It's time for us to once again give you a little taster of what you could have been listening to this week, had you taken the plunge and become a Second Captains World Service member. Leinster and Ireland legend Shane Horgan was in rare form looking ahead to this weekend's European Champions Cup semi-finals, as well as looking back 10 years, to the day when Leinster were nearly cheated out of their first Heineken Cup by the Harlequins 'bloodgate' controversy. And there's also Ken's politics podcast from last week, after he spoke to David Wallace-Wells, author of "The Uninhabitable Earth", about the looming disaster of climate change.
Tiger Woods has won a few major titles in his time. 22 years ago he won his first Masters title by 12 shots. He won the US Open in 2000 by 15 shots. He won the British Open the same year by 8 shots. But has there ever been anything like the 1-stroke victory he held over the field yesterday afternoon? Malachy Clerkin and Lawrence Donegan join us to talk about the magnitude of Tiger's comeback, the drama of his victory, and the lamentations of his vanquished foes. Is there now a chance again that he will take on Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major wins, or will the brilliance of his 15th carry him off into the sunset? Plus - Eoin McDevitt is a tiger, and he wants you to hear him roar; Murph wants a lizard named after him, and Ken has the latest non-seismic news from the FAI.
With John Delaney's departure from the FAI expected - but at time of recording not yet confirmed - we discuss the latest developments at Abbottstown and how Irish football ended up in this mess. It was another sensational weekend in what already looks like the highest standard of title race ever in the Premier League - with Salah returning to his best, Hendo forcing chunk after chunk of humble pie down Ken's throat, and Kevin de Bruyne compensating for the relative lack of drama in City's win over Palace with a superior Players Tribune interview. We are joined by Rory Smith to talk about Liverpool's win, how they have evolved since last season, and why this rivalry - at least between the managers - has been so damn respectful.
Ken's mood got darker as the week went on, and it started with his philosophy on dreaming big. John Delaney said nothing, which said everything about how Ireland works. And in the Champions League we ask is Ole careering off course? Its our weekly taster of the Second Captains World Service...
It has been a banner few weeks for FAI statements, with each one more dramatic than the last. Today's edition featured confirmation that John Delaney would indeed appear at the Oireachtas committee hearing on Wednesday, and a tantalising suggestion that the FAI board were not quite as up to speed on matters relating to the €100,000 bridging loan as had been previously suggested. John Heslin has been a part of Westmeath football for a while now, so he knows better than most of the crazy yo-yoing that Westmeath have done in the football league - of the last 12 years, 10 of them have finished with them either getting promoted or relegated. They won promotion from Division 3 this year, and finished it off with a league final win over Laois on Saturday, and John joins us on the show. Matt Williams tells us how excited he is about the arrival of the Irish 7s team onto the main circuit for the 2020 season after their victory in Hong Kong this weekend plus there's PhDs and football, Rory McIlroy, Becky Lynch and 'real' sports.
Watford are in the Cup final and Troy Deeney has some learnings he'd like to share. It was another weekend when again City gently outwitted their opponents like a superintelligent AI. The impression of City's challenge is cool blue and serene, like a picture of our planet from space. Liverpool's challenge is summed up in the pictures of the celebrating Jordan Henderson, a man-sized aneurysm about to explode. We're joined by Jack Pitt-Brooke to look ahead to Spurs v City in tomorrow night's Champions League quarter-finals. Does Kevin de Bruyne have the best brain in football?
A lock of Second Captains World Service hair (probably Ken's)...
It was an utterly brilliant weekend of rugby, with huge wins for Leinster and Munster, and a host of heroes and villains. If Jacob Stockdale had touched the ball down when already over the try-line, or if Tadhg Beirne hadn't ensured he got the ref's attention to an off-the-ball incident, both Ulster and Edinburgh might have semi-finals to look forward to. We ask Shane Horgan if he's ever hammed it up... and if he's ever dropped the ball over the try-line. Plus there's Ross Byrne's platoon moment, Mayo fans in tears in March, Dan Leavy's injury nightmare, and the morals of diving.
Liverpool's late win over Spurs at Anfield didn't show either side at their very best - but it sure as hell gave everybody a lot to talk about. Why do we always praise and criticise players and performances based on how they end? When is the right time to pass in front of goal? Who should be the Player of the Year? Jonathan Wilson joins us to explain the difference between bottling and choking and which of Liverpool and Manchester City are more likely to fall victim to either phenomenon in the coming weeks. And Kieran Canning talks to us about yesterday's Old Firm game in which Steven Gerrard's hotheads were played to perfection by Celtic's troll king, Scott Brown. Plus there's Kop sucking another one in, Salah on Salah, Bill Hicks, Philip Larkin, l'il Grizou and FAI to infinity.
Richie Sadlier on Mick's joyful football and fan free will, Ken on Ole (the only choice, James McClean's scary Irish Identity Test, Irish woman in AFLW Grand Final and Champions Cup QF AHOY!
In the history of totally daft weeks in Irish football, this one would have to rank pretty high - and we still have plenty of drama to come on and off the field. As John Delaney retires from his role as Chief Executive of the FAI, for a newly-created role as Executive Vice-President, we ponder what this all means for the balance of power in the association. Is this tantamount to a demotion for Delaney, or will he continue to be the main power-broker? We speak to Mark Tighe of the Sunday Times, who has done so much brilliant work to reveal this story, on how it went to press, the reaction, and the drama of a high court injunction mere hours before your story is due to go to press. We're also chatting to former Ireland international Damien Delaney on Ireland's short-comings on the field on Saturday night, and why we can't use conditions as an excuse for a pretty terrible first performance of Big Mick's new era. Plus there's Statement No. 7, teleportation devices, John The Baptist, and Sergio Ramos.
A taste of the Second Captains world service this week
Ireland have had a miserable spring, and the scale of the 25-7 defeat to Wales on Saturday could hardly be over-stated. Why do the players lack composure? What has happened their skillset? Why are they so poor at comebacks? Is it time for a major overhaul of the game-plan? Gerry Thornley of the Irish Times and Mattie Williams try (12.50 mins) and take stock of where we are after two really depressing defeats at either end of the tournament. Is Joe Schmidt burnt out? Does he need help from outside the group, and have we, in fact, become a bad team overnight - we try and supply some answers. Ken gives his reaction (6.15 mins) to the news over the weekend that John Delaney loaned the FAI €100,000 of his own money to solve a short-term cash-flow problem in the association. Plus there's Owen Farrell's Jedi mind trick, Corofin's All-Ireland final brilliance on St Patrick's Day, and Eoin reheats a McTepid Take first aired while under the influence...
A taste of whats on the Second Captains world service this week...
Ireland seemed to learn something about themselves in the games against Italy, Scotland and England - and that regained momentum led them to a comfortable bonus point win over France. Eoin Reddan joins Gerry Thornley to figure out what changed in the intervening weeks, what tactical issues were resolved, and what role high 5's and bro hugs played in the turnaround. Aoife Lane, founder and former chairperson of the WGPA wrote a brilliant column in the Irish Examiner about why ladies football and camogie are run by separate organisations set aside from the GAA, despite the many and obvious ways in which the games co-exist together with Gaelic football and hurling - and she joins us for a chat. Plus there's the man Eoin is pinning all our hopes on to win the 6 Nations, we get an update on the current whereabouts of friend of the show Ken Burley, we talk some more (but still not enough) about Carlow, and McDevitt workshops some of his stand-up material.
So looking back, Sergio, what have you learned from your experiences with Real Madrid? Well, that's a tricky question, Terry. But as I always say, we skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels cross the floor... Sergio Ramos' Twitter self-interview provides some light relief after a more-than-averagely violent and chaotic weekend of football. It's a problem football hasn't spent much time thinking about lately: how can fans be dissuaded from invading the pitch and attacking the players? Also today, we speak to Rory Smith about his NYT interview with Raheem Sterling and the media's role in fuelling racism and prejudice.
When Ciara Mageean sat down to record an episode of The Players Chair with Richie Sadlier last year, she was coping with changing coach, living in England, and trying to put disappointment behind her. We're delighted to catch up with her today to talk about her bronze in the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow last night. Tommy Walsh is experiencing a third coming in the Kerry football team - 11 years after bursting onto the scene as a teenager, and 4 years after failing to make any impact on his return from Australia. It's been one of the stories of the NFL this year, and his club manager Mike Quirke is on the line to tell us what's changed. Plus there's Ken's by-now obligatory near-death experience while abroad, we reveal the exclusive audio of the moment Peter O'Mahony asked Joe Schmidt if he and the boys could have a few beers, and the abomination in Ulster schools Gaelic football that had the country talking.
Ken is back from Australia and Eoin is back from Premier Sports to talk about the weekend's football. Jurgen Klopp's tetchy responses after Liverpool's draw at Everton suggest that some of those questions about whether they took enough risk in the game were a bit too close to the bone. Meanwhile City shrugged off more Football Leaks revelations to cruise past Bournemouth and retake the lead. How does this weekend affect the balance of the title race psychodrama? And why would neutrals rather see Liverpool choke than City? Also today, Dermot Corrigan joins us from the Real Madrid training ground to discuss how the European champions are taking a week off being dominated by Barcelona at their own stadium.
Just what is going on with Ireland? It might seem a strange question to ask after a weekend that saw England beaten, Ireland win their second game in a row, and secure their first bonus point of the tournament - but that's where we are. Shane Horgan is starting to get a little worried, and he's on the line to share his concerns. Ireland might just be trying too hard to force the issue. But when the brilliance of the New Zealand performance is still so fresh in the memory, it's hard not to be frustrated at the sheer number of elementary mistakes being made. Wales legend Jonathan Davies is on the line to tell us just how good people in Wales are feeling after their monumental performance in taking down England on Saturday - a game that showcased all the glorious madness of the 6 Nations. And while Congress was for the most part, deathly dull, there was one decision that rankled - Dublin will continue to be allowed play 2 games in Croke Park this year. There's a lot of blame to go around regarding this situation, and Murph doesn't spare any of the guilty parties... Plus there's Peter O'Mahony's pre-France game hangover that we feel needs to happen, tired Italian stereotypes make a social media comeback, and Eoin actually really likes Warren Gatland.