Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back Home With Cravings

We're back home now from our trip to Australia and New Zealand.  The Irish team is 2-0 in the world cup with wins over the USA and Australia.  It was a great time, lots of food, drink, laughter and travel.  Way too much travel, I need a vacation from my vacation.  I'll go through my pictures later and maybe post some more, but for now I am going to get a shower and crawl into bed with my cat and take a long nap before Gareth gets home from work. 

I have a craving for two things right now.  One is pineapple.  While traveling I developd a craving for pineapples.  Don't know why, but I'm craving pineapple.  Wierd.  So Gareth is going to bring home take out of Pineapple Chicken and Rice.  The second item I'm craving right now is Gareth.  I can't wait til he walks in the door and I can see that smile of his, pull him tight and just be close. 

Aussie Boys

Here are two aussie team members recovering after a match at the 2011 World Cup.

Snuggle Buddy

I fell in love with the Koala's everywhere we saw them.  How great would it be to have one of them to snuggle into when taking a nap? 

New Zealand Mountains

There we're several places in New Zealand that make you feel like you're standing at the end of the world.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The World Down Under

The last month for me has been crazy times.  Hopefully things have been going more peaceful for you.  I have a cousin who has a house in Sydney, Australia and has been emailing me for a few years asking me to come down and visit.  He's been inviting me down for a few years now and while I really wanted to go, I just never made any plans to go.  But when a last minute chance opened up for me to travel with some friends to go see the Irish national team play in the Rugby World Cup I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to make my visit. 

Since I was out at sea for several weeks, I left it up to Gareth and my cousin Mike to make the plans.  So I went to sea for my few weeks and I have to take a moment here to mention I was able to take my cat with us for his first visit at sea.  At first he was scared of the new surroundings, although the car ride to the dock was more stressful to him.  It was great having my little buddy along for the voyage he really enjoyed the attention he received.  

Returning home from the voyage I found that Gareth had backed out of going along for work obligations and wouldn't be going with me.   I had just a few days to rest before heading out on the long flight to the other side of the world.  I was beginning to think the world was getting smaller everyday, but after this flight I can attest that its still really big. 

While our group arrived a bit tired and weary, we made it.  Unfortunately, one of my bags didn't.  So anyone that finds my bag let me just state the Justin Beiber shirt was a gift for a friend, its wasn't mine.  No really, seriously.  

My cousin met us at the airport and I couldn't tell you how nice it felt to be on the ground and seeing the sites of the city.  I could spend my life on a ship, but a plane, not so much.  Sydney is probably the most beautiful city I have ever been too.  I have been amazed by so many things since arriving.  

My cousin has a beautiful home.  I joked with him that even though he bought it already furnished, I loved his decorating touch of half dead house plants, dirty clothes and probably some clean ones thrown around his bedroom floor, and lots of half eaten take out food sitting on the counter of the kitchen, not from the night before, but from three nights before.  You can tell he is still a bachelor. 

It's about 7:15 am right now if I'm looking at the clock right.  Still suffering a bit from jet lag.  Which reminds me, one of our group didn't know about jet lag.  So we told him he was feeling weird because he was in Australia and upside down and the blood was rushing to his head.  That was a good laugh.  As mentioned above, not much food wise I trust to eat from his place, so there is a group of six of us going out for breakfast. 

I'll write more when I get a chance.  I'm missing Gareth a lot right now, so I want to call him before we leave.  Everyone else, enjoy your morning or night. 

Rugby World Cup 2011

Ireland touched down in New Zealand on Thursday after completing an epic 43-hour journey that began in Dublin and featured stops in Dubai and Sydney before concluding in Queenstown. 

The Irish squad opens World Cup 2011 play with a match against the United States on September 11th.  

More than 500 supporters gathered at Queenstown airport to greet the squad, who will be based in one of the country's most spectacular locations for the first week of the World Cup.

The team is training against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains and O'Driscoll admits the location has been well received.

"It feels like the World Cup has really started now. Once you get on that plane the realization sinks in a bit," he said. "We're finally here after all the work we've done in the build-up.

"It's great to be here. It's certainly one of the more beautiful spots to be in. Hopefully we'll get some good work done over the next week to put ourselves in good shape for the matches."

More Troubles For the Irish Squad

The Irish squad faces more trouble with John O’Shea having been ruled out of the trip to Moscow to face Russia in the Euro 2012 qualifiers after succumbing to calf and hip strains and has returned to Sunderland for treatment.

With Se├ín St Ledger suspended, O’Shea was arguably the most important player remaining in the Republic of Ireland squad. His absence will now force Giovanni Trapattoni into some difficult decisions, with Kevin Foley, Stephen Kelly and Darren O’Dea waiting in the wings to fill two places.

“The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that following medical examination, John O’Shea has been declared unfit to take part in Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Russia,” a statement read. “John was suffering from a calf and hip strain and will return to his club later this evening. All other players in the squad will travel to Moscow, departing this afternoon at 2.30pm.”

O’Shea was favourite to replace St Ledger alongside Richard Dunne in the centre of defence, having been deployed at right-back in the 0-0 draw with Slovakia in Dublin on Friday night. 

Without 50 per cent of his first choice defense - not including the absence of veteran Kevin Kilbane from left-back - Trapattoni now has to decide who to deploy at right back and central defense.

The only natural centre back available to him is O’Dea, who played well in the 2-0 win over Italy alongside St Ledger in June, but Kelly is also an option. The latter might also be considered for the right-back slot, with Wolves man Foley capable of starting there as well.

When Marco Tardelli admitted this morning that O’Shea was a doubt for the game, he also hinted at question mark over the fitness of goalkeeper Shay Given, who has been nursing a back strain since the Aston Villa’s stalemate with Wolves 10 day’s ago.

“I don’t know because the doctors are together for the scan,” said Tardelli this morning when asked about the Donegalman.

With three games remaining, Ireland need to win against Russia to have any realistic hope of topping the group. They finish with a visit to Andorra and a home game against Armenia in October. Both are winnable, but without victory on Tuesday, their fate will be in the hands of others.

Five Out Of Six - Champions Again

Kilkenny 2-17 Tipperary 1-16: Kilkenny are All-Ireland champions for the fifth time in six years, and 33rd overall, after reclaiming their title from Tipperary with a dominant display at Croke Park. Goals from Michael Fennelly and Richie Hogan, plus eight points from Henry Shefflin, were simply too much for Tipp.

They were outplayed and outfought from the off by Kilkenny, while their stars failed to shine like they did last year when blowing today's opponents away with Lar Corbett's three goals.

“We’ve had this day in our sights for 12 months and it’s great to have it back again,” said Kilkenny manager Brian Cody afterwards.

His opposite number, Declan Ryan, was gracious in defeat.
“It’s very disappointed dressing room,” said . “We were perhaps fortunate to be only five points down at halftime. Hats off to Kilkenny, I think they showed they were real champions.
He added: “We struggled to get out of the blocks today for whatever reason … but I’m very proud of the guys, they’ve won the blue and gold with pride all year.”