesman and the corruptness of FIFA.

How surprised are we to see no mention of the dubious handball on FIFA’s website and the utter silence of the most powerful man in football, Sepp Blatter who decreed that the World Cup play offs would be seeded just weeks before the draw, an illegal move if ever I saw one.

Now I must admit to being a little embarrassed to see FAI chief executive John Delaney plead for a replay on the basis of some precedent set in some obscure Asian qualifier a few years ago.

A replay was never going to happen but then we are all a bit desperate for something to cling to and the emotion of it all is raw.

But Delaney did make one good point in that this wasn’t a league or group game whereby the situation could have been redressed. This was a one off situation, a winner takes all scenario.

Ireland will not get chance to redress what happened on Wednesday. Instead they’ll spend next summer watching the greatest show on earth on TV.

And I doubt any Irish people, I know I won’t, will take pleasure in watching the World Cup next year, knowing it should have been us and not the French that are competing in South Africa.

Even the French themselves are embarrassed by it all. It is the great shame of a great footballing nation, world champions just over a decade ago, that they have cheated their way to the finals with the help of one of their greatest ever players.

And what gall for him to come out and call for a replay not long after FIFA and his own football association absolutely ruled out the possibility. A cynical PR move from a player once respected throughout the world but who will now be remembered as much for as his talent as for his will to win at all costs, even if it means cheating, handling the ball not once, but twice.

Surely this is a landmark moment in football. The calls for video evidence, extra officials, or something to cut this out are deafening and must be acceded too.

A system whereby a referee can stop the game a limited number of times to look at a 20-30 second play back on a controversial incident might work.

Failure to implement something that will prevent or at least lessen the chances of incidents like Wednesday’s happening again will only tarnish the game further and make a lot of people, me included, lose  faith in a sport that is increasingly allowing cheats to prevail.