Golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, last appearing in 1904 where only two countries were represented (Canada and the USA). The International Golf Federation have proposed the following eligibility scheme to determine which of the world’s top golfers will challenge for Olympic medals in Rio:
The IGF is recommending an Olympic field of 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s competition, utilizing the official world golf rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible for the Olympics, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
Currently golf’s top 15 male players are drawn from the USA (9), England (3), Northern Ireland (2) and Australia (1). It may look different in four years’ time, but wherever they are ranked, Northern Ireland’s top golfers will face a unique and delicate choice between TeamGB and Ireland. We might see pragmatism or friendship put before personal feelings of national identity. Continue reading “2016 Olympics conundrum for Northern Ireland’s top golfers”
This is the latest in my series of World Cup recollections. They’re turning out to be a snapshot of what I was up to at 4-yearly intervals. Italia ’90 strikes me as a feel good tournament for many nationalities; English, Irish, even the Scots, though apparently it is “widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups ever” because of its low goal tally and negative tactics. But it’s not really the goals we cherish in our memories, it’s the emotions we went through, isn’t it?
Having finished my Edinburgh student days in 1989, I was now living back in Belfast and working at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Musgrave Park Hospital of all places: a computer programmer researching the diagnostic potential of knee vibrations. Clickity, clickity. After the memory loss of the student days, my recall of events from 1990 is much clearer. Continue reading “World Cup memories: 1990”
This week the spotlight is one of the more introspective songs from my Edinburgh student days (like Don’t Fall Again). Back in 1986 I was living at 10 Brougham Place, Tollcross – I was a student of Computer Science & Electronics and shared a flat with two medical students and an arts student. This healthy cross-faculty mix was certainly a factor in the four of us getting on so well over those 2-3 years. But I was definitely the geek of the group and often struggled to keep up with some of the more philosophical discussions that took place.
Speak My Mind was my way of expressing the frustration I felt at not being able to adequately express myself. The theme of the Irish paradox, wounded land and magical paradise, comes from the discussions I had with “closest friend” Linda (the arts student). At the time she was adamant that she wouldn’t visit Ireland because of “the Troubles”. I was relieved when these views mellowed some years later and she was happy to come on holiday through Ulster and Connacht.
The approach the authorities in England are taking with regard to Home Education has received some column inches in UK newspapers in the last week. Families who have opted out of the school system in England are now in for a pretty rough ride it seems and are looking enviously across the northern border, where Scottish education continues to plot a more sensible course.
Ireland is now basking in a new post-Grand Slam glow. The enjoyment of seeing our hopes for Grand Slam victory become reality on Saturday got me thinking about where the moment ranks in our personal histories.
In years to come will we readily be able to answer the question:
Where were you when that final penalty attempt fell short and the Grand Slam was ours?
I was just a fourteen-year-old boy when Bobby died
Afraid to go to school that day, I was shocked and dazed inside
Fearful of the future in a sad and wounded land
The meaning of the sacrifice, I could not understand
Well, it’s farewell to Ireland
I’m leaving again.
When this May morning dawns
Another parting will begin
With a sense of hope across the land
For our daughters and our sons.
For the first time in my life
I feel the healing has begun.