January 24, 2013
by Emmett Devlin
Dave Gallaher: The Original All Black Captain. Matt Elliott. HarperCollins 2012. 259pp.
Any Kiwi with an interest in rugby and connections with Ireland will enjoy this biography of one of New Zealand’s most famous sportsmen and one of the great – if not the all-time greatest – All Blacks.
The book begins with Gallaher’s birth in 1873 into a shop-owning middle class family in a tiny seaside village in Donegal called Ramelton. His father James was 62 and his mother Anna Maria Hardy McCloskie, James’ second wife, was just 29. Dave was James and Anna Maria’s seventh child, born seven years after they married. Three of their children had died in infancy. Three more were born in Ramelton after Dave. Read the rest of this entry »
July 19, 2012
New Zealand and Ireland both know how to grow green grass and produce top-class racehorses, says Dunedin writer Tony Eyre. A visit to Ireland took him to the Galway Races.
At the end of July, all roads lead to Galway, an Irish county synonymous with horse-racing. The Galway Races were firmly on our agenda.
The fashion stakes at the Galway Races
This world-famous festival, dating back to 1869, is held at Galway’s Ballybrit racecourse and attracts more than 170,000 spectators over the week. The biggest crowds converge on Ladies’ Day, where glamour and fashion compete with top-class racing. Read the rest of this entry »
June 25, 2012
Plenty about Ireland has come our way lately – the O’Kiwi lads have been following the Irish rugby team again; a Dunedin writer on days spent in Dublin; an Irish comedy and the sad state of our free-to-air television; a Kiwi girl on current Irish literature; and a book that analyses corruption in Irish politics.
O’Kiwi lads back on tour
The O’Kiwi lads were back on the road for the All Blacks v Irish test in Auckland, on a tour that probably enjoyed more success than the Irish rugby team.
Later, in the aftermath of the 60-0 hiding dished out by the All Blacks in the third test, Irish fans were calling for the head of coach Declan Kidney. ‘A kidney transplant is required,’ said one fan. ‘A full organ transplant is required,’ responded another.
O’Kiwi On Tour: Jack relaxes in the campervan – it’s a hard life on the road.
Many wondered how a team full of players from Leinster and Ulster, the two provinces that recently contested the European rugby championship in the Heineken Cup final, could fail so completely when playing for Ireland. A similar criticism has for years been levelled at the English soccer team – their outstanding club competition fails to translate into a winning national side. Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2012
I was up at 6.30am last Saturday for one of the year’s big sporting events. My two grandchildren were having their debut games for the Naenae soccer club in the under-6s and under-7s.
My daughter teased me that I was more excited than her kids. Well, I did buy their new red and lime green soccer boots. And I’ve been searching the web for how to teach kids soccer because although I coached rugby for 10 years, I don’t know much about the technicalities of the round-ball game.
The first game of the season at Naenae Park and the tradition continues
I was at Naenae Park by 8.45am with three grandchildren, my daughter and her partner. The two debutantes looked smart in their black, red and white uniforms, like mini-Manchester United players. Grandchild number three, who is two, loved being part of the action so long as he had a ball too.
It was a scene being repeated all over New Zealand in soccer, rugby, league, hockey, netball and other codes: sun shining, kids everywhere, friendly and sociable parents on the sideline who become anxious, amused or proud as the game starts and their offspring tear about the field. Read the rest of this entry »
March 23, 2012
Joanne Doherty, or ‘Jewarne’ as her Dublin friends used to say
St Paddy’s Day brought back memories of exuberant Irish fans at an All Blacks v Ireland game in Dublin, writes Joanne Doherty.
St Patrick’s Day this year was very different – it was quiet! The cicadas in the green bush of our Wairarapa cottage at Waiohine provided the music, the Irish flag was flying at the gate and a friend arrived carrying a basket of green cupcakes with small orange marigold petals on the icing.
The music, the dancing and the craic from our daughter Alice’s marriage to Ben at Waiohine four weeks earlier was still in the air. I think the Doherty family had ‘peaked too early’. Read the rest of this entry »
October 3, 2011
Paul, Sam, Pat, Jack and Hayden in their swish O’Kiwi polo shirts before the Ireland v Australia test
Two weeks travelling around the North Island following the Irish rugby team, in our O’Kiwi On Tour jaunt, has been a lesson in how to enjoy sport.
Read the rest of this entry »