From the Candy Stripes in Dublin to Rory McIlroy in South Carolina and from the ‘Boys in Green’ in Poland to Poulter and ‘Miracle in Medinah’ - 2012 was a year to remember as well as a year to forget. Here’s a list of the highs and the oh so very lows....
Best moment in sport in 2012 - Rory Patterson’s winning goal in the FAI Cup final in November.
The last 12 months have been awash with memorable moments.
I was at Euro 2012 and joining thousands of other Republic of Ireland fans in an almost never ending rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ was touching but after the novelty of it had worn off I found myself agreeing with Roy Keane’s sentiment that it was a false economy.
Irish supporters earned the respect and ardour of the people of Poland but this deflected away from the real problem; that Giovanni Trapattoni’s tactics and team selection were disastrous and as a result we were officially the worst team in the competition.
No. Whilst singing in Gdansk, so far away from home will stay with me forever it doesn’t epitomise why so many people love sport but Rory Patterson’s winning goal in the final of the FAI Cup in November certainly.
The game finished 2-2 but Patterson’s extra-time strike is one that will be savoured and described for generations to come. It was truly magnificent.
Sports personality of the year - Rory McIlroy.
British tennis player, Andy Murray, won over many doubters when he won the US Open and watching Derry man Declan Devine fend off criticism with FAI Cup glory was top class but for me there was one man who came on leaps and bounds in 2012.
Rory McIlroy has balls and I don’t mean of the golfing kind. Not only is he the world’s number one golfer he had the courage to admit what many others chose to ignore; that he feels more British and Irish.
In terms of his on course achievements, McIlroy won his second major when he lifted the PGA Championship in South Carolina in August.
However, McIlroy’s greatest achievement was to say how he felt. In a country obsessed with surnames, flags and the colours green and orange the honesty displayed by McIlroy is admirable.
Nationalists and republicans from Derry were up in arms when James McClean was hounded for not wearing a poppy in November. Like McClean, McIlroy’s opinions regarding national identity are personal and whether you disagree or agree, you have to respect where he is coming from.
McIlroy’s a great golfer and not afraid to speak his mind - if only more people were like that.
Team of the year - Derry City F.C.
Ok, ok, ok Barcelona are great and Team G.B. were magnificent at both the Olympics and the Paralympics but there was something special the day that Derry City F.C. won the FAI Cup in November.
Let’s face it, our wee city has its problems. From unemployment to anti-social behaviour, Derry is a place in serious need regeneration and job creation but the sense of pride in our city that Declan Devine’s team gave us that weekend was second to none. Here’s hoping for more of the same from the Candy Stripes in 2013.
The biggest idiot in sport in 2012 - Liam Ridgewell.
England cricketer, Kevin Pietersen, allegedly sent bitchy text messages to members of the South Africa cricket team, about some of his England team mates; as you’d expect this didn’t go down well at all but when it comes to idiocy Pietersen is no where near as bad as West Bromwich Albion footballer Liam Ridgewell.
Ridgewell got a friend to take a photo of him pretending to wipe his bum using £20 notes. I know it’s vulgar and probably not the image you want while tucking into a Doherty’s sausage on a Sunday morning but that’s what this moron did.
In a time when hardworking families are turning to charity shops to provide Christmas presents for their children, this so called personality decides to use money to wipe his backside. What a grade A gack!!!
The greatest come back of 2012 and perhaps even of all time - the ‘Miracle of Medinah’.
Ian Poulter, I salute you.
At one stage, Europe trailed the U.S.A. by 10-4 but came back to win by one point; the final score 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.
Ian Poulter notched up five birdies in a row on the Saturday and spirit of Seve Ballesteros was in the air.
To say that the European redefined the concept of what makes a team would be an understatement but their win was much more than lifting a trophy.
It said to me that no matter what, when the chips are down in sport, anything is possible as long as everyone is pulling in the right direction.
Poulter has never won a major trophy but his performance in Medinah was without doubt one of the greatest ever witnessed in the world of sport.