The Irish running rivalry fuelled by hate, Limerick’s magical summer and the week’s best sportswriting

1. “Chamney concedes he became obsessed with the rivalry, admitting that when Campbell raced in Australia he’d wake up at the crack of dawn to check his result. Then there was the time he was abroad, unable to get online, so he called a friend in Clonmel and demanded the play-by-play on Campbell’s race at the Paris Diamond League.

 ”I was paying a euro a minute, roaming charges riddled, just to find out what he was up to. But that was the biggest thing in my life for five years. I needed that energy, that f**king resentment and bitterness I had towards him. I love it. I get off on it.”

Cathal Dennehy wrote about the Irish running rivalry fueled by hate for the Irish Examiner.

Thomas Chamney wins ahead of rival David Campbell in 2009.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

2. This should have been an easy piece to write. All the reasons we’re going to miss Fernando Alonso in Formula 1. All the things that made him, no, that make him, a great driver. One of the finest ever to set foot inside a Formula 1 car. And yet, as with all things Fernando, it’s not quite that simple.

If only the story of Fernando Alonso was simply one of a desperately talented racer with the world at his feet. But it’s not.

 F1 Digital presenter Will Buxton penned a lovely tribute to Fernando Alonso.

3. “The first thing I learned when I became a judge is that the only place a fight can be scored accurately is from the judge’s chair. That was a hard pill to swallow, considering I had scored from home, the first row, several rows back, or from the stands at live venues. I remember challenging the chief of officials on this subject and he bluntly told me I was wrong and would understand when I began judging. He was right.

We have all seen fights where we have disagreed with a judge’s decision. I cannot speak for fights that appear to be blatant robberies but I can speak for those fights that are too close to call. If the fight is remotely competitive and the two boxers are exchanging, the only people who can accurately score the fight are the judges – not the referee, not press row, not those sitting ringside and not those sitting at home. There are a number of judges around the ring (three for pro fights, five for amateur fights) for a reason: judges seated on various sides of the ring have the best vantage point for scoring rounds accurately. I am constantly challenged on that statement, but I stand behind it firmly.

When scoring a fight, a judge must consider three things: 

1) Number of quality blows on the target area 
2) Domination of the round by technical and tactical superiority 
3) Competitiveness.”

‘What I have learned from scoring 528 fights as a boxing judge,’ by Karla Cauto for The Queensberry Rules via The Guardian.

4. “Mathieu isn’t afraid of much, but for several reasons, a three-letter question terrifies him: Why?

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Tyrann Mathieu.

Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Some of his earliest memories are of examining photographs, remembering the faces that weren’t there instead of the ones that were.

His biological father was absent from any picture after Mathieu was 2, swallowed by a life sentence following a conviction for second-degree murder. Three years after that, his grandfather’s heart quit, and so his face was gone from photos, too. An uncle disappeared after he was murdered; an aunt was gone after a car accident.

Unpleasant as those reasons were, the boy could accept them. But why was his mother, Tyra, never in the pictures? Come to think of it, why was she never in the bleachers during his youth games? Why were her arms never those surrounding him when he was injured or sad? Why was it he lived with his grandparents and then Aunt Sheila and Uncle Tyrone?”

‘One question has tortured Tyrann Mathieu’s entire life. He’s not sure he wants the answer’ — Kent Babb spoke to the Houston NFL star for The Washington Post.

5. “You know that for some people it hasn’t worked out right. For some families in this country, winning an All-Ireland was the worst thing that ever happened their family. Someone drinks too much or has a crash on a night out, or if relationships break up or break down. Or someone ends up in a situation where they are not feeling great after it’s all over.

“It can be the worst thing that happens a family, that their son or their partner could win an All-Ireland. And I didn’t want them to ever end up in a position where they regretted winning an All-Ireland. That’s what my fear was. And I could only tell them on the day of the All-Ireland itself that it starts today. You don’t start thinking about looking after yourself, and looking after everyone else, a week later. It needed to start right there. And I wanted them to just enjoy it. I just wanted the enjoyment to continue.

Limerick manager John Kiely with captain Declan Hannon.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I want them to be able to look back in 10 years’ time and be proud and have great memories of it. In 20 and 30 years’ time and that their families will be able to look back on this experience as something positive for them. And I didn’t want them to say, ‘my God, that was the start of an awful time for us’.

“How regretful would that be, to spend your whole life trying to win an All-Ireland as a player. And for that to turn out to be the catalyst for an episode in your life you regret. That’s the point.

“And at the end of the day you care about the players an awful lot, and you don’t want something negative to happen to someone you care about.”

John Kiely was in conversation with the Irish Examiner’s Larry Ryan, looking through a selection of images from Limerick’s magical summer in a fascinating in-depth interview.

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