The Marine Institute of Ireland publishes a map of the part of the sea floor over which Ireland has jurisdiction, called the Real Map of Ireland. That is some fascinating topography. And naming. Yes, the Edoras Bank and Eriador Seamount come from Tolkien.
University College Dublin Association Football Club are James Joyce's home team.
They have possibly the world's loveliest team crest. Take a look at that curved line on top. That's design excellence.
University College is top school in the Republic of Ireland. It was founded as Catholic University of Ireland by the celebrated Cardinal Newman, author of The Idea of a University. Joyce, Flann O'Brien and Gerald Manley Hopkens are all alumni, which leads me to speculate that Stephen Dedalus, and the unnamed undergraduate narrator of At Swim-Two-Birds, and Hopkins' swan can all be counted as supporters, or at the very least mascots.
The football club was begun in 1895 as Catholic University Medical School FC, and the team is nicknamed The Students to this day. The club joined the League of Ireland in 1979, and were most recently promoted to the Premier Division in 2010. They won the FAI Cup in 1984. They play at the UCD Bowl, which they share with the university's rugby team. In addition to the Premier Division team, there are squads that play in the Leinster Senior League and the university league.
After ten league games The Students sat tenth out of twelve, with two wins, three draws and five losses, and a goal difference of minus four. Top scorer: Graham Rusk with four goals.
Then last night The Students hosted Shelbourne and lost 2 - 0.
Elsewhere in the summer football world. Yesterday Pohang Steelers hosted Daejeon Citizen FC. [0 - 0.] Tomorrow Miti HollyHock visit Gainare Tottori at Torigin Bird Stadium. [Tottori win 2 - 1.] Montreal Impact host the LA Galaxy at the Big O. [1 - 1.] On Wednesday the Impact were in Toronto for the semi-final of the preposterously named Amway Canadian Championship. (Amway is short for "American Way".) [Toronto won and will face Vancouver in the finals.]
Morton's season is done, but there are eight Scottish Football League clubs in action this weekend. This is the seventh year of the SFL's promotion playoff system. Apart from automatic relegation/promotion, whereby the bottom clubs of the First and Second Divisions go down and the top clubs of the Second and Third Divisions go up, there are two playoff tournaments featuring the ninth team of the First Division and the second, third and fourth teams of the Second, and the ninth team of the Second and the second, third and fourth teams of the Third. Each playoff has two two-leg total-goal semi-finals and a two-leg total-goal final.
Who wins these playoffs? You'd think that the team from the higher division would have the edge, but the stats say otherwise. In the twelve previous tournaments, the #1 team (ninth place in the higher division) has won three times, the #2 team (second in the lower division) five times, the #3 team (third in the lower division) twice and the #4 team (fourth in the lower division) three times. If this is tendency holds, Arbroath should replace Ayr in the First Division, and Queen's Park should replace Albion Rovers in the Second.
On Wednesday Ayr United played Airdrie United to a 0 - 0 draw in the first leg of their semi-final. You'll recall that both clubs were relegated from the First Division at the end of the 2009-10 season. The other semifinal has Arbroath against Dumbarton. Dumbarton won the first leg 2 - 1. Arbroath last played in the First Division in 2002-23, Dumbarton in 1995-96. Dumbarton is the next closest SFL club to Greenock, if you are travelling by paddle steamer.
Hibs demoted Dunfermline pretty emphatically (4 - 0) on Monday. So the Pars and Cowden both return to the First Division after one year's absence. But it won't be the same First Division without dear old Queen of the South.
[Airdrie beat Ayr 3 - 1 in a very scrappy contest. Ayr United are relegated. Next week Airdrie and Dumbarton play for the final spot in the First Division.]
Today is the Football Association of Ireland Challenge Cup final, the culmination of the soccer year in the Republic of Ireland. (They play from March to November in the Republic.) (As they ought in Scotland.) To date I've paid no attention to the Irish game, except insofar as Bohemians are a red and black team, but I can see how a passing knowledge of it might help a body get through the summer break.
In addition to being one of those countries where they play association football in the summer instead of the winter, Eire is one of those countries where they call the game soccer instead of football. Gaelic football is football.
The League of Ireland Premier Division finished its 36 game season last weekend, with Shamrock Rovers of Dublin taking the title. Shamrock Rovers usually take the title. The League of Ireland is divided into the Premier Division (ten teams) and the First Division (twelve). Below that is the A Championship with sixteen teams. As in most countries, every league level has a name that would suggest it is the top level.
There are three major cup competitions: the FAI Cup, which at the start includes nearly anyone who can kick a ball; the League of Ireland Cup, with all 22 league clubs plus two non-league teams for mathematical purposes; and the recently created Setanta Cup, an invitational tournment made up of clubs from the Republic and Northern Ireland. Derry City won the League of Ireland Cup this year. Shamrock Rovers won the Setanta Cup.
The FAI Cup began play in 1922. Shamrock Rovers have won 24 times. But today's final is between Shelbourne, who have won it seven times, and Sligo Rovers, who have won it three times including last year. Sligo would seem to be the favourites. They finished second in the Premier Division and are the ones who knocked out Shamrock Rovers in the quarterfinals. The Lake Isle of Innisfree is in County Sligo. Shelbourne won the First Division title and will play in the Premier Division next year.
These two clubs met in the 1939 FAI Cup final, the very year Yeats died. Sligo had secured the services of the memorable Dixie Dean. "Dixie Dean". The first game ended 1 - 1. Shelbourne won the replay 1- 0. Read it in Sligo Today. [Sligo win on penalties.]
October 5th, 2011 marked the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Brian O'Nolan, the non pareil of 20th-century comedic prose style. You may know him as Flann O'Brien, or Myles na gCopaleen. The Irish Times has been running a series of essays on his life and influence, with extracts from his Cruiskeen Lawn column, here. He was conversant in four or five languages and at his best when using one to hammer puns off another.
Which omnibus line is best augured?
Fortuna favat 40 Bus.
To the novice I recommend The Best of Myles, an anthology of comic devices collected from Cruiskeen Lawn. Key sections include "The Brother" (reported stories), "Keats and Chapman" (egregious puns), and, for my money the best, "For Steam Men" (specialist and obsessive language). I challenge you to find a better example of comic pacing than his WAAMA League book-handling scheme.