Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Posts tagged “Rugby

Boys in Blue – phew!

Cardif, 22nd May 2011, the definitive game of 2 halves. Heaslip on charge HC final Cardiff

What a roller-coaster.

At half time, depressed Leinster fans were nearly afraid to hope.  Saints fans – Jimmies – were beside themselves with joy.

Leinster Celebration lap HC Cardiff

However in the 2nd half, an envigourated, determined and free-flowing Leinster finally showed their strength and the great passing and running game that had blown away all comers up to that and the Saints could not cope.  They were helped in the second half by the poor and naive refereeing of Mnsr. Poite who now gave the penalties to Leinster seemingly because they were going forward – when he had repeatedly wrongly punished them  in the 1st half for the opposite ‘offence’!  There are so many offences now in Rugby that the referee has an incredible influence on the game.  There is an acute need for education and increased standards in refereeing and more standardisation of the interpretations.

Currently the referrees penalise only a fraction of the offences and this necessarily skews games as referrees are human.  Almost all the offences should be called which would lead to fairer matches, more adherence to the rules and eventually a smaller and simpler set of rules.  The current tinkering and continuous adding to the rules in the name of making the game more open,  is crazy.  Also ignoring forward passes and preventing players from fighting for the ball (close to the core of the game) is slowly turning it into a mix between Rugby League and American Football!

Horgan & Cullen hold HC on Leinster Celebration lap Cardiff
Leinster congratulated on HC Final win Cardiff

Brilliant exhibition and a great day but commiserations to the Saints fans who were gracious after the match, offering their congratulations even though this must have been an awful way to lose.


Boys in Blue

Blue Army

Have to mention the Boys in Blue – Section of 48,000 Leinster crowd at Heineken Cup semi-final, Lansdowne Road

What a great show of strenght against another top French team in the HC semi!

The atmosphere was buzzing from the start with the stadium packed with nearly all Leinster supporters and dancers (including Kara!) out with flags, representing each of the 30 players.

Dancers & Flags for Leinster pre semi, Kara as Seán (7).

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Toulouse Lion confident pre semi
Toulouse’s Lion looked happy but maybe a bit too casual. Leinster’s looked a lot more determined!
Leinster Lion more determined pre semi
In action, Leinster never quite hit their peak but had enough for a very talented and experienced Toulouse, that kept a good defence.

Reddan fires out a pass for Leinster - HC Semi
Roll on the Final and the Northampton bruisers.


Baltimore and Cork Area – Review of 2010 – October

October

Enjoyed Magners New Lansdowne Rd Stadium - Leinster Vs Munster, Magners LeagueLeague Rugby at the new Lansdowne Rd. – Leinster Vs Munster – proper rugby!

The stadium seating is very steep so that you are really looking down on the players, especially if youy are in row zzz!  Actually some of the roof supports get in the way a bit up there but its still pretty good and has a much better atmosphere than Croker.

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Grey Seal on Liffey Walk Bridge, Dublin ,

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In Dublin, a Grey Seal had taken to lying on the water-calming floats of the walk bridge over the Liffey.

Many passer-bys were confronted by wildlife without having to go anywhere!

He (or she) seemed to be quite happy and non-chalent lying on the rounded floats – I don’t know how he (or she) stayed above water!

Spider, Tetragnatha extensa (Male), cocooning prey in web in back garden.

Incidentally, how come the floats are still broken?  How come they broke so soon on what was supposed to be a great piece of engineering?  And why aren’t the builders / designers fixing them for free?

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In the garden, spiders were busy.  This one on its web between thistles, was cocooning its prey.

This is a reasobable sized spider – a Tetragnatha extensa, I suspect – but compare its size with the tiny spider with an even tinier fly, in between the ‘bristles’ atop the nearby thistle head!

Spider, Xysticus cristatus, Female, with prey on Thistle head back gardenThere really does seem to be a place for everybody!

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Castlehaven Bay area from Reen Pier
Castlehaven Bay area from Reen Pier

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Near the end of October we took a short trip to Cork centred on Baltimore.

Rosscarbery Bay & Little Island Strand, Owenahinchy, Co. Cork
Rosscarbery Bay & Little Island Strand, Owenahinchy, Co. Cork

This is a beautiful part of Ireland that rewards visitors with a wide range of scenery, from wild coasts to long sandy beaches, calm bays and fast mountain streams.

Oystercatcher amongst mussels near Baltimore Cork.

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We didn’t see anythig special in the bird line – perhaps the scenery was too good!  But there were plenty of the usual suspects such as Oystercatvhers – shown here amongst the mussels – and Black-tailed Godwits.

Black_tailed Godwit resting, Kinsale Harbour, Commoge.

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Seafari rib. Baltimore Harbour, Cork.

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We had intended to get over to Cape Clear but never did!  Will have to go back soon.

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Instead we took a sea tour in a rib which was great. Apart from being enjoyable in its own right as a sort of offshore Disney ride, the scenery was completely different from offshore and there was lots of wildlife to see.

.Common Dolphin jumping, off Cape Cllear Island and Baltimore coast

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The skipper expected to see Whales at this time of year but apparently they hadn’t come inshore as much yet that year.

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We did see Seals, Gannets and quite a few Dolphin schools – don’t know what they were learning but they seemed to be enjoying it!

Black-headed Gull living dangerously, Dirk Bay, Co.Cork
Every day do one thing that frightens you … like this Gull!

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The region is well worth a visit or two.  Apart from the birds, animals and flora that you just have to see, the terrain (and sea) is wild like it’s meant to be with sharp rugged cliffs and strong breaking waves.

Fishing boat leaving Sherkin Island and Baltimore Harbour mouth at Sunset from Beacon
Fishing boat leaving Sherkin Island and Baltimore Harbour mouth at Sunset

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Best of all after a tiring day exploring you can enjoy good food spectacular sunsets and maybe a glass of wine.


Swans & Rugby – Review of 2010 – Feb

February

This month starts the international rugby season.              

Ireland played Italy at Croke Park and Paul O’Connell was in command.

I’m lucky to live near Dublin but in the countryside.  The fields nearby are important as wintering feeding grounds for whooper swans and Greglag Geese.  Regrettably the National Roads Authority is planning to build a 4 lane road right through these fields which will seriously endanger these fantastic birds which are supposed to be protected in Ireland.

What is really craszy is that there is already a perfectly good road – the N 81 serving Blessington and Carlow, and local people really want a better bus service or preferrably a train or tram service.  Maybe the economic crisis will kill the madness for a while.

Anyway Whooper Swans arrive every winter.  Here is one of them siting on and melting the heavy frost.

Whooper Swan in frost

Whooper Swan head

The most obvious difference between Whooper Swans and our more common Mute Swan is the beak colour, which is red in the Mute and yellow in the Whooper.  We also have another Swan, Bewick’s, with a yellow beak but it is a little smaller than the others.

Mute Swan