Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Scenes

Sexy Smooth

Ireland 20 England 16

Ireland defeated England 14-13 at Croke Park on Saturday to take the outright lead in the Six Nations championship. After three rounds Ireland, who have not won a grand slam since 1948, are the only unbeaten team in the tournament.

Racing onto a pass from Tomas O'Leary, winger Tommy Bowe grabbed the headlines at Twickenham as he ran in the decisive try, five minutes from time, as Ireland battled to their sixth win in seven years against England.

Jonny Wilkinson appeared to have won it for England when, with the sides level at 13-13, he landed a 71st minute drop goal.

But Bowe added to his first half try by crossing moments later, with the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions, hampered by the loss of skipper Brian O'Driscoll, then surviving a ferocious late assault from a valiant English side.

Long-serving Irish prop John Hayes joined the ranks of rugby's centurions as he became the first Irish player to win 100 caps for his country, beating O'Driscoll to the milestone by one match.

O'Driscoll started despite missing Friday's Captain's Run session through illness, while the fit-again Geordan Murphy made his first Test appearance for almost a year at full-back.

Jonathan Sexton was also handed his first Championship start after being preferred to Ireland's record points scorer Ronan O'Gara at out-half, as one of four adjustments to the side beaten 33-10 by France.

England were unchanged following their 17-12 victory over Italy, with winger Mark Cueto shaking off a stomach bug to take his place in the starting line-up.

Reputations were at stake with England needing an improved performance to stop pressure growing on team manager Martin Johnson. And an England win would have left Ireland's title defence in ruins.

Wilkinson, who shipped some unfair criticism for his performance against Italy, made a hash of the kick-off, showing some early signs of nerves.

England reacted sharply, however, with strong runs from Cueto, Ugo Monye and Wilkinson sweeping them forward.

The bright start lasted only until the fourth minute when a turnover enabled RBS 6 Nations man-of-the-match Jamie Heaslip to break free before releasing Sexton who spotted Bowe on his outside.

A perfectly-weighted kick from Sexton set up a foot race for the line between Bowe and Lewis Moody that was won easily by the Monaghan man.

Sexton missed the conversion but England's problems increased when an injury forced heavyweight second row Simon Shaw to the touchline and he was replaced by Louis Deacon.

Wilkinson directed a routine penalty at the left upright before a promising attack was brought to an end when the Toulon out-half chipped into the arms of Murphy.

After adjusting his sights, Wilkinson landed three points to see England trail Ireland 5-3 by the end of a first quarter they had largely controlled.

Rain began to fall heavily, and the conditions became treacherous almost immediately. Sexton, who had made a composed start, missed a penalty, but was on target with another attempt in the 29th minute.

Ireland's efforts to build momentum were undermined by some kicking errors, but there was clinical edge to the visitors' play when they were created some space.

Winger Keith Earls made a scintillating break as he dashed through three tackles, with prop Tim Payne guilty of the biggest miss, but busy scrum half Danny Care came to England's rescue on the chip ahead, dotting down ahead of Heaslip.

Wilkinson kicked his second penalty to cut Ireland's lead back to just two points - 8-6 - but the champions' defence was largely untroubled.

The second half opened with Sexton and Wilkinson missing penalties and the match continued to be blighted by errors, with one passage of play seeing three successive knock-ons.

Monye, who was targeted by Ireland's kickers, shoved a dangerous chip ahead into touch with Bowe breathing down his neck and Delon Armitage then limped off injured with Ben Foden being introduced.

Tempers flared in the 54th minute with scrum halves Care and O'Leary providing the flashpoint as they squabbled over possession.

Initially O'Leary was at fault as he prevented Care from getting his hands on the ball but referee Mark Lawrence reversed the penalty for Care dumping the Corkman to the ground, with Stephen Ferris, who was very effective in the loose, also tangling with James Haskell.

The decision against Care was a harsh one that left England pinned back in their half from Sexton's ensuing kick - an inch perfect one - and they watched in horror as Ireland expertly worked the blindside.

Sexton's flat, fast pass did the damage with Earls gleefully diving over in the left corner for his maiden RBS 6 Nations try. Sexton missed the difficult conversion.

Nonetheless, Leicester prop Dan Cole set up a nail-biting final quarter when he drove over under the posts in the 61st minute with help from his pack and the despite the best defensive efforts of Donncha O'Callaghan and Rory Best. Wilkinson's successful conversion squared things up on the scoreboard.

Play was held up for several minutes after O'Driscoll was accidentally kneed in the head by Ireland's pack leader Paul O'Connell, as the Irish scrambled back in defence.

It was a heavy blow and in worrying scenes the Ireland skipper was attended by medics before being stretchered from the pitch.

The back-line was rejigged with Earls switching to outside centre and Andrew Trimble drafted in off the bench to take the wing spot.

With the match tied at 13-13, Wilkinson missed his third shot at goal but nailed a beautifully-struck 71st minute drop goal to break the deadlock.

But there was greater drama, four minutes later, when Ireland surged back into a match-winning lead.

Ronan O'Gara secured field position with a terrific touch finder, the Irish forwards put pressure on in the lineout and the concession of a subsequent lineout close to the 22-metre line led to England leaking a third try.

O'Connell tapped Best's throw down and O'Leary, pacing forward, sent a flat pass to the onrushing Bowe who swept through tackles from Wilkinson and Deacon before evading the grasp of Haskell to go over behind the posts.

O'Gara comfortably converted and with the likes of Heaslip and replacements Tony Buckley and Shane Jennings putting their bodies on the line, Ireland survived two late forward drives from England to take the verdict and crown Hayes' 100th cap with a morale-boosting win.

Gordon D'Arcy

Rob Kearney

Ring Of Kerry

Jamie Heaslip

Wanna Play....Catch And Run Like Hell

White Irish Winter Legs

Chile Earthquake Reaches Ireland

Seismic activity relating to the the earthquake was picked up by a monitoring station in Co Wicklow.

Tom Blake, experimental officer with the School of Cosmic Physics run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, said the earthquake was one of the most powerful on record.

'Without a shadow of a doubt it is one of the most powerful recorded. Bear in mind the strongest ever recorded was 9.6, this is 8.8. The 9.6 event occurred in 1960 and that started the whole movement towards tsunami alert systems across the Pacific.'

Mr Blake said the geographic region was known for very powerful earthquakes. 'It is where you have two plates hitting off each other.'

The Institute started seismic monitoring on behalf of the State in 1978 and will increase the number of monitoring stations from two to six this year.

Its outreach programme, the Irish National Seismic Network, has measuring equipment in 50 schools.

'I have already been contacted by some of the teachers who have say they have recorded it on their systems, which the children will see when they go into school on Monday morning,' Mr Blake said.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travis Wolfe

Hand Art

I always loved these.

Grant Lofthouse

Aiden Power

Irish Talent Show

The All Ireland Talent Show is back for a second season tonight. Last years winners are in the video above. It pits not only acts against other acts, but Irish regions against each other. Last year the winners came from the West. This year acts from the East, North, South, and Dublin hope to have one of their acts win the show.

Lost At Sea

A search is continuing today for a fisherman who has been missing at sea off the west Cork Coast since yesterday. The man fell overboard from the Irish fishing boat, the Janireh, 11 miles southwest of the Fastnet Lighthouse at around 2am.

The Navy's LE Emer, RNLI lifeboats from Baltimore and Castletownbere and a number of local fishing boats as well as the Coast Guard Helicopter are assisting in the search.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Sonnet 116: William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Saturday Night Boxing Dublin

I just watched Andy Murray defeat Oisin Fagan to retain his unbeaten record and the Irish Lightweight title. Oisin took such a beating from Andy they had to stop the fight in the fifth round. Now I'm going to make a snack and crawl up on the couch under a blanket and watch some Olympics. It's a cold one here tonight.

Nodar Kumaritashvili


Takeshi Kaneshiro

Year Of The Tiger

For the Chinese, February 14th begins the Year of the Golden Tiger. The Tiger is the third sign in the cycle of Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animal signs. It's a sign of courage. This fearless and fiery fighter is revered by the ancient Chinese as the sign that wards off the three main disasters of a household: fire, thieves and ghosts. On New Year's day itself, it is beneficial to celebrate, to be happy, to have smiling faces, and to refrain from scowling, quarreling, or criticizing anyone.

Blue Bulls Training South Africa

I sent Gareth an email recently stating how cold I was that day and how I can't wait for spring time to get here. Gareth replied with an email that included these photos with comments of how the weather in South Africa was chilly in the evenings because it dipped to 75F/23C! Yep, that's how he rolls.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wet Worthington

The Book Of Kells

An Oscar nomination for the Irish animated film "The Secret Book of Kells" has reignited a dispute between the town of Kells and Trinity College Dublin.

The Abbey of Kells was home to the Book of Kells for seven centuries. The book was removed from the abbey when Oliver Cromwell and his troops conquered Ireland in the 17th century.

The animated film is due to be released in the U.S. on St Patrick’s Day. Kells Urban District Cllr. Brian Curran believes that the U.S. may provide a platform to return the book to Kells.

"We are going to use all those energies to try to put a positive slant on the request again to Trinity College,” said Curran.

The Urban District Council of Kells has made several failed attempts in the past to return the book to Kells.

In 2000 the Kells District Council lobbied Trinity College to allow one of the four manuscripts to be displayed in a new heritage center in Kells.

However, Trinity refused to return the book to the Heritage centre as they felt the centers security conditions were inadequate.

Curran said that the issues regarding security and ventilation had been addressed.

He also stated that the Oscar nomination has led to a "sense of renewal" to the Book of Kells campaign.

Unfortunately the Kells Heritage center has since closed due to a lack of funding. The Kells District Council is now looking for $274,000 in funding from the cash strapped Irish government to reopen it.

Curran and the people of the Meath town feel that the local economy will greatly benefit from the return of the Book of Kells