An Evening at the World Para Athletic Championships 2017 in London

ParaAthletics title - nessymon

ParaAthletics title - nessymon

Neither myself or Talulah have ever been at a sporting event like this before and but thanks to the 2012 Paralympic coverage on television and The Last Leg (one of the most important television shows in the UK in my opinion), we decided we would grab some tickets to an evening at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Para Athletic World Championships 2017

Grant it, the London Stadium, as it’s now called is now also home to West Ham United but it will always be the Olympic Stadium. We were still living in Ireland when the Olympics took place in London in 2012, so this was a great opportunity to do something new, see a sporting event and visit the stadium.

Arriving at the venue

We arrived mega early so we went for a wander in Westfield and found a new bar. The Bat and Ball. Lovely laid back vibe, great sweet potato chips and there’s ping pong and pool! We’ll be back!

The stadium is literally five minutes walk from the shopping centre and all the trains and buses practically leave you at the door of the shopping centre. There are directions and volunteers everywhere, so even if you don’t know the area, there are signs and people to ask.

The now familiar security checks didn’t take long and we soon found ourselves in our seats.

Seats with a view – Liam Malone signs autographs

The queue to get Liam Malone's autograph ©nessymon
The queue to get Liam Malone’s autograph ©nessymon

The thing with newly built stadia is that is pretty hard to find a bad seat. Our seats were along the straight, just before the finish line. New Zealand’s, Liam Malone, caused a stir at the Rio games last year. Unfortunately, he’s injured and couldn’t compete at the World Championships. Instead, he has found himself some work as a pundit / presenter. As he waited for his time to go to work to begin, he must have signed hundreds of autographs. The man is is a rock star!

Lots of events happening at once

If you haven’t been to an event like this before, let me describe it. There’s always music playing, except for when the starter’s gun is about to fire. There are lots of things happening at once, Shot put, discus, long jump and actual track events. It’s a good job there’s a stadium announcer to direct your view. If you’re not used to it, you could easily miss events happening.

The Main Event – Jonnie Peacock and Jason Smyth

Jonnie Peacock during the Semi Final World Championships ©nessymon
Jonnie Peacock during the Semi Final World Championships ©nessymon

This is absolutely no disrespect to all the other athletes but the big draws of the evening we attended were the T44 100m semi finals and finals which featured Britain’s Jonnie Peacock and the T13 final which featured the fastest para athlete on the planet, Jason Smyth.

Peacock, waltzed his way through the semi into the final and there’s no doubt that he was the reason that the majority of people were there tonight. The roar was deafening as his name was announced.

Two Gold Medals for Ireland

Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop get a gold medal each for Ireland ©nessymon
Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop get a gold medal each for Ireland ©nessymon

The very next track event after Jonnie Peacock’s run was Jason Smyth’s 100m final. There’s no stopping the man. One gold medal for Ireland. Smyth’s fourth world title at 100m.

Next up was Michael McKillop, who, I have to admit, didn’t know a lot about. He romped home to take his second world title in the T38 800m.

If you want to find out more about how the classification in para athletics works you can read this.

Highly Recommended

This was a really enjoyable night out. It was something we had never done before but we would definitely go to again. Talulah has come to GAA matches with me before and I have to say she didn’t really enjoy them. You could tell by her face. But, since this, she has said that she really enjoyed the evening.

There’s always something happening, the music keeps a decent atmosphere going and it was really lovely to see family and friends of the athletes getting so pumped up when they did well. Federica Maspero came second in the T44 400m final. Her husband and Mum were sitting in front of us, seeing their reaction was enough reason to be there.

The Championships run until July 23rd, if you get the chance go. You won’t regret it!

Wheelchair racing - Para Athletics championships 2017 ©nessymon

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium

Wheelchair racing - Para Athletics championships 2017 ©nessymon

Ashkon: We Are The Champions (Video)

Ashkon

AshkonOh, Ashkon has done it again! Not content with having his San Francisco Giants version of Don’t Stop Believing becoming the anthem for the Giants when they won the World Series in 2010, he waited until the 2012 Giants won the World Series to do this.. We Are The Champions, there could be no other, could there?

San Francisco Giants: E-40: Win Something (Update SF Giants Style!)

Every Postseason needs a song. In 2010, the unofficial San Francisco Giants anthem was Askon with Don’t Stop Believing. For the second time in three years, the Giants are about to start Game 1 in the first round of the NLCS. Tonight, they take on the Cincinnati Reds.

The prospect of a BayBridge World Series is go! As the Oakland A’s are through to the postseason too.

To reach the next stage, all the Giants have to do is win three out of the next five games. Here’s this years anthem, E-40 with Win Something. It will be interesting to see if it takes off like DSB did as it’s not as immediately sing-along-able. Either way, we’re in for a great couple of weeks of baseball.

I’ve got my Barry Bonds Sweatshirt and my 2010 orange rally rag ready for tonight. First pitch 0237.. yip, A.M.

EDIT: E-40 has just been challenged by an opponet.. SFGiants Style!

Euro 2012 Irish Football Songs: The Definitive Collection

footballsongs

To get you (and try to get myself) into the mood for all the football happening over the next couple of weeks, I decided to have a look at the Irish songs knocking around for Euro 2012. To be fair, there’s good, bad and downright ugly in this lot but hey this is a ‘Definitive Collection’ so it’s not my fault. So sit down for a few minutes, get your scarf, flag and vuvuzela and let rip.

The Rocky Road To Poland – Damian Dempsey, Bressie, Danny Corana, and friends. Official Republic Of Ireland Song for Euro 2012

First up, might as well go with the Official one, this has been knocking around your favourite National Commerical Radio station for a bit now, it’s been number one, lyrics written by the Ray D’arcy Listeners plus it actually features the Republic of Ireland football team in the video! Score!

Come on Ireland: Buachaill Boys

It had to happen, someone uses Dexys Midnight Runners’ Come On Eileen. They get the names of the squad in and they make eejits of themselves dancing on an empty street, (would have been more impressed if there were auld ones standing in the doorways) and they recreate Ray Houghton’s 1988 goal versus England. Not then worst in the bunch. Passable.

Jedward: Put Your Green Cape On

Downer, it’s a rehash of the classic Jedward hit ‘Lipstick’, upside all the monies go to the ISPCC. I suppose the Jedwards were too busy going to Azerbaijan and carrying Olympics torches to do an original.. sad, ruined Lipstick. Kids love it.

Rory and The Island: Boys in Green

Have to be honest, had Rory on my radio show, chatting about this. It all happened by accident, he made up some words and played the song with Sharon Shannon in Lanzarote, where he’s based and some geezer filmed it on his phone so what they thought would be a once off turned into the track you see before you. Nice video, shot in Lanzarote, where all the houses are only allowed to be either green or white, by law.

The Subztitutes: Bring It On

Oops, was forgetting this one, how could I? Mickey Harte teams up with Paul Brady and they play Pied Piper of Grafton St. Decent chorus, Irish enough, easy to remember.

Rockier Road to Poland: Shane McGowan, The Aftermath, Joe Rooney and friends

In some cruel twist of fate, the Cronin brothers decided to get working on this last November only to have the Today FM version come along, ah well, this version features Shane McGowan and a plethora of people I actually know in real life. Yes, the place away from the computer. I love Brian Murphy’s guitar on this. Still a winner!

Andy Bennett: Ireland All The Way

It’s great to see how many charidees are benefiting from all these. This one’s for Temple Street. You might remember Andy Bennett from You’re a Star in 2007, he was a finalist. This track is a more upbeat kind of thing and sing a long able lyrics, not sure it they would make it to the terraces though, sorry seats, seats, you have to sit.

Sean Kelly: The Celtic Roar

Oh Gawd, this reminds me of a particular pirate radio station that broadcast ‘all over the midlands’ in the eighties, Country n Irish to the core… Diddley dee eye dye.. Celtic Bore. Sorry.

The Postronics: Ambitious Minds

First, were excited about Euro 2012, please show this in your music. Suspicious Minds to Ambitious Minds, we’ll let you away with that but could you please sound like you’re actually looking forward to it. Disinterested.. doesn’t make me want to listen. NEXT!

Johnny B & The Boogie Men: Green Army

Thank You! This sounds like a cross between Republic of Loose and Rubberbandits, it’s awesome! Love it. Easy the best of the bunch.. awesome camper van!

Mahoney: We’re On Our Way

I’ve played Mahoney’s music on the radio before and I actually quite like this. It’s well recorded and produced but I think to catch on a football song has to have words you can sing at a game… Apart from a variation on the Olé Olé chorus, there’s not a lot you’d sing at a game. Good song though!

Ill Thraps: We All Get Nil Together

Terrible recording, lads what were you at? Because the song is actually quite funny and has an Irishness you’d find in The Saw Doctors but the recording is so bad, I can’t listen. Sorry.

Traps Green Army: All is Possible (Just Can’t Get Enough)

This was one of the first songs to emerge this year and is extremely clever, has the Irishness, has the Trap bit like ‘Put Em Under Pressure’ had the Jack Charlton bit. Winner! Download the track for free here

The Proud: Emerald Army (Party)

OOh a little bit dancey this one and they got a pub full of Irish jerseys. Probably a little bit too clever for the terraces but this is a definite party tune.. should be heard at every barbeque and discotheque over the next few weeks… would love to hear a full on dance remix!

Brendan and The Blacksticks: Trapp and The Lads

This isn’t actually half bad shows sometimes you shouldn’t judge the song by its video. Will definitely raise the patriotic vibes.. good job.

Giovanni Trappatoni: Be the 12th Player (DJhUactharain)

If Barack O’Bama can do Call Me Baby, Gio Tappatoni can do one better. Fantastic amount of cleverness by DJhUactharain.

The Sneaky Ones: It’s Our Time

This seems a little bit more serious at first, then you see yer man in the camper van is giving it loads. Decent effort.

Owen Branagan: We’re On Our Way

This song is different to all the rest so far, just Owen, his guitar and a chorus of voices. Just misses that extra punch.

Dropkick Murphys and Peakfiddler: We’re Shipping Out (Clap For Trap)

Ah lads, this is the downright ugly. Pure laziness, you could’ve easily recorded this but no.. This has 322533 views on YouTube, would yiz not look at some videos of cats instead no? I love Shipping up to Boston but c’mon – pure shite.

Breen White & Gold: Boys in Green 2-0-1-2

This is a bit better, little bit dancier, and lyrics that are handy enough to remember. If this song was a match result it would be a 1-1.

Jasper Kearns: Song for all Seasons

Finally, we all know the recipe for a successful football song, clever singalong able lyrics, a pub and a bunch of friends having a laugh. Jasper Kearns, you’ve nailed it!

There ye go! That’s all the Irish Football Songs for Euro 2012, there were one or two that wouldn’t let me embed the video, tough, you didn’t make it. After listening to all of these over the past few days, it doesn’t matter how good, bad or downright shite some songs are, we’re all looking forward to hopefully a fantastic couple of weeks. C’mon Ireland!

Edit: I’m finding more every day!

Funzo – The Boys in Green Have Done it Once Again

OK, here’s Funzo’s contribution to the list and fair play, it’s not bad. Word of warning, lads don’t get stuck in the novelty genre. They’ve already had a very Christmas song

The Baseball Season: My Field of Dreams

SFGIANTSvsCardinals

SFGIANTSvsCardinalsBaseball is on the way back, a new season is just around the corner and already the questions of who are the better team in the Bay Area are circling. Oakland may have Manny but the Giants have a pitching staff that a lot of teams only dream of.

I’ve been constantly watching and cheering for the San Francisco Giants for about ten years now, maybe more. Sleepless nights and only being able to read so many books in a week, led me to look for something else to do when the rest of the world was asleep. Ok, the world where I was, a GMT time zone.

4 am can be a lonely place, this was before a constant Facebook or Twitter stream. MySpace was a place cluttered with rock bands claiming to be the next big thing, not an environment to unwind in, as wannabe web designers took leaves out of geocities’ book, splattering profiles with neon flashing signs. Watching this slow paced game, on a free TV channel, that looked a bit like rounders, was perfect for your insomniac friend. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with the game though.

San Francisco has always tugged at my heart strings so there was no question as to what team to support. I didn’t know if they were winners, losers the good guys or the bad guys. I had someone to root for.

Over the following years, the season always marked the return of better weather, heading towards the Summer. Since I went back to college, it became a flag, a marker, a guide that the end of one college year was approaching and by the end of the regular season, you’d be heading back to college. Just as a baseball team wanted to be at the top of their division to reach the playoffs and go further, this acted like a benchmark of how I spend my Summer, what I did, if I had achieved goals I had set for myself. They mightn’t be huge goals, learn how a new computer programme worked or something but it was a guideline for me.

So here I am, final year, writing my thesis which is due in nine weeks, yes, nine weeks. By that stage the baseball season proper, will be four weeks old. This year, the goals are slightly different. Between now and the end of the regular season, a lot of decisions need to be made. Hard decisions.

As a mature student, going back to college was a bit daunting to start with. What if I was a bit thick? Some of the guys in my class were young enough to be my kids, would I fit in ? Once I started though, they faded away. Now, it’s will I get a job, is my experience enough ? Am I still going to be told I’m ‘over experienced for the position’?.

You only get one shot at this life thing, you’ve got to grab it, shake it and fling it around a bit. I’ve had enough of playing it safe. I’ve had enough of listening to the news every day and hearing more bad news, I don’t watch the news any more. If there was ever a time, to be a daredevil, try something out, now is it. That may mean leaving Ireland, to go where? That would be down to Green Cards, job prospects (you still have to pay the rent) and language barriers. That might rule out China so but leaves a lot of French speaking territories up for discussion.

The World Series should be decided the same week as my graduation. It takes 162 games to figure out who goes to the postseason. You can’t always leave fate in the hands of others, ‘Oh maybe someone will offer me a job’, maybe they will. Maybe I get offered the dream job I’ve always wanted, right here on my door step. There are no fairytales though. I don’t want to get caught up in negativity and be surrounded by it. I went back to college, funded totally by myself (and my lovely partner) to better myself. I never did a degree, I wanted one. But its up to each and every one of us. You make your own luck, you get out, get noticed, maybe here, maybe somewhere else. Who knows? There’s time left, I have some tough decisions ahead but it’s up to me to build my Field of Dreams.

Dublin Vs Kerry, Feb 4th 2012, Pre-Match Celebrations

CrokeParkAbseil
Abseiling from a roof
Last night, thanks to my little sister, I had the great honour of going to see Dublin and Kerry kick off their National League campaigns in Croke Park, Premium Level no less. Kerry had an unbelievable amount of wides but still managed to wrecked the All Ireland Champions’ day with a 1-14 to 0-11 win. Anyway, it was the Dubs first game in Croker since their All Ireland win and they kicked off the whole thing in style. The floodlights in the stadium were turned off, the teams came onto the pitch then the fireworks went off. As if that wasn’t enough, some bloke then abseils from the roof of the Hogan Stand to pitchside with the match ball.

All this followed the Rubberbandits give a good clean family friendly performance* of the ‘Roisin, I Want to Fight Your Father’, as Gaeilge and some song called ‘Horse Outside’.

Fun times! Good job, great way to get things going!

*only a ‘few’ swear words were used but they were used a fair bit.

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