The Fiona MacCarthy

The Fiona MacCarthy

What pleases and annoys

Instinctive, impulsive, and logical but always passionate and reflective of what I feel here and now.

Individual blogs are in most recent, first sequence and are also grouped in various "categories" which are just to the right & down a bit should you prefer to search that way. Please feel free to add a comment.

Blog restarted November 2017

Racism in Sport

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, June 10, 2012 09:54:33
It is wrong that we are walking into a sporting competition where the rules have not been clearly defined.

I am not talking about the rules of the game and in this case the Euro football being played in Ukraine and Poland. It is naive to pretend that these are problems of the East and English footballers have been exposed to monkey chants in Spain. The state of play in England has improved helped by such organisations as Show Racism the Red Card.

I am concerned that the outcome of games may be determined by the antics of a relatively small bunch of bigots. Players should not be personally abused on account of their skin colour and neither on their sexual orientation or religion. The game is about the skills and abilities of 22 players and the direction of a ball vis a vis 2 sets of nets. It is the game that binds the planet more than any other on this planet.

I would like to hear more from the organisers as to what will happen in what circumstances. In particular there should be clarity on guidance for referees and match officials. Finally, attendees at the games should be clear on what behaviour will be accepted and what will not.

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Grand Murder

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, April 15, 2012 10:51:50

Last year at Aintree's Grand National 2 horses died followed by promises to improve. Yesterday 2 horses died (a total of 3 over the various days) as BBC reported followed by more yet more wordy promises.

A total of 26 deaths at Aintree in 6 years as reported by Horse Death Watch Its unacceptable that an animal much loved by men and women is subject to such treatment in the pursuit of pleasure. Another statistic of concern is that only 15 from 40 finished.

Aintree is the equivalent as Spanish bullfighting-- okay not as murderous but it should be made safer.

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Grand thoughts

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, April 10, 2011 10:22:23

Its a national institution some say whilst others say its too cruel.

Yesterday was the Grand National which is probably the most demanding race of the UK racing calendar in terms of length and difficulty of fences; a most demanding challenge for jockey and horse. Yesterday was also the warmest day for many months increasing the challenge. Its also very popular across all spectrums (read social class) of society.

A couple of horses who fell and died were described as "obstacles" by the BBC whilst this morning a jockey from the 3 days of race jumping is in a coma. And the winning jockey has been reprimanded for excessive use of his whip. These incidents tarnish the image of this race and badly so. Its a 3 days event and over the past 10 years an average of 1 horse per day has died. That is an unacceptable statistic.

I think that the course should be made less difficult so that death and injury become rare at worst. Along the spectrum of endurance there are courses that are "too easy" and others that would be impossible. A judgement call is made now as to what is acceptable but in my view that point is too far along the length of the spectrum and is into the danger zone. Hold back a bit and try to avoid any killing.

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Irish Rugby

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, March 20, 2011 01:08:41

Based on their 4 previous games I had expected Ireland to be defeated by a strong, disciplined and powerful England in todays game in Dublin.

I was completely wrong as a tough, focused and determined Ireland took control of the game from the beginning, depriving England of possession and territory but more importantly sapping their confidence at every opportunity.

Maybe England came expecting to easily collect a trophy as winner of all and Triple Crown too. Maybe it was their inexperience as a team but it was one beautiful game to watch if neutral and better if Irish.

The final result of the Championship was England tops with 4 wins from 5, followed by France (beaten by Italy and England), Wales and Ireland with 3 wins each and differentiated on points then Scotland, and Italy last but not least because of that result against France.

Liked this report in the Telegraph

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5+1=6 Super Italy

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, March 13, 2011 10:41:17

And so it came to be.

The 6 nations rugby competition grew from the Celts+ England to include France and later with much head shaking to include the Italians better known for their footballing (soccer to some) skills. For years the Italians have been knocking on the door looking for a big scalp to jstify their inclusion rather than ensuring every country played every week, and yesterday they conquered France. It was far from a great game but it was a great victory.

Curious how early in the game the expert commentators were speculating as to how long their bought in from South Africa rugby player and manager Nic Mallett was going to survive. Maybe he was inspired by their doubts but I think he knew all along that in sport like life, you frequently have to keep trying and trying. Easy victories are the exception, hard won the norm.

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thats cricket?

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Thu, March 03, 2011 17:20:53
Fiona is searching her contact list to find English friends with good sense of humour (but all my true friends do) wishing and willing to explain the recent performance of the national team against Ireland.

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6 nations rugby

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, February 06, 2011 10:45:25

And so another wonderful competitive season of gutsy matches commenced this weekend.

My interest is in that team from the Emerald isle who frequently play above themselves against countries with greater numbers and depth of talent to draw upon. I like the game for the range of individual skills moulded into a team, its ethos and toughness, for its moments of frustration, brilliance and does he not realise we saw him do that. Its also one of those rare sports where all of Ireland play united on an international stage. Sport over politics is beautiful.

But yesterday we played Italy who have the same attitude to the other 5 countries and we did not play consistently well, to be polite. A half time pep talk was more invigorating than most energy drinks but this is an 80 minute plus a few too, game where consistency is rewarded and punishment for lapses of concentration is merciless. At the end we were saved by the drop goal kicking of O'Gara who is to Ireland what Jonny Wilkinson has been to England but better me thinks to be fair!!.

The first round of games (and not just the Irish) were impacted by nerves, and injuries (plenty of these across all countries) and I would be expecting (fingers crossed) better next weekend when we get to play France at home.

My assessment of the competition results for 7/8 weeks time based on this first round is France to win, followed by England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Updated 27th Feb.

England beat France in a well deserved victory, Wales have beaten Scotland who in turn do battle with Ireland today. My predictions were clearly rubbish although maybe I got the placing for Italy right.

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FIFa and Wold Cup

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, December 05, 2010 11:18:29

There has been much soul searching here in the UK following the loss of the 2018 bid to host the World Cup.

Naivety of the politics of FIFA, BBC Panorma allegations of corruption and maybe even a spot of pitch invasion the night before are all offered as reasons why we lost.

Missing from the discussion is an appreciation of the fact that FIFA want to develop the game worldwide and finding a host in Africa ie South Africa was an important demonstration of this reality. South America and Brazil in 2014 also reflects this worldwide push. So why take the competition to the UK where the game already achieves saturation coverage.

Russia with its multiple time zones from East Asia to East Europe is a natural potential good host. Of course there are problems with Russia but the potential gains from being required to be a hospitable host will compel it to tackle these problems.

Qatar is funny one at first thought. No Arab country has ever hosted this competition and how it treats Israel as possible competitor will compel it to be more diplomatic. Of the Arab world it is the best of an awkward bunch. This is a bold political move and opens the way for China in 2022 and possibly even India. The Western world should waken up and realise there is more to this game than the developed Western world.

I have no doubt that corruption influenced the decision but to think that it is corruption alone that contributed to the decision misses the point. The football World Cup is about the "World" and not just a few western countries.smiley

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Rugby-Iran-Ladies

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, August 01, 2010 18:54:24

A delightfull article from the Telegraph today about a female rugby team from Iran.

Maybe women should not play rugby full stop, well some might and do argue so here in the West..... but I cant help think that it is a most rebellious form of self expression from a very repressive society.

Unless physical or mental harm is enforced on another, then do as one wants and wills.

Well done girls, play on (and no more hooker jokes)

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North Korea (WC2010)

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sat, June 19, 2010 07:23:49

I wandered into my local last night at 9 for a performance of a band (Mike Watts and the Spoots) to find everyone huddled over the TV screens (this is not even a telly-pub!!). Like addicts awaiting fresh supplies in an opium den.

But our "heroes" from this land failed to score and after 180 minutes have now scored a total of one goal. That is a disgrace. Never mind the "keeping error" but unless you score you cannot win. Even I know that, but do they?.

On the other hand, Germany, France and Spain have each managed to lose a game and Italy has yet to win. So its not that bad and maybe the world playing fields are less dominated by the "heroes of old" than they used to be. The passion for the game around the world is now stronger than the weight of the paychecks.

This week, North Korea got one past the giants of the game; Brazil. Imagine if Korea played as 1 team (a total of 4 goals scored from 3 games). That would be better for sport and for the world.

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Time to panic?

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, June 13, 2010 07:26:27

A draw with the USA is portrayed as a disaster. The fumbling error was but the performance at the other end of the English formation based on reports today seems even less commendable

Most guilty are the papers and reporters most of whom see this group with England as been a cake walk for us. The New York Times was a bit kinder this morning to Green and more balanced in their reporting.

The reality of international football as per the FIFA rankings is that England is ranked 8th and the USA not a lowly position at 14th. Germany is 6th and France is 9th although Brazil, Spain and Portugal are the top 3.

What does concern me is that one of the most important positions in the national team is normally held (he is now injured and recovering but not quick enough) by David James whose team Portsmouth has been relegated from the Premiership. I would have expected that England would have a choice of players in the top 10 of the Premiership but Joe Hart plays for Birmingham (finished 9th) and has little international experience other than for under 21 and only 3 games as a substitute at international level and luckless Green who plays for West Ham which finished 17th in last years table.

Whilst no need to panic we need more goalkeepers to choose from and with international experience. A proposal that only one foreign keeper per Premiership team should be considered and rejected as it our national attitude that is more at fault. The glamour boys are often perceived as the goalscorers (did poorly last night) but goalkeepers are crucial as last night showed. Thats why its a team game. The same concept applies in business and is also often ignored.

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English football

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sat, June 05, 2010 07:40:31

What is it with male legs in this country all weak and spindly and prone to collapse under the least pressure. There is always at least one player and this year several for whom we can thank exhaustively for the indepth lectures on anatomy of the foot.

Living here now for 8 years my allegiance (for what its worth) is naturally towards England. I have in the past supported Ireland, Congo, Zambia, Nigeria and South Africa and perhaps can be regarded by some as unreliable in my support but I do believe is supporting the team of the country where I live. And I do put my money where my mouth is but not to the extent of price-rip-off shirts.

But the news is devastating with all these injuries providing a list of possible excuses for not making it to the final, and the competition is 6 days away.

My main concern is that the guy they have called up to replace the injured captain has not represented his country before, such is the lack of depth to our national team. That is a BIG problem for which the well paid management of the national game do so little. Capello was handed a meagre assortment of ingredients and he has done well.

I blame the softness of the modern English footballing male more in tune with soft ball kick around than leather ball, leg on leg tackling on earthern ground. There will be individual exceptions including possibly you the reader, but for our national game there are too few skilled players to represent the 3 lions.

Come on England!!!!

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Can English rugby beat France

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, March 14, 2010 15:24:46

Its half time and France are trouncing the Italians.

It looks like that France will beat England next week (on performance to date and still improving) and win the Grand slam

But should England win next saturday, and Ireland win too then it will be ours!!! lol

Come on England

Dream on Fiona

slainte France

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Irish rugby

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, February 28, 2010 12:07:12

After a poor performance against the French the history of poor performance and occasional close fought wins over England at Twickersmust have influenced the thinking of the Irish as they took the field.

They won (see match report in the Irish Times) but it was close fought. Ultimately it was 3 tries to 1 and the fantastic defending by Ireland with 99 good tackles and 1 missed tackle that won it for the Irish.

Am pleased smiley

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wore black cos I wore green

SportPosted by Fiona MacCarthy Sun, February 14, 2010 13:38:36

Wore black last night not just because I liked the dress and it complemented my "black velvet" nail polish but in recognition of the brutal and comprehensive squashing of Irish grand slam (rugby.. im talking rugby) hopes in Paris.

A fierce and efficient french defence frustrated what Irish hopes and aspirations might have accompanied them to this slaughtering ground.

The final score line was flattering to the Irish as the French only once relaxed their guard.

A grand slam winning performance from France

More in the Irish Times for a true Irish perspective. smiley

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