The Giro D’Italia brought the eyes of the sporting world on Ireland in May, with the competition beginning in Belfast before taking in Armagh and Dublin as the 3 day mini tour kicked off the 2014 Giro. The race for the pink jersey was eventually won by Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, but for 3 days in May, Ireland went cycling made. This huge sporting event managed to turn Ireland from green to pink, no easy task, and it also managed to attract thousands of people to Irish shores. With the Giro now in the past, we wanted to take a look at 5 Irish sporting events worth getting along to in 2014.
Irish sporting events in 2014:
1. The Irish Open:
County Cork is home to some of the finest golf courses in Ireland, and among them is the Fota Island Resort which is near Cork City Airport. Fota Island will play host to this year’s Irish Open, which returns to Cork for the first time in 12 years. It promises to be an exciting tournament with two time major winner Rory McIlroy taking part. The 4 day event kicks off on 19th June and will attract many golfing enthusiasts to a golfing break in Cork.
2. American Football:
Croke Park is one of the finest stadiums in Europe and holds over 80,000 fans. It is the home of GAA and has also been graced by rugby and soccer teams in recent years. One sport that will play to sell-out crowd in Dublin this summer is American Football, as Penn State take on the University of Florida. Huge hits are expected in this game and there is no doubt that it will be a memorable experience for all who attend. If you’re planning a trip to Dublin this August, be sure to enjoy the unique atmosphere that this game will provide. The game will take place on Saturday 30th June.
3. All Ireland Finals:
Chances are unless you live in the 32 counties of Ireland or certain parts of the UK, US and Australia, you will have no idea what the All Ireland Final is. It is the culmination of 5 months of competition as the Gaelic football and hurling finals take place in Croke Park in September. These amateur sports attract over 80,000 spectators to the stadium, and thousands more to the city of Dublin over 2 weekends in September. If you are to experience only one sporting event in Ireland this year, try to visit Dublin in September and enjoy the truly unique experience of the All Ireland Final. The 2014 hurling winners Clare, and football winner’s Dublin will be hoping to lift the Liam McCarthy and Sam Maguire trophies respectively once again.
4. Autumn Rugby Internationals:
The four provinces of Ireland (Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster) have managed to create one of the finest international rugby teams in recent years with the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara helping to make Ireland a force to be reckoned with in the world of rugby. While BOD and ROG as they are known in Ireland, have since hung up the boots, Ireland continues to enjoy a great reputation in rugby and they warm up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup by welcoming South Africa and Australia to the Aviva Stadium for the Guinness Autumn Rugby Internationals. If you are a fan of rugby, these are two games worth getting along to in November.
5. FAI Cup Final:
Domestic football in Ireland mightn’t be top of the list when it comes to European football, but the FAI Cup Final has delivered some memorable games in recent years. Last year was no exception as Derry City came out on top after extra time. The game takes place on the 2nd November and is the final game of the Irish football calendar.
Other Irish sporting events to look out for:
The Dublin Marathon takes place in October and is one of the biggest sporting events on the Irish sporting calendar. Horse racing is also extremely popular in Ireland with the Irish Oaks and Irish Derby taking place over June and July. Ireland certainly has lots to offer fans of sport, so if you are looking for a sporting holiday with a bit of a difference this year, be sure to put Ireland on your list of places to visit.