The Year of the Tiger

It’s been a wonderful sporting year thusfar and we have only reached the middle of April.

We’ve seen the small mix it with the great. What a wonderful sight to see the half parish of Mullinalaghta take to the field in Croke Park for the All-Ireland Club semi-final in February.  The last day in March saw Leitrim – the Mullinalaghta St. Columbas of the County scene – also run out at HQ, their first appearance there since 2006. A few days later Mayo picked up their first piece of national silver ware in years making a talented Kerry team submit in a titanic struggle.

April has been the month of the two Tigers. Tiger Roll the smallest horse, with the oldest jockey and the biggest heart made history in Aintree – the first horse to win back to back Grand Nationals since the legendary Red Rum.

This weekend Tiger Woods had commentators reaching for every sports cliché that has ever been uttered. It was easy to share in the joy of this moment. I would hazard if the great man himself was asked he might say that of all his great wins – 15 Majors now – this was the greatest. He will certainly be hoping his comeback will be longer than the little General’s Cent Jours.

There could be more to come in this year, in the full bloom of it’s promise and hope. Soon we’ll know if my beloved Liverpool will once again be champions. They certainly have stuck with the star laden Man City squad every step of the way, and its hard not to like the goofy enthusiasm of Jurgen Klopp.  In 1990 Sean O’Heslins, a famous club from the town of Ballinamore in Leitrim won their 20th Senior Championship. If someone told me back then that in the next 30 years neither Sean O’Heslins nor Liverpool would win a championship, I would say that person was crazy. It shows that in Sport you can never take anything for granted. When Tiger (the Golfer) won his last major in 2008 I’m sure he would have thought by 2019 he would be comfortably ahead of the great Jack Nicklaus in number of majors won.

There is much to look forward to in the months ahead – lets hope for great Hurling and Football championships and there is also the small matter of the Rugby World Cup. We saw in the Six Nations that our national team and their acclaimed manager have wings and feet of clay after all. It could be the making of them but will be a massive challenge at the World Cup in Japan, a tournament where we have massively underachieved. It would also be a come back of sorts as to have a comeback you have to have a setback. A semi-final finish would be significant, a win would be glorious.

In Sport one can fail, not everyone can be a winner, yet some where, be it the next game, or way off on the future lies the opportunity of redemption. We could all do with seeing life like this too, the possibility of redemption lying around every corner, and the chance to let the little Tiger in all of us, ROAR.

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