The ‘athletic freak’ that is Lindsay Peat, José’s quiet departure, and the week’s best sportswriting
1. Imagine, just for a second, that a man did all of this. His mug would be splashed across Connolly Station Bridge so people marching on Croker could see him. His brand would amass seven-figure annual returns from a post-career media profile. He’d be a household name, loved or despised with everyone agreeing he’s an ‘athletic freak’.
O’Connor, as a coach, is well placed to explain how it is even possible for an athlete to play four sports at the highest level.
“Pound for pound she is the strongest female athlete I’ve come across. It is just sheer force of personality as well. If we were practising high catching she’d go ‘Right, we are practicing together’. Mainly because nobody else wanted an elbow in the gob but also she knew I worked a lot of the high catch ‘You practice it all the time and you are the tallest so I want to practice with you ‘cause you’ll be the hardest to beat.’
“I’ve never come across anyone like her. I think it goes back to the essence of Lindsay as a sports person. She just makes it happen. In her DNA, she is a sports woman.”
And a mother. And a coach. And a public speaker. And a PE teacher. And a clerical officer for the HSE.
And an international rugby player.
The Irish Times’ Gavin Cummiskey profiles Ireland’s evergreen prop, Lindsay Peat — formerly a Dublin footballer, Ireland basketball star and underage soccer international — ahead of her 34th cap against Italy last weekend.
2. He didn’t even win the news cycle! José Mourinho is out as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, sacked after just 17 months, sacked only days before he was set to lead the team into the final of the Carabao Cup, and it wasn’t even the biggest soccer story of the day. Not even the biggest of the morning! The Carabao Cup would have been José’s first chance to win his first trophy at Tottenham, which hasn’t won a trophy of any description since George W. Bush was president. But the unceremonious firing of one of the world’s most famous managers was below-the-fold news compared to the announcement of the European Super League. And so the tenure of Mourinho at Spurs ended in the least Mourinho style imaginable — quietly, and while most people were paying attention to something else.
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‘Where Did You Go, José Mourinho?’ writes Brian Phillips for The Ringer.
3. O’Toole, who captained Ireland for 10 years and remains the team’s all-time top scorer, recounts similar tales of Taylor. She first came across the “baby-faced” 16-year-old at an international camp where younger players were being introduced to the more senior players.
“She was able to tell me then what she was going to do,” O’Toole tells ESPN. “She said: ‘I’m going to box at the Olympics.’” When O’Toole reminded her that women weren’t allowed to box at the Olympics, Taylor’s response was simple: “I’ll get boxing at the Olympics.”
It was a prescient statement from Taylor. Years later, O’Toole and Taylor would carry the Olympic torch together through Dublin as part of its relay to London 2012, ahead of the first boxing competition at the Games — they were sharing in that history, but excelling at the top of two different worlds.
Taylor playing for Ireland in 2006.
Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO
“Katie is so shy. When we were on the buses [to games and training] she wouldn’t say anything,” O’Toole says. “Me and Katie carried the Olympic torch together, and she was so nervous, pulling on me all nervous like ‘Olivia, Olivia, Olivia.’ To me! I should have been like that with her.”
ESPN’s Kathleen McNamee turns back time to Katie Taylor’s glittering soccer career before she took the boxing world by storm.
4. I always thought that it was the players who felt the most pressure when it came to matches, but having written my first match report on the Treaty United and Cork City game last weekend, my opinion has changed.
Of course, I’m going to be a bit biased and say that the pressure of reporting on a game is more intense than playing in one, now that I’ve switched roles from a player to a journalist, but honestly, last Friday, I’ve never felt pressure like the pressure I experienced when I was playing in games.
It’s said that it’s difficult to replicate the feeling a player gets after winning a game and that when a player retires, he will never experience the high of scoring a winning goal, but I’m not so sure that is true now.
Former Cork City striker Graham Cummins on the move from the pitch to the press box for The Evening Echo.
5. It’s mighty hot at 7:30 a.m. on an overcast March day in “Titletown.” That’s Tuscaloosa, for the unacquainted, where the Alabama Crimson Tide reside—the Death Star of college football, a team that’s won six national titles in the last 13 years. DeVonta Smith, the latest in a line of wunderkind wide receivers from ‘Bama, is walking into coach Nick Saban’s castle—err, training facility—for an early workout session. Last season, Smith shredded record books for the SEC (most receiving touchdowns in a season with 23), ‘Bama (most receiving yards in a season with 1,856), and the country (46 touchdowns in his college career, the most ever by a Power 5 player). He even had 12 catches, 215 yards and three scores in the national title game, which Alabama won. Excuse me, he did all of that just in the first half.
DeVonta Smith had a remarkable journey to the NFL Draft, as brilliantly told by Tyler R. Tynes for British GQ.