GAA football & Euro soccer: Sunday = Sport Day

We had a great day for sports on Sunday. By far the most thrilling event was our first GAA match in person — and better yet, at the national stadium, Croke Park! Here’s the link for a short slideshow of our day at Croker, with plenty of information in the descriptions:
Photos of Croke Park, 29 June 2008, on flickr

The match was County Dublin versus County Westmeath, in the semi-final of the Football Championship for the Irish province of Leinster.

It was a close match, with many lead changes. I’ve watched quite a bit of GAA football on television, and I understand most of the rules. Like soccer, however, it’s hard to grasp the strategies and the flow of the game without seeing the whole pitch in person.

The consensus of newspaper and radio reviewers was that both Westmeath and Dublin played poorly and that Dublin fans were half-hearted and quiet. Indeed, I did not see some of the breathtaking plays and individual efforts that amazed me as I watched other matches on TV. But I admired the physical effort and the courage of the players nonetheless.

Sunday evening brought the finals of Euro 2008 to our television. We were tempted to just stay at a pub from the end of football (4pm) through the soccer (which began at 7:45pm) — but that would have made for a very tough Monday morning. The final score, 1-0, looks boring, but the tension between the two teams kept me humming. And I wanted Spain to win!

Watching the final after also witnessing the climbs of both teams was a much richer experience than I’ve had with soccer before. It’s hard to love a sport when you watch only its championship round. That’s like reading only the last three chapters of a novel. You can admire the skill of the writing, but you’re not going to care about the characters or the plot — even if you did read the Cliff Notes.

Finally, a request of you, the reader. Please VOTE in the current poll regarding the Croke Park slideshow (linked above). If the slideshow feature of Flickr shows you our descriptions by default, then it will be a great tool for showing you our future photo sets. If it does not work as I hope, then I can find another tool that will give you the information-rich Bugle experience that you’ve come to expect.

You can vote right here, or in the sidebar. (FYI, the first description is: “The weather alternated between gorgeous sun and blustery rain for a few hours before the match. We would get caught in one more shower before the match, as we drank our pints just outside the stands.”) Thanks!

4 Comments to “GAA football & Euro soccer: Sunday = Sport Day”

  1. Dave said...
    30 June 2008

    The slideshow was great. The medium setting was a little fast, but I toggled it down to slow and I could keep up. Great post!

    I too enjoyed the Euro 2008 Championship Match. Spain dominated the game, but couldn’t put Germany away!

  2. Jaime said...
    2 July 2008

    Will – I was able to get the descriptions to come up but they did not do so automatically. An information “i” hovered over the first picture when I ran my mouse over it. After clicking on the “i”, then I was able to see the descriptions. As a side note, the descriptions displayed on top of the picture in the bottom third of the pane.

  3. Laurie said...
    6 July 2008

    I second Jamie’s response – I needed to click on the ‘i’ to view the captions. And this confirms that I need to make another visit, this time with the express purpose of viewing some sport live.

  4. Katherine said...
    7 July 2008

    I fiddled with my options in the bottom right corner to select the “always view titled and description” option. That seemed to do the trick.