Home Rugby The PA Sporting Week: Who’s hot and who’s not?

The PA Sporting Week: Who’s hot and who’s not?

James Clancy takes us through this week’s edition of the ‘PA Sporting Week: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not’.

Who’s hot?

Ronan O’Gara

A modern sportsman who is seeringly honest, making him that rarest of professionals. Thursday’s RTÉ documentary was of a similarly refreshingly open vein. Thanks for the insight and the memories ROG!

Portuguese Government

There aren’t many sportsmen whose death leads to a period of national mourning. The passing of Portuguese football icon Eusebio has seen The Portuguese government declare three days of national mourning and many fans paid homage by visiting an iconic statue of him erected next to Benfica’s Luz stadium, leaving flowers, scarves and other tributes.

Eusebio, whose full name was Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, won the 1962 European Cup with Benfica and was European Footballer of the Year in 1965 but won global acclaim a year later at the World Cup in England, where his nine goals helped Portugal reach the semi-finals.

The Portuguese Football Federation said in a statement; “Portugal is mourning. Eusébio, the King of Portugal’s 1966 team and the eternal symbol of the country, national team and Benfica passed away”. They further announced that a moment of silence was to be observed at Portuguese football matches.

Eusebio scored 733 goals in 745 professional matches – statistics which only football’s greatest have come close to matching.

Shane O’Neill & Mike Magee called up to US World Cup Camp:   

Two players eligible to wear the green of Ireland were this week called up to a United States’ pre-World Cup camp by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

American born 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland and though 29 years young, has never featured for his country of birth. Last year, Magee scored 21 goals to pip our very own Robbie Keane to the MVP award while his Chicago Fire team narrowly missed out on the playoffs on goal difference.

Cork born Shane O’Neill, the son of former All Ireland winning Cork gaelic footballer, Colm O’Neill, plies his trade with the Colorado Rapids. O’Neill was part of the US U20 World Cup team in 2013 where the 20 year old started the final two games – scoring against Ghana.

Whether either are interested in playing for Ireland remains to be seen, but one would feel that the opportunity to represent his birth country at this summer’s World Cup will prove too big a pull for Magee.

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Who’s not?

English cricket team:  

Suffered only the third ever 5-0 Ashes defeat with a hammering Down Under. While Australia were undoubtedly good (“The best ever bowling attack I’ve ever played against” according to England captain Alistair Cook), they weren’t that good.

In truth, England were never in any of these Test matches and Australia quite simply weren’t that good. The more the series went on, the more defeatist England seemed to get with the final test seeing the ultimate humiliation of being over not one but two days early.

Real Madrid:

Poland international Robert Lewandowski signed a five-year deal with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Saturday to bring a protracted transfer saga to an end.

However, Lewandowski’s agent Maik Barthel has revealed that Madrid were keen to sign Lewandowski, too, and was willing to go far for the 25-year-old.

“There was an immoral offer from Real Madrid,” the striker’s representative was quoted as saying by Spiegel Online.

Madrid were reportedly willing to offer Lewandowski an annual salary of $9.5m plus an additional €10m signing fee, but Barthel has made it clear that they never considered breaking their promise to Bayern.

“We listened to their (Madrid’s) offer out of respect for such a big club. But breaking our word never crossed our mind,” he said.

Manchester United/David Moyes

It’s been many years since The Red Devils have had no chance of winning any silverware (aside from the rather insignificant League Cup) in early January (I think it’s safe to say that they won’t win the Champions League this season).

That is the set of circumstances facing new boss David Moyes however. Following two defeats in a week at Old Trafford (and four defeats from six at Old Trafford), United have been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by Swansea.

Realistic success for the club this season now would be a top four finish and Champions League qualification. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Pundit Arena, James Clancy.

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