My annual awards from the sublime to the ridiculous
It's that time of year when we look back and review the highs and lows of the sporting world, mixing the unforgettable with ridiculous, and it's time to hand out the awards.
The 'Biggest non-contest of the Year' award: When the proverbial hit the fan over the departure of Billy Walsh to the USA, the TV, radio and print media had a field day with every expert having their opinion on why he left.
There were accusations and counter accusations from both sides with ministers, sports leaders, IABA Officers and Joe Public (Duffy) all having a say.
The outcry was so severe that the government decided to have an Oireachtas inquiry in to the whole debacle. I am not a fan of tribunals or similar inquiries as I question their value or worth, but I have to say I was glued to the television the day it was broadcast live.
In the preceding days Kieran Mulvey, John Tracey and Joe Christle had lambasted each other in public. We were primed for the verbal fight of the century. It reminded me of the pre fight press conferences in UFC or professional boxing where both protagonists threaten to knock the head off each other on the night, and give each other the biggest beating of all time.
In this case however when both opponents stepped in to the ring it seems the fight had been fixed. It was obvious that both sides had been called together and some sort of truce declared. It was like two boxers entering a ring with pillows strapped to their hands in case one gets hurt. They started with a joint declaration of mutual respect that was as false as Pamela Anderson's cleavage, and proceeded to answer every question....except the ones that were asked. An opportunity was missed and more time and money were wasted; my opinion on tribunals hasn't changed.
The 'Biggest disappointment of the Year' award: The Irish rugby teams performance in the world cup and their failure to make the semi-finals. We had been lead to believe this was our year and if we avoid New Zealand in the early stages we could meet them in the final. It was a reality check that the six nations we get so excited about every year is not the world class tournament we thought it was. Southern hemisphere rugby is better and an Autumn International victory over one of those nations does not make us one of the best in the World.
The 'Put yourselves under Pressure' award: It was a close call so I have decided on joint winners, Galway hurlers and Mayo footballers. Did the managers miss vital scores or crucial tackles at critical stages of their games? Obviously the answer is yes so get your money on them for the double next year, if Kilkenny and Dublin don't enter a team.
The 'Egg on your Face' award: Joint winners again, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. Need I explain except to say Blatter's was more of a six-egg omelette and just an egg.
The 'Lance Armstrong doping Cheats' award: The Russian Athletics Federation who allowed drug cheats to compete and win medals in the London Olympics. 1,400 samples were destroyed three days before inspectors called to the country's testing lab. It isn't just the Russians; Americans, Jamaicans, Chinese, British and a lot more have all been caught and banned. It begs the question: who is a genuine athletics champion and how many other countries are complicit in these activities?
So that I won't end the year on a negative or sarcastic note, there were some magnificent highs from a Wexford point of view that should fill us with optimism for 2016. St James fairytale journey to the Senior football championship, Oulart's outstanding Leinster club win, Adam Nolan and Dean Walsh retaining their Elite Senior Boxing titles, Wexford Youths going to the Premier division as champions and Wexford Ladies Youths winning the cup final.
My sporting wish for the New Year is that all Wexford teams in all codes compete successfully in 2016, that we have a number of representatives from the county as coaches and athletes in Rio, and that we hear the Star-Spangled Banner being played at least once in the women's boxing arena at Rio.