It has been a dramatic week on the Second Captains World Service, and we thank the football Gods that Ken, Murph, Eoin and Richie were not armed during a particularly heated debrief on Tuesday after Ireland's 1-1 draw with Denmark. With disaster narrowly averted, Ken went to Tallaght to see the Ireland u-21s, and his love of the game was duly restored, before his heart was crushed again by Daniel Levy and Jose Mourinho. Check out what you've been missing on the Second Captains World Service as we roar at each other about James McClean, Matt Doherty, Mick McCarthy and many, many others...
The Rugby World Cup is barely over but time waits for no man, and it seemed like the Irish players were only too happy to re-focus their attention on a tournament that they actually like playing in, and have even won from time to time. Shane Horgan and Gerry Thornley of the Irish Times guide us through the main talking points of the opening weekend of this season's tournament - with Saracens fielding a second string, Ireland's provinces invincible, and a lot of Irish players generally looking pretty angry. Plus - there's an admonishment for Ken for not 'spoiler-alerting' the ending of a book that was written in 1856, Murph salutes a young GAA player heading 'off foreign', and an emailer tells us of the perils of coaching kids.
With the Danes in town and maybe ready to teach us another cruel lesson, we take refuge in nostalgia and revisit the week 10 years ago when Ireland went full Alex Jones. We also look to the longer-term future, with Kieran Lucid and Brendan Dillon joining us in studio to bring us up to speed with what's been happening on the question of the all-island league. But we can't hide forever from the present. Tonight it's Ireland v Denmark for a place in the Euros, and hopefully James McClean can prove as uncompromising a presence on the pitch as he was last week in the pressroom. Eoin does his best to talk us into positivity, and there’s Mick bites your hand off, goal communism and cheats a-plenty.
Ken Early gives his thoughts on the rise of the poppy.
Name another podcast that in one week gives you a 2 minute Denmark grudge audiobed, Yanis Varoufakis being told the EU humiliated him and Paddy Holohan telling Richie Sadlier what its really like to step into an MMA cage? ITS THE SECOND CAPTAINS WORLD SERVICE.....YO!
The European Rugby Champions Cup starts this week, with last year's champions Saracens widely tipped to retain their title... or at least they *were* widely tipped, until they were given a 35 point deduction in the English Premiership, and fined £5 million for salary cap infractions. We talk to Shane Horgan and Mike Aylwin of the Guardian about what Saracens' suspension tells us about the sport's business model, why rugby clubs need to rethink their strategy, and why other English clubs have wasted no time sticking the boot into Saracens since the punishment was announced. Mary Cain used to be one of America's most talented young athletes, but in an interview with the New York Times last week she revealed the horrendous pressure she was put under while in the Nike Oregon project to drastically lose weight. Sunday Times journalist Rebecca Myers wrote a fascinating piece yesterday on the back of this Mary Cain story about the culture of the sport and the effect on their bodies and minds of trying to live up to all the demands, and Rebecca is on the show today. We also discover why passionate anthem-singing = wins, David Clifford wows us again, good news for fans of our "I'll Tell You Who Wrote It" book club, and we discover why rugby's demise is (predictably) actually football's fault.
The Ireland women's hockey team can't stop creating history - from a World Cup final, to record crowds, to The Olympics. We talk to Nicci Daly, one of the stars of a team that keep getting it done in tight games and on big occasions. South Africa were far from perfect and won the Rugby World Cup with a game-plan that lacked ambition and scope, but had the best basics - scrum, lineout, maul, defence - of any team that's ever played the game. Were England and NZ too idealistic? Are defence coaches the most important men in the game? And we ask Eoin Reddan and Shane Horgan if Ireland were right to be conservative after all, and what the next step should be in the giant fix that's required. Plus there's Katie's emotional night, styles make fights, Ken's tribute to Gay Byrne, and Ireland's peno shootout DNA.
Saturday saw probably the most heartbreaking come-from-behind win of Pep Guardiola's career, as City returned to their dressing room only to hear that Liverpool had scored a late winner of their own - but were the City manager's supposed comments about Mané's diving misreported? Mané didn't really dive, of course, as VAR should have decided - and no, we can't avoid talking about VAR forever - it's clear now almost everyone has now turned against it, we discuss what's going wrong and why. We also talk a little bit about Richard Keogh and Harry Arter. Then we welcome David Sneyd to studio to talk about Shamrock Rovers' win in the FAI Cup final, his interview with Jack Byrne and the season that was in the League of Ireland.
From F2 freestylers, to Xhaka haters, to free love, to Irishmen loving England - its been another big week on the Second Captains World Service, and as its the start of the month, its the perfect time to secondcaptains.com/join
Arsenal v Crystal Palace didn't look a likely game of the weekend beforehand, but at the bloodthirsty cauldron the Emirates has become, anyone can end up being fed to the lions. We also discuss Liverpool's victory over Spurs and what the future might hold for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane. Then we're joined in studio by the F2 Freestylers, Jez Lynch and Billy Wingrove, who talk to us about how young players learn skills these days, and how the culture of football is changing - almost too fast to keep up.
Why always us? It’s been another horrendous Rugby World Cup campaign for Ireland, and we are left with the same old questions. Eoin Reddan and Shane Horgan are both on the show today to try and make sense of our 46-14 mauling at the hands of New Zealand on Saturday. There’s a fair bit of blame to go around, and we apportion it as judiciously as possible. Eoin tries to rank and rate our World Cup humiliations (where does 2019 come in?), there’s tenured rugby players, and Eddie Jones’ finishers.
We've been trying not to talk about VAR too much but the Premier League isn't making it easy. With video referees apparently reluctant to intervene, is it time for the referees to be forced to take the opportunity to overrule themselves? We also discuss a new study that suggests that while football may be a game you play with your brain, it appears not to be very good for your brain. John Brewin and Mark Critchley join us to analyse yesterday's draw at Old Trafford. Was this a turning point for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Has Ed Woodward's propaganda blitz over the last week reassured United fans? Did Liverpool show their true colours?
Its been another wet n wild week on the good ship Second Captains. But amidst all the on- and off-field drama of our national teams competing on two fronts, one constant remains. When we send Ken Early out on assignment, something daft **will** happen. And so it was this week that he walked at a brisk speed into a plate-glass door in a McDonalds in Geneva, and this incident makes up but a fraction of this week's preview of current attractions on the Second Captains World Service. There's also Eoin Reddan and Shane Horgan expertly breaking down Ireland's chances against New Zealand on Saturday morning, and Joe Canning gives us a pretty bleak look into the controversy currently enveloping Galway hurling, as they lurch into winter still without a senior hurling manager, as the county board fights off criticism from its main sponsor, concerned fans and auditors.
Ireland beat Samoa on Saturday morning, but that never looked likely to be enough to get us top spot in the pool, and so it's New Zealand in a World Cup quarter-final next Saturday morning. Are there ANY grounds for optimism? Eoin outlines a few, and Gerry Thornley feels there's still enough quality in this Irish team to pull off a major surprise. New Zealand television superstar and friend of the show Scotty Stevenson gives us his impressions of an extraordinary night in Yokohama last night. We also talk to David Epstein, author of "The Sports Gene", about Eliud Kipchoge's sub-2 hour marathon in Vienna on Sunday morning, and Brigid Kosgei smashing the women's world marathon a couple of hours later. Plus there's Stuart Barnes and why the rugby world wants us to lose, sneakers, and a grandchildren to tell time moment.
Ireland and Georgia played out the dullest of 0-0 draws on Saturday, but we must ask an unpalatable question - was it any worse than any of our other performances this year, with the only difference being this time we didn't score? Any lingering concerns that Aaron Connolly might be 'over-awed' by international football lasted about 2 minutes, as he created more in 12 minutes than his 10 team-mates could muster up in the preceding 78. Former Irish international Damien Delaney is genuinely excited by him, but can't help wondering why we keep giving man of the match awards to centre-halves. Connolly's electrifying performance might have even been a little embarrassing for Mick McCarthy - does he now start him, or would that be bowing down to his critics, the vast majority of whom of course have never played professional football? Plus there's Daniel James' extraordinary acting prowess, England's anchor Declan Rice, and the Schmeichels père et fils.
Last night we helped to launch Richie Sadlier's new book, Recovering, at the Chocolate Factory on King's Inns Street. In this interview, Richie explains how he decided to write the book, discusses some of the personal revelations in the story, and tells us how he feels now it's all out there.
Ireland have been undone at rugby world cups in many different ways over the years - from Michael Lynagh, to 15-man lineouts, to Juan Imhoff... but we've never been knocked out by a freak weather event before - UNTIL NOW. It turns out there are alternative arrangements in place if indeed a typhoon does roll into town on Saturday and makes our final match against Samoa unplayable... but it's a World Cup, which means we're a little jumpier than usual. Gerry Thornley of the Irish Times joins us from Japan. The World Athletics Championships in Doha have been a bit of a disaster, from the empty stands that we saw at the start of the week to the 4-year ban handed out in the middle of the event to the most recognisable coach in the sport, Alberto Salazar. Salazar's woes began with a BBC Panorama documentary, and we speak today to the maker of that programme, Mark Daly. Plus there's permutations galore, Seb Coe, Ciara Mageean and the Tier 1 golden circle.
Irish football has been free of John Delaney for just over a week now - and already a great green wave of Gaelic genius threatens to engulf the Premier League. Is it fair that Mauricio Pochettino's position at Tottenham should be questioned simply because his team were blown away by the most talented human being ever to emerge from the city of Galway? After we have surveyed the happiness and unhappiness of various Premier League families, Miguel Delaney and Simon Hughes join us to analyse the weekend's football. How are Liverpool keeping their heads while all around are losing theirs? And what are Manchester United and Tottenham going to do about their embattled managers?