The Best of Times
George Best's life, and death, has struck an emotional chord with millions.
Craig Fitzsimons, 01 Dec 2005
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Latest Articles by Craig Fitzsimons
Ireland’s smashing debut under Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane suggested bright days ahead for the side. But is it naive to believe the hype? We have, after all, been here before.
27 Nov 2013
One thing the O’Neill/Keane ‘dream ticket’ won’t be is dull...
13 Nov 2013
There is one way for a pundit to prove that he knows better: by going into management. So why not have a little bit of fun before the new man comes in?
30 Oct 2013
We’ve long been fans of the American version of football here at Foul Play. But, despite high expectations, our first live experience of the sport – in which the Minnesota Vikings came, saw and conquered – still blew us away.
16 Oct 2013
It seemed like the rest of the country was rooting for Mayo to end its football famine, but Dublin showed little sentiment in sweeping the westerners aside to claim their second All-Ireland in three years.
02 Oct 2013
At first it might sound like a barmy idea but, with Trap’s tenure now over in all but name, why not offer the Ireland manager’s job to Alex Ferguson? We hear he has a lot of spare time on his hands...
16 Sep 2013 - Foulplay
Seamus Heaney’s passing was a potent reminder of the special esteem in which writers are held in Ireland
16 Sep 2013 - Hog
The All-Ireland series 2013 has been hugely dramatic so far. Who will emerge victorious is anyone’s guess...
19 Aug 2013 - Foulplay
With the Cats skinned by a resurgent Cork, is it the end of the road for Kilkenny manager Brian Cody?
06 Aug 2013 - Foulplay
Kilkenny are looking mortal, Dublin have swept all before them, Limerick are Munster Champions. In other words, it’s the most thrilling, surprise-packed hurling championship in years. The question now is: who has a realistic shot at All-Ireland glory?
22 Jul 2013 - Foulplay
It’s Year Zero in Manchester and at Chelsea, as three new regimes take charge of England’s three leading clubs. Foul Play gives his verdict...
24 Jun 2013 - Foulplay
Our columnist formed an emotional attachment with Jurgen Klopp’s charges during their epic Champions League voyage.
10 Jun 2013 - Foulplay
Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Manchester United was mighty to behold – a fact that will become even more evident now that he has stepped down...
27 May 2013 - Foulplay
The Germans are coming! To Wembley that is, with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund marching to London for a Champions League final that says a great deal about the state of European football...
13 May 2013 - Foulplay
After a dreary season of UK competition, dare we hope for a fire-cracker finale in the Champions League — or, whisper it, the Scottish Cup?
29 Apr 2013 - Foulplay
The fascist tendencies of the new Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio are execrable – but right-wing lunatics are hardly new in football...
15 Apr 2013 - Foulplay
After some disastrous results, Ireland seemed to have turned a corner in Stockholm. But can we still secure World Cup qualification?
02 Apr 2013 - Foulplay
Manchester United have departed the European stage. A smiling Craig Fitzsimons wipes away the tears...
19 Mar 2013 - Foulplay
Another Grand Slam for the Irish rugby team? It’s a big ask – but not completely out of the question
05 Feb 2013 - Foulplay
It’s all quiet on the domestic sports front – so what better time to assess the state of play in the Premiership?
21 Jan 2013 - Foulplay
It was the year Ireland supporters marked humiliation at the hands of Spain by, er, hugging each other and boozily singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’. No wonder Foul Play is a little ambivalent about the 12 months just past.
18 Dec 2012 - Foulplay
In which our intrepid reporter returns to the sporting fold to marvel at some Catalan-slaying and Hibs heroics...
03 Dec 2012 - Foulplay
Giovanni Trapattoni has failed as Ireland manager, and a change of regime is urgent. But there is a need for Ireland fans to face reality in terms of what’s realistically achievable with the players we’ve got...
17 Oct 2012 - Foulplay
For what seems like the 500th year in a row, Kilkenny have obliterated all-comers to claim another All-Ireland. Craig Fitzsimons doffs the cap
05 Oct 2012 - Foulplay
With baffling selections and bizarre tactics, fears that Trap may be leading Ireland to a dark, dark, dark place seemed to be confirmed by our last-gasp win against mighty Kazakhstan. The question (rhetorical you suspect) is: can things possibly get any worse?
25 Sep 2012 - Foulplay
Humiliated in Poland, the question begs asking: would it have been better for Ireland not to have qualified for Euro 2012?
01 Aug 2012 - Foulplay
After all the hype, Ireland came unstuck in Poznan – with a little help from Shay Given’s head. Can the team lift it against Spain and Italy. We can only hope.
18 Jun 2012 - Foulplay
For the first time in a decade, Ireland has qualified for a major international soccer tournament. With memories of the Ole, Ole years flooding back, Foul Play reflects on what Euro 2012 qualification means for a nation under the economic cosh – and identifiess the teams and players likely to make an impact in Poland and Ukraine.
08 Jun 2012 - Foulplay
After many centuries of torment, Manchester City are champions. It’s true. Craig Fitzsimons attempts to suspend the disbelief...
28 May 2012 - Foulplay
A perennial underdog of Scottish soccer has at last had its day. Craig Fitzsimons couldn't be more delighted!
15 May 2012 - Foulplay
They’ve been the sensation of the season...until the last month. Is it too late for Roberto Mancini’s boys in blue to turn the tide on their bitterest rivals?
10 Apr 2012 - Foulplay
The Champions League trophy may well stay within Spanish borders come May, but there are a few issues to be settled first...
26 Mar 2012 - Foulplay
Lesser Among Equals With honours even in Paris leaving neither side happy, surely it’s time the powers-that-be did away with the draw in rugby.
12 Mar 2012 - Foulplay
The miraculous has come to pass – Drico, RoG and co avoided a pasting in Paris. Meanwhile, the countdown to Euro 2012 proceeds and all sorts of unexpected candidates are being proposed for the trip to Poland...
27 Feb 2012 - Foulplay
As the battle for the Premier League goes to the wire, Manchester’s two famous clubs are squaring up for the ultimate face-off. But who will prevail?
30 Jan 2012 - Foulplay
Well, not quite. There is the small matter of a group that also features Spain. But once that’s taken care of, the sky’s the limit for Ireland in Euro 2012.
16 Jan 2012 - Foulplay
Craig Fitzsimons meets Kara Scott, poker’s 2011 ‘Personality of the Year’, who’ll be in the thick of the high-stakes action when PKR WPT Ireland takes place between January 5 – 8 in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel.
06 Dec 2011 - Frontlines
Ahead of the draw for Euro 2012, Foul Play examines the various permutations facing Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad
05 Dec 2011 - Foulplay
The glory days look to be on the way back, as Ireland head for their first European Championship in over 20 years. It’s a vindication for the manager – and a poke in the eye and steel boot in the nethers of those who haven’t had a good word for the team since the 2002 World Cup...
21 Nov 2011 - Foulplay
With Ireland’s home games henceforth about to offer fans the option of live audio commentary, there’s no longer any excuse for able-bodied Irishmen and Irishwomen to stay at home and watch the games on telly.
09 Nov 2011 - Frontlines
It wasn’t just City fans who were in paroxysms of delight when United suffered their Old Trafford humiliation...
07 Nov 2011 - Foulplay
The promised land of major tournament qualification is agonisingly close for the Irish football team. But will the coach’s conservative streak carry the day against Estonia or see us once make a proper Baltics of things at the final hurdle?
24 Oct 2011 - Foulplay
A team in green is setting everyone’s pulses racing but, alas, it isn’t the one overseen by Giovanni Trapattoni. Though Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualification hopes are alive at the time of writing, don’t be surprised if we come a cropper against some of the less fancied opposition in our group.
11 Oct 2011 - Foulplay
Against the odds, the Dublin footballers toppled Kerry in the All-Ireland Final, whilst the Ireland rugby team battled to an impressive World Cup victory over Australia. For a few hours, it was possible to lie back and revel in the glorious unpredictability of it all.
26 Sep 2011 - Foulplay
Their ‘on the edge’ style has earned them plenty of critics but Kilkenny were nevertheless good value for their All-Ireland win over a surprisingly hapless Tipperary. Meanwhile, can the guys come good as Ireland’s Rugby World Cup adventure gets underway in New Zealand?
08 Sep 2011 - Foulplay
Okay, the opening day of the English Premier League may have bored some to tears, but make sure to dry those eyes in time to feast upon some of the fine sporting events coming doewn the turnpike.
29 Aug 2011 - Foulplay
Having already witnessed possibly the finest Community Shield ever played, football fans are done with the foreplay and are primed and ready for what is likely to be the tightest Premier League title race in years.
25 Aug 2011 - Foulplay
We’re down to the semi-final stages of the hurling championship and Tipperary and Kilkenny are still the sides to beat. Can Dublin and Waterford pull off the ultimate upsets?
22 Aug 2011 - Foulplay
The UK soccer season will shortly be upon us again. Thank Christ.
10 Aug 2011 - Foulplay
A gutsy win over Kildare and a sublime demolition of Galway means the Jackeens have a very real chance of pulling off a rare football and hurling double in Leinster...
01 Jul 2011 - Foulplay
If you’re a fan of watching soccer on television, summer can be a difficult time... unless you embrace your inner gael and whole-heartedly immerse yourself in the GAA championships.
20 Jun 2011 - Foulplay
For all the beauty and brilliance of Barcelona in full flow, it’s the international game that really matters.
07 Jun 2011 - Foulplay
After spending zillions in the transfer market, Manchester’s favourite team has finally won a trophy. But can they consolidate their achievement or is it doomed to be a one-off?
31 May 2011 - Foulplay
Barcelona may be the best footballing side on the planet right now, but how do they compare to the great club teams that came before them? Foul Play trawls through the memory-banks and tries to reach a definitive conclusion..
06 May 2011 - Foulplay
Nowhere was Manchester United’s recent FA Cup loss celebrated more loudly than in Manchester itself. While the Irish replica shirt brigade were sobbing on their barstools, football fans in the North of England were rejoicing.
26 Apr 2011 - Foulplay
Yet! After all, the victory over Macedonia puts us in a decent position at the halfway stage of our Euro 2012 group.
11 Apr 2011 - Foulplay
If a few more breaks had gone our way, Ireland could have won the Grand Slam.
28 Mar 2011 - Foulplay
The end of the English soccer season is upon us but, despite many surprises during the year, don’t be surprised if some familiar faces end up in the winners’ enclosure.
14 Mar 2011 - Foulplay
After the heartbreaking near miss of the French defeat, we need to bounce back immediately against the Scots.
28 Feb 2011 - Foulplay
We barely squeaked past Italy, and the French are coming to Dublin. Be afraid. Be very afraid...
14 Feb 2011 - Foulplay
The Six Nations championship is about to kick off. While another Grand Slam may be too much to ask, we are at least in with a chance...Let battle commence!
31 Jan 2011 - Foulplay
An utterly unpredictable, topsy turvy season reached new heights last weekend, with a remarkable 41 goals scored in ten games. And the Christmas feast is on the way. With no knowing who’s going to lift the title, the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy every minute of it!
06 Dec 2010 - Foulplay
After a career which saw him claim the world title in 2009 on a dramatic day for Irish sport, Bernard Dunne has hung up the boxing gloves. He talks to Craig Fitzsimons about his memorable win over Ricardo Cordoba, his new autobiography – and why he has no regrets about calling it a day.
29 Nov 2010 - Interview
The ritual laceration of Celtic supporters protesting against the whitewash of Remembrance Day is a reflection of the extent to which the media have lost the plot.
22 Nov 2010 - Foulplay
With South Africa and the All Blacks coming to town, there are some monumental clashes in the offing, which might tell us a lot about our chances in next year’s World Cup.
08 Nov 2010 - Foulplay
He was public enemy number one after cheating Ireland out of a place at the World Cup. But considering our abject recent performances – and Trap’s apparent inability to get the team to play above itself – maybe Thierry Henry was doing us a favour.
03 Nov 2010 - Foulplay
The imminent jousts with Russia and Slovakia will tell us a great deal about Ireland’s Euro 2012 prospects. So — what can we expect? Triumph or tragedy?
02 Nov 2010 - Foulplay
The end of another GAA season and time to bid a sad farewell to one of the greatest sports broadcasters Ireland, nay the world, has known... On a more positive note, at least we’ve got the Ryder Cup to look forward to...
22 Oct 2010 - Foulplay
The Kilkenny juggernaut has been derailed by Tipperary – and along with it, the much vaunted ‘Drive For Five’. Our correspondent is first to admit he didn’t see the upset coming.
12 Oct 2010 - Foulplay
Three minutes from their first All-Ireland final in 15 years, the Dubs crashed and burned (again), handing victory to a disbelieving Cork team. What is a fan of ‘de boyz in blew’ to make of it all?
09 Sep 2010 - Foulplay
Our resident clairvoyant Craig The Psychotic Octopus previews the new Premier League season....
13 Aug 2010 - Foulplay
Once again, our nearest neighbours have failed to conquer the world. Foul Play wipes away the tears...
05 Jul 2010 - Foulplay
We're in the zone they call Paradise now. The evenings are bright, the days are filled with football, and God is in his heaven. The World Cup beats a champagne jacuzzi with a billion supermodels any day. (I'm speculating here - in truth, I've yet to experience a champagne jacuzzi with a billion supermodels. But it couldn't possibly be as exciting as a World Cup. I'll let you know how it compares when I get around to it.)
28 Jun 2010 - Foulplay
Not counting Crystal Swing’s forthcoming appearance at Mullingar Community Centre, it’s surely the greatest show on earth - a four week carnival of footie featuring the world’s greatest soccer players (and Emile Heskey). As the South Africa World Cup kick-off looms, Craig Fitzsimons tells us who is going to shine and who might flop - and explains why, for all the hype, England are unlikely to replicate the success of ‘66.
16 Jun 2010 - Reports
The irrepresible Mark E. Smith is back with one of the strongest Fall albums in years. The post-punk legend talks to Craig Fitzsimons about the song he’s written for the World Cup, the soulless nature of the Manchester derby and Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time. Oh, and why he doesn’t shoot squirrels as a hobby.
15 Jun 2010 - Interview
The All-Ireland football championship is about to start. And while it will undoubtedly be as thrilling as ever, serious questions now hang over the format of the competition, with the 'back-door' system increasingly rendering the summer’s early skirmishes irrelevant.
01 Jun 2010 - Foulplay
Brute mediocrity beat finesse when Barcelona met Inter. What a setback it would be for soccer were Jose Mourinho’s FC Internazionale to win the Champions’ League.
10 May 2010 - Foulplay
It’s all to play for as the English Premier League goes down to the wire. Who will come away with the glittering prize? A never-say die Man U? An up-and-down Chelsea? As of right now, it’s anybody’s guess
26 Apr 2010 - Foulplay
The closing stages of the Champions’ League are upon us, with Barcelona perhaps the most impressive team in the competition so far. But who will reach the last four?
13 Apr 2010 - Foulplay
Defeat to lowly Scotland brought the curtain down on an undistinguished Six Nations campaign - but if it brings an end to the smugness creeping into the mindset of some Irish supporters, perhaps that's no bad thing.
29 Mar 2010 - Foulplay
The World Cup is suddenly almost upon us. We can either gnash our teeth and stick pins in our Thierry Henry voodoo dolls, or sit back and enjoy a wonderful spectacle.
24 Mar 2010 - Reports
Our footballers may have had a pretty wretched noughties, but they were a great time to be a rugby, GAA, cricket or golf fan. CRAIG FITZSIMONS recalls the highs and Saipans of the sporting decade.
05 Mar 2010 - Foulplay
Ireland may have been royally sodomised in Paris, but our rugby warriors may have some big performances in them yet.
02 Mar 2010 - Foulplay
There are signs that the Premier League status quo may be coming to an end, as newly wealthy upstarts start to make their presence felt. But it won’t happen this year, with three of the usual suspects set to dominate the title run-in.
11 Feb 2010 - Foulplay
By the time you read this, you’ll know whether Ireland have qualified for the World Cup. One thing’s for sure – a home defeat to France has left Trap’s men facing an uphill battle. Well, at least the rugby team is humming along nicely...
24 Nov 2009 - Reports
The UK’s unemployment figures are about to increase as the noose tightens around Phil Brown’s neck.
10 Nov 2009 - Foulplay
Is it curtains for Ireland’s World Cup chances now that we’ve been drawn against the, on paper at least, far superior French? Also, fair dinkum to Cork hurling keeper Dónal Óg Cusack for doing the unthinkable and actually penning an interesting sports autobiography
03 Nov 2009 - Frontlines
Alex Ferguson’s incessant terrorising of referees has long been one of his least appealing traits
30 Sep 2009 - Reports
Ireland may still be in with a shout for World Cup qualification. But the turgid standard of recent performances leaves a great deal to be desired
22 Sep 2009 - Frontlines
Saint Patrick’s Athletic are now just two games away from the group stages of the Europa League. Chief executive Richard Sadlier talks the Super Saints’ chances against the mighty Steaua.
24 Aug 2009 - Frontlines
Ireland’s last-gasp Grand Slam win over Wales will go down as one of this nation’s greatest sporting achievements. It was both a much needed shot of good news for a country gripped by economic despair, and vindication for a group of players who had been tagged the ‘nearly-men’ of world rugby.
26 Mar 2009 - Frontlines
The Fall delivers a slow-starting but strong, riotous show at the Spiegeltent, performing an electrifying set that leaves little doubt that this band will still be at it many years from now.
22 Oct 2008 - REVIEW
It's a long fall with an unmistakable impact...
08 Apr 2008 - REVIEW
She's the multi-platinum artist you won't read about in the tabloids. AMY MACDONALD explains how she managed to top the charts without becoming famous.
07 Mar 2008 - Interview
Where did the most popular illegal drugs come from? What's in them? And how do they affect users? Here is The No Bullshit Guide.
01 Feb 2008 - Reports
Cockney football pundit Tony Cascarino recently paid a visit to the Ballydung abode of potty-mouthed puppets Podge and Rodge. Here both sides reflect on the historic get-together.
10 Dec 2007 - Interview
In the wake of Steve Staunton’s sacking as Ireland manager, Eamon Dunphy welcomes Craig Fitzsimons into his Ranelagh home and offers some characteristically forthright views on the state of Irish football.
13 Nov 2007 - Interview
Overnight sensation Newton Faulkner talks about sudden success, his Irish guitar teacher and the challenges of covering Massive Attack.
08 Oct 2007 - Interview
She fell out of love with music having toured her debut album incessantly. But now Cathy Davey is back with a new sound, and a new attitude.
04 Oct 2007 - Interview
Irish author Paddy Woodworth has written the definitive tome on one of Europe’s most complex and at times contradictory regions.
03 Oct 2007 - Frontlines
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