Ireland's most successful sports achiever

Discussion in 'Letting Off Steam' started by Duke of Marmalade, 8 Mar 2014.

  1. Duke of Marmalade

    Duke of Marmalade Frequent Poster

    I need AAM support. I got into an argument with folk who claimed that You Know Who was Ireland's most successful sports achiever. I pointed out that Arkle had easily surpassed the achievements of YKW. Arkle won the pinnacle of his world sport from 1964 to 1966. YKW never got beyond the quarter finals of his sport on a world stage.

    The argument degenerated into questions about Arkle's ethnicity and at that stage I switched off.
  2. Delboy

    Delboy Frequent Poster

    YKW plays a sport thats only taken seriously in about 8 countries worldwide (despite all the hype in this country) . So if it's Ireland most successful achiever on a world stage, thats him out.

    Eamon Coughlan would be up there....the 'chairman of the boards'. Though no Olympic medal.
    Barry McGuigan would also be up there...
    Martin Sheridan won 3G and 1B at 2 Olympic games for the US, but was born in Mayo

    Some serious greats have played GAA in both codes, but as it's only Irish based, that might rule them out in a search like this.
    Though Jim Stynes would be close for the greatest as he more than made his mark in Aussie rules- he's revered down there

    I'd go for Stephen Roche. What he did in 1987 (only himself and Eddie Merckx have won the triple crown) was oustanding.

    Also, is this 26 or 32 county stuff we're talking here....George Best and Joey Dunlop!!!
  3. Lex Foutish

    Lex Foutish Frequent Poster

    Very good thread, Duke. :)

    I watched some of yesterday's match. I'm one of the few people in Cork who isn't hugely into YKW's sport but I realised that he's a once in a generation kind of guy. An outstanding player of his sport and an outstanding guy off the pitch also. You couldn't say that about some sporting greats. (And his wife is gorgeous! ;)

    Delboy, Eamonn Coughlan is my all time Irish sporting hero. I was a bit of an athlete in my day and I just loved the man! My favourite Irish sporting moment ever was his 5,000m win in the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki. I was abroad and watched it in the bar of the hotel I was staying in. From Wikipedia........

    Coghlan was nicknamed "The Chairman of the Boards" because of his success on indoor tracks. He won 52 of his 70 races at 1500 m and 1 Mile from 1974 to 1987. He set the world record for the indoor mile run with a time of 3.52.6 at the San Diego Sports Arena[4] in San Diego in 1979. He lowered this to 3:50.6 in 1981 and then bettered it to 3:49.78 in 1983 at New Jersey's Meadowlands Arena indoor arena. His record stood until 1997 when it was broken by Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj in a time of 3:48.45. It is still the second fastest indoor mile of all time and is still, more than 30 years on, a European record. Coghlan's 1983 time was the fastest mile ever run in the United States until 10 June 2007, when Daniel Kipchirchir Komen ran 3:48.28 outdoors in Eugene, Oregon. It remains one of only four sub-3:50 miles run on American soil.[5] By and large, Coghlan was more successful at indoor running notwithstanding a later world title in 1983 over 5000 meters.
    Coghlan also set the record for the indoor 2000 meter run at 4:54.07 in 1987 which stood until Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia ran 4:52.86 in 1998 (which was broken in 2007 when Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia ran 4:49.99). Coghlan won the world famous Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in NYC's Madison Square Garden a record seven times (1977, 1979–81, 1983, 1985, 1987) his last win being at the age of 34.

    He was also the first man over 40 years of age to run a sub 4 minute mile. (He ran 83 sub 4 minute miles in his career.)

    Wee Barry was great but he didn't have the number of wins as World Champion that would have him rated as our best ever.

    Sonia also has to be very close to the top of the list.

    1987 was an incredible year for Stephen Roche but there's a lot of innuendo about the place about him, though it has to be said that none of it has ever been proven.

    Michelle Smith is our most sussesful Olympian but innuendo has dogged her career also. And it must be stressed that she wasn't stripped of any of her Olympic medals, despite getting a 4 year ban later in her career.

    But to me, our greatest ever sports person has to be Padraig Harrington. A short few years ago, 3 Majors for an Irishman would have been the stuff of fantasy but he achieved it! It's hard to see him win another, given the way he's playing at the moment but no other Irishman has achieved such sporting success on the international stage.

    Langer, Olazabal, Lyle, Goosen, Jacklin, Miller, Norman, Couples, Furyk and Love have all won fewer Majors that he has. Stricker, Garcia, Montgomerie, Westwood, Donald, Stenson and Poulter have never won any Major......

    I've had the pleasure, over the past 15 years or so of being up close and personal with many European and USPGA Tour players and Padraig Harrington would probably come out tops, in my opinion, as the nicest and most obliging one of them all. I've been in his company a number of times and he's a very ordinary guy, totally unaffected by his sporting successes.

    I just hope he can re-discover the form he had a few years ago and get back on the winning trail again. :)
  4. Joe_90

    Joe_90 Frequent Poster

    Lex, a very coherent reply although I was a little surprised with your conclusion. In the context of the question "most successful sports achiever" YKW is the greatest Irish exponent of his craft and one of the greatest to ever play the game in the eyes of those more qualified than me to judge but how does one measure success, clearly much harder in a team sport.

    My vote would have been Eamonn Coughlan, that look on the last corner is brilliant. Katie Taylor would also deserve a mention.
  5. Duke of Marmalade

    Duke of Marmalade Frequent Poster

    I guess you guys are just too young. Watch this. Let me set the scene. Millhouse had won the 1963 Cheltenham Gold Cup in style and so far as the Brits were concerned was invincible. Arkle changed all that and went on to dominate the sport for 3 years. A famous mural in Londonderry screamed "to hell with the Pope and Arkle".

    But this was surely the most gripping moment of them all. Steve Davis was the Millhouse of snooker and after he took an 8 frame lead it was clear that Dennis Taylor would be no Arkle. But Steve fell at that final ball. Even watching it now I expect a different ending:eek: Yep Dennis is from the 6 counties but if snooker was an Olympic sport he would be wearing green.

    The most overrated achievement by a long shot is Italia 90. Ireland played 5 games and won none of them (Romania on penos). They scored 2 goals in 8 hours of actual play.:eek:
  6. Deiseblue

    Deiseblue Frequent Poster

    Best , Danny Blanchflower , Jennings ,Brady , Giles , Keane & McGrath .

    Great players who graced the World's best & most popular sport - a true World stage !

    If I had to pick one it would be George Best
  7. Paddyman

    Paddyman Frequent Poster

    Sean Kelly or Sean Drea?
  8. Ceist Beag

    Ceist Beag Frequent Poster

    YKW was at the top of his sport for 14 years. His record shows:
    Most capped international ever
    6 nations all time top try scorer
    6 nations player of the year 3 times
    4 times a British & Irish Lion - one of only 3 players in 125 years to do so
    4 Triple Crowns
    3 Heineken Cups
    1 (hopefully 2) 6 Nations Championships

    What is remarkable about him is the longevity of his career at the very top. He is still our best center and probably would be next year if he stayed on. He is unquestionably our best player in the best period in Irish rugby ever and is widely acknowledged as the best 13 ever to play the game (in fact he has redefined the role to how a 13 now plays).
    IMHO there is nobody else in any sport who has represented Ireland as well, for as long, and is held in as high regard around the world.
    All that aside though, I really don't see why we need to have this argument - why deride one in order to further another? We can appreciate all our great sports stars without needing to knock others.
    I for one feel extremely grateful to have witnessed the absolute genius of Brian O'Driscoll and am proud that he is not only Irish but that he is the epitome of a gentleman as well and has represented his country so well on so many occasions. He deserves all the credit he gets in my book.
  9. Liamos

    Liamos Frequent Poster

    I prefer to watch sportspeople who provide great & skillful moments. Give me George Best over Roy Keane anyday, Alex Higgins over Dennis Taylor, The Dublin / Kerry teams of the seventies over todays versions.
  10. Sunny

    Sunny Frequent Poster

    I agree but I guess these sorts of arguments helps makes sport interesting!

    YKW deserved all the plaudits that he gets. If he was Australian or Kiwi, we would all be drooling over what he has achieved. I was in Brisbane in 2001 when he scored that try for the Lions and I will never forget the Aussies reaction to it afterwards.

    I was in Sydney a few months earlier to witness Sonia win silver and go so close to achieving Gold. She is worthy of being on any list especially when you consider how she was robbed of the world title by the Chineese. It just never worked for her at Olympics until Sydney.

    What Padraig Harrington has achieved in Golf is outstanding and probably doesn't get the recognition that it deserves.

    I was a huge fan of Stephen Roche when I was younger. I remember being glued to the tv in 87. However, there are too many questions about him individually and cycling in general from that time.

    Closer to home and just because they don't play a global game doesn't mean I appreciate players like Henry Shefflin any less. I would pay to watch the Gooch play football every week and in my mind, you can only say that about truely great sports stars.

    Therefore my top 10 in no particular order are YKW, Sonia O'Sullivan, Roy Keane, Padraig Harrington, Colm Cooper, Henry Shefflin, Ruby Walsh, Eamonn Coghlan, George Best and James Cecil Parke (Google him. Amazing character!)

    I know that list has a very modern slant....
  11. Duke of Marmalade

    Duke of Marmalade Frequent Poster

    Sunny that is an extremely racist line-up. Where is Arkle, Nijinsky, Istabraq?:mad:
  12. TarfHead

    TarfHead Frequent Poster

    Innuendo ? Never saw it called that before :p.

    Major wins when Tiger was absent don't have the same status :p.

    And if any of the other names had ganged up on Harrington and spear tackled him into the tee box, then he could be mentioned in the same conversation as YKW.
  13. Liamos

    Liamos Frequent Poster

    In my opinion, you can't include horses in the discussion. :)
  14. Duke of Marmalade

    Duke of Marmalade Frequent Poster

    I own this thread. I carefully chose the title to have an all inclusive meaning of Irishness.;)

    You know it is amazing to reflect that we are a World power in Horse Racing and next to soccer and athletics that is a very international pursuit. For the narrow minded I am prepared to make the restriction you are imposing and for me Eamonn Coghlan shades it. Dennis Taylor's black ball win was the most exhiliarating moment though. Harrington's achievement is, in statistical terms, huge. How many other country's boast triple Major winners? All the same it takes luck to win three majors, Harrington never really dominated his sport. YKW dominated his sport but Ireland are not just good enough at Rugby and Rugby is simply not international enough for him to claim the title.
  15. so-crates

    so-crates Frequent Poster

    Speciesist rather than racist :) They are all Irish!
  16. Ceist Beag

    Ceist Beag Frequent Poster

    lmao :p
  17. Sunny

    Sunny Frequent Poster

    Jump racing is not a very international pursuit. Outside Ireland, the UK and France, there is very little interest in it so using your logic about international sport, can Arkle really be included?
  18. The_Banker

    The_Banker Frequent Poster

    Would we be if it wasnt for the tax breaks?

    Also, is horse racing a real sport? I always feel it is just an extension of the gambling industry...
    I won £1 on Red Rum in 1977 and "my mother" took it for my credit union account... Never forgave her.

    As a child I grew up watching Jimmy Barry Murphy play hurling on Leeside... Now there was a sporting legend !
  19. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

    I was in school with the guy (though he probably doesn't remember me) and I agree.
  20. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

    I don't think we've ever had anyone who has been as good as BOD for as long in any sport.
    I always find it noteworthy that Iris women seem to be relatively so much better as sport than Irish men.
    I don't think horses should be on the list; two legs good, four legs bad ;)