Friday 20 September 2019

Magic moments that live long in the memory

Weird Wide World of Sport

Usain Bolt's performances in the World Championship in Berlin in 2009 were breathtaking
Usain Bolt's performances in the World Championship in Berlin in 2009 were breathtaking

Dave Devereux

There's a thing that's been doing the rounds on Facebook of late where you're challenged to post one 80s classic a day for seven days.

I normally avoid these sort of undertakings like Ryan Giggs avoided international friendlies, but I made an exception in this case, as it's a labour of love, of sorts.

The most difficult task is whittling it down to just seven tracks as for a much-maligned decade there's a host of top tunes to choose from.

Anyway, it got me thinking if I had a similar challenge involving sport what magic moments would I choose?

I won't limit myself to one decade but one thing's for sure, there won't be any matches from this year's football or hurling championships, given the poor fare that's been on offer in both codes.

So here we go, for what it's worth here's my magnificent seven.

Monday: I'll begin with a purely selfish one. Wexford's thrilling draw with Cork in the 2003 Senior hurling championship semi-final was definitely one of the most exciting contests that I've seen in the flesh.

A sensational late Rory McCarthy goal earned the Slaneysiders a replay after a breathless 3-17 to 2-20 draw.

Sadly the replay was a damp squib, with Cork coasting to victory, but that first day in Croke Park will certainly live long in the memory.

Tuesday: Usain Bolt has provided sports fans with so many highlights it's difficult to pick one from his glittering career, but I'll plump for his earth-shattering displays at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.

When winning the 100 metres, Bolt ran 9.58 seconds to beat his own world record time, and followed up with another gold and world record in the 200 metres, finishing in 19.19 seconds, winning the race by the biggest margin in World Championship history.

Wednesday: Dennis Taylor's World Snooker Championship win in 1985 tops just about everything when it comes to sheer drama.

The Northern Irishman fought back from 8-0 down against firm favourite Steve Davis to win 18-17, winning the deciding frame on the black ball.

More than 18 and a half million people stayed up to watch the dramatic conclusion at 12.19 a.m.

Thursday: Katie Taylor overcoming Sofya Ochigava to win Olympic gold in London was certainly a moment that made the hairs stand on the back of your neck.

As much for the sense of anticipation and the occasion as the fight itself. Pubs were packed with people skiving off work for an hour and the relief and pride was palpable as our golden girl got the job done.

Friday: Ireland's win over Italy to reach the knockout stages of the Euros this summer was pretty special but it wouldn't even come close to surpassing the penalty shoot-out win over Romania in Italia '90.

Anyone who's old enough to remember can tell you where they were when Packie Bonner saved Daniel Timofte's penalty and up stepped David O'Leary to send the Boys in Green through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Saturday: Raymond van Barneveld's nail-biting win over Phil Taylor in the 2007 PDC World Darts Championship final had everything.

It was the decider everybody wanted to see after the Dutchman had switched from the BDO and it certainly lived up to its billing.

In one of the greatest darts contests ever witnessed, Barney battled back from 3-0 to win 7-6 in a sudden-death leg.

Sunday: The final pick is provided by none other than Argentinian legend Diego Maradona.

Many marvel at Messi and Ronaldo's silky skills but neither of them have quite matched Maradona's achievement of dragging Argentina to the 1986 World Cup crown.

His performance against England in the quarter-final is obviously the one that stands out, from the sublime nature of his second goal when he left a host of defenders on their arses before sliding the ball past Peter Shilton, to the ridiculous when the officials somehow missed that he had punched the ball to the net for his Hand of God moment.

Like the music from the 80s choices, it's difficult to whittle it down to just seven but, after much deliberation, in the words of poodle-haired rockers Europe, that's my 'Final Countdown'.

Wexford People