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Winners & Losers From A Dramatic Weekend Of Sport

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 15: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring his team`s third goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

A brilliant weekend of sport which saw the last round of the Munster championship, The US Open at Shinnecock Hills and plenty of World Cup action, let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from the last couple of days:

Winners: Clare Hurlers

Another huge victory for Clare hurlers, this time against a much-fancied Limerick, which saw them advance to the Munster Final at the expense of John Kiely’s men.

The Banner were outstanding throughout, with the likes of Tony Kelly, John Conlan and the in-form Peter Duggan- who grabbed 13 points – scoring for fun against an unusually porous Limerick defence.

Clare also managed to shut out their opponents brilliantly, allowing them to score just 15 points and none after the 56th minute of the game.

Gerry O’Connor and Donal Moloney’s men, having picked up three impressive wins on the bounce, will be looking to make it four when they face Cork in the Munster final on July 1st.

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Winners: Cristiano Ronaldo

An incredible start to the World Cup for Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese side. Their opponents Spain were arguably the better team in their Group B game on Friday night, but for the magic of the Real Madrid forward.

First, Ronaldo won and dispatched an early penalty putting his side, one nil up, then in the second half he made it 2-2 after his strike from outside the box squirmed past David De Gea in the Spanish goal.

But the best player on the planet saved his best till last, with Spain in front and the clock running down, Ronaldo stepped up to take a free kick, 25 yards from goal. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Ronaldo rattled the ball past the onlooking De Gea to clinch a draw for his team as well as making him the oldest player to ever score a World Cup hat-trick at the age of 33.

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Winners: The Irish Rugby Team

An excellent way to bounce back for Joe Schmidt’s men as they exorcised the demons of last Saturday by claiming victory in the second test against Australia in Melbourne over the weekend.

A first test victory down under since 1979, Ireland dominated possession and territory as they edged out a 26-21 win over a dogged Australia.

Tadhg Furlong’s second-half try was crucial for Ireland who picked up the win despite a late Taniela Tupou try giving the Wallabies some hope, but it wasn’t enough for them to go 2-0 in the series.

This result now sets up a mouth-watering final test between the two sides in Sydney next weekend.

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Losers: Limerick Hurlers

A disastrous weekend for the Limerick hurlers who, despite having a fantastic Munster campaign, will not be competing in this year’s provincial final.

John Kiely’s men came into the game against Clare in pole position knowing that a win or a draw would see them headed to the final on July 1st, but at the final hurdle Limerick were flat and lacklustre and were punished by an in-form Clare side at Cusack Park.

This is a serious blow for Limerick who were undoubtedly favourites to clinch their first Munster crown since 2013, as well as being many people’s pick to challenge Galway for this season’s Liam McCarthy cup.

A preliminary quarter-final now awaits them as manager John Kiely admitted that perhaps it was the schedule that got to his side in the end;

“It is hard. There’s learnings there for everybody but we won’t have time to look at those (until) maybe later on in the winter. Playing that level of sport so intensely over a short period of time, you really would need to be professional. That’s the bottom line.

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Losers: Germany

An uncharacteristically poor start to the tournament saw the defending champions Germany defeated by their Group F rivals Mexico in what is the upset of the World Cup so far.

The Mexicans were good value for their victory and arguably could’ve had more goals but for their wastefulness in front of goal. On the contrary, the German’s looked flat and disjointed, traits that aren’t typically associated with Joachim Low’s men.

With Sweden and South Korea still to come, both of whom will take great confidence from Germany’s defeat, it could be a difficult path to retaining their crown for the usually so efficient World champions.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 17: Thomas Mueller of Germany reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Germany and Mexico at Luzhniki Stadium on June 17, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Losers: The USGA

Last night in Shinnecock Hills, New York American golfer Brooks Koepka retained his US Open title with a final round 69 to leave him on +1, one shot clear of Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.

As magnificent an achievement as this is for Koepka, the weekend will unquestionably be remembered for the way in which the US Golf Association or USGA set up the course, especially on the Saturday.

The US Open is often one of the toughest challenges a golfer will face all year but the difficulties at Shinnecock Hills led to a number of players coming out and airing their grievances about the conditions.

The USGA made the course a little easier on the final day but the damage had arguably already been done.

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About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com