CLONES BOUNDGeraldine McLaughlin:There IS a Donegal team vying for All-Ireland honours this weekend. Not quite Croke Park yet for our senior women but Clones is as good a venue as any to make the leap from last eight to semi-finalists.And while much of the talk this week has centred on the fitness, or not, of the injured Geraldine McLaughlin – the ace forward went over on her knee in a club game for Termon against St. Eunan’s – there is a squad strong enough to progress against Armagh and players who have already shown they can shine even in the absence of their star performer. Davy McLaughlin would indeed prefer to have the Termon tiger available to him on Sunday but can still call on the likes of Yvonne McMonagle, Aofie McDonnell and Amber Barrett to supply the scores and with the inspirational Katie Herron on the field his team have a better than odds chance to make it through to the semi-final.PROMOTION STILL IN SIGHTThe legend that is Kevin McHugh!Alien territory this third place. At any rate, this season it is. Been a while since we last were able to reflect on holding our own for the bulk of a campaign in one of the top two slots of the league table.But U.C.D.’s expected win on Monday night in one of their two games in hand has dislodged Finn Harps and placed them on the outskirts of the promotion positions, automatic or play-off. And now the battle really begins. The 1-0 win over Shelbourne on Friday evening has kept that promotion pot boiling – and possibly condemned the Tolka Park outfit to another season in the lower ranks – and while the students leapfrogged over Harps after their 3-1 success over Athlone at the start of the week, there’s only a solitary point between the sides.U.C.D. still have a match in hand But the fact that it’s against Wexford Youths – for the second time in a matter of weeks they managed to win a game with two late goals despite being down to ten men – means something has to give and points will be dropped by either side.Wexford currently occupy the automatic promotion spot and pundits – specifically those who are Dublin based and have desperately wanted the promotion challengers to hail from the southern regions of the country as has been evident from the outset – will be predicting the First Division champions will come from the current top two.But Harps are still very much in the running and, remember, they can afford to finish in third and still secure a play-off place.And that’s surely something the league authorities will have to examine before the 2016 campaign. Where exactly is the justice in a team finishing runners-up – potentially a hatful of points ahead of their nearest challengers – and still being forced into a play-off with the third placed side before earning the right to take on the 11th placed Premier Division team in a promotion/relegation showdown?You won’t, of course, find too many down Finn Park way complaining about the system should Harps be that third place team but if I was a follower, player of official from the side who finish second, I’d be mightily aggrieved at how things stand.What is the point in it, and, as I say the fairness, apart from a couple of hefty gates at the respective legs and some much needed coffers arriving into the treasurer’s trove?Answers please at the next annual meeting of the Airtricity League management committee.HONOURING A LEGENDLike old times in Ballybofey. The familiar figure controlling the ball and delivering the perfect return. Well almost perfect because as it happened it went straight to a Shelbourne player. But then it was their throw-in and one thing about Big Brendan Bradley is, and was, that you rarely ever saw him dispute a decision. He was standing in his traditional spot near the press gallery opposite the stand side at Finn Park when the ball arrived in his direction from a hefty clearance and he took control of the situation before sending it back on to the field of play.And two things triggered inside what I have the poor judgement to call a mind. That time way back in the mists when he was making his first appearance since returning from Lincoln City and he did control the ball – no hands on that distant occasion – and with a couple of deft movements touched the ball over a Shels defender and over their then goalkeeper, Paddy Roche, before guiding it gracefully into the net. One of THE great Finn Park goals. One of THE great League of Ireland goals indeed. And perhaps the best of them all.Still a regular at the Ballybofey venue- even, significantly, when Derry City are at home as they were against Premier League leaders, Dundalk last Friday night – Big Brendan hasn’t lost his passion for the club where he truly made his mark. Sure there were spells with his native, Derry, and with Sligo Rovers, Athlone Town and at Sincil Bank, Lincoln, but his heart back then lay with Harps and still does to this day.And as my good friend and long-time Harps follower, Brian McArt, has often pointed out – where is the reminder of the contribution he made to the club back in the first two decades of their League of Ireland debut? Never a hint of a statue being erected in his honour in Finn Park. Or the stand being named after him? Or allowing us to walk down Brendan Bradley Way on route to the ground?A player who helped put Finn Harps Football Club on the footballing map; helped them win, God knows how many, matches; represented the club as a true ambassador; and is still the League’s all-time leading scorer. But, yet, not a visual tribute in sight.Perhaps, of course, those of us who have long worn the club crest in our hearts and remember what the big man did for it over those years, should ourselves be getting together and putting up some sort of proposal in this respect and acting upon it.HURLING TAKES ANOTHER WELL EARNED BOWSo goals win matches, do they? The experts in the world of Gaelic Games have been telling us for years so, well, it must be true.Full-time score from Croke Park: Galway 0-26; Tipperary 3-16. Someone forgot to mention it to the Tribesmen which is why they are now facing into an All-Ireland Final with the kings of the sliotar, Kilkenny and not a green flag raised among all the maroon.But, as Marty Morrissey declared, “Oh my God, what a game….”Sunday afternoon and while the weather demanded that I go out and savour the appearance of that big bright thing in the sky, some of us settled for the illuminating spectacle on R.T.E. instead. And very glad we did.But isn’t it funny how, even throughout one of the most thrilling hurling matches in years, the smallest of things can still irk you. “Level at Croke Park for the very first time”, Marty reacts to Cathal Mannion’s point that brings the teams all square just before half-time.Memo to Marty (and Ger Canning and any other G.A.A. commentator guilty of it), the teams are level when they come on the bloody field and UNTIL the opening score is registered.But this was hurling as it was meant to be played. And two outstanding goalkeepers at either end to pull off some remarkable stops including respective penalties even if Colm Callanan did tip the effort he was facing over for a point.“They’ve been level five times so far…,” Marty reminds us. Come on, man, get it right.And Seamus Callanan. What a performance from him. Into the dressing-rooms at half-time having scored a goal and five points, he continued that streak into the second period ending up with three goals and nine points. And you know what they say, goals win games.“Level eight times so far.”And Galway manager, Anthony Cunningham, dancing a jig of fury on the sidelines after a decision goes against his side. Pure passion pumping him up into someone he’s probably not if you meet him on the street.“Ten times they were level…..”.And Marty and his co-commentator, Michael Duignan, insisting they’d be delighted with a replay. And the rest of us nodding in agreement.And Noel McGrath. In April of this year, undergoing surgery for testicular cancer. And now coming on to send over a point for Tipp. The winning point? A fairytale comeback?Not quite. Galway level again – just as they were at the very start of the game, Marty – and then….and then…..Another substitute, Galway’s Minor winning captain from 2011, Shane Maloney, firing over to win the game for the Westerners.“Brilliant blocks, hooks, scoring, great saves from both goalkeepers,” Cyril Farrell sums it all up in the R.T.E. studio at the end as we all sink back in our seats and inhale in the drama we’ve just witnessed.But perhaps, the station’s Head of Sport, Ryle Nugent, summed it up even better when he tweeted at half-time: “It’s some shock to the system when you turn over to a Premier League game at the end of a first half of hurling like that!.”Some shock indeed. Almost like Marty Morrissey realizing that, yes indeed, teams do actually be level BEFORE the opening score.But, really, I ‘ve no right to be griping after that incredible All-Ireland hurling semi-final.DUFF BACK IN ACTIONWell, who would have believed it? Damian Duff turning out in the League of Ireland and not just in a guest appearance bracket.There may have been a greater audience than normal for Monday evening’s live television coverage of a domestic fixture but if there was the additions were to be sorely disappointed at the absence of the former Republic of Ireland, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers ace until his number went up on the touchline in the 89th minute. By then Shamrock Rovers were enjoying a 3-0 lead over faltering title challengers, Cork City, and Duff was given just four minutes to show the odd spark of those twinkling feet.But it was more his finger-pointing and verbal directions to his new team-mates that caught the eye and I’m quite sure there was the odd Rovers player thinking to himself that they’d rolled over Cork up to that stage without his help and they didn’t need his strongly delivered advice.But what a boost for the league it is that he has decided to end his footballing career here and what a tribute to the man himself that he intends devoting his weekly wage from Rovers between two childrens’ charities close to his heart.Meanwhile, I’m eagerly looking forward to Rovers next clash with league leaders – and still hot favourites to retain their title – Dundalk and the sparring of Duff and Daryl Horgan who, I believe, is close to being the former’s clone both in appearances and in playing style.MARATHON DAYThe start of last year’s marathon.It’s the Donegal Marathon on Sunday around and about the streets of Letterkenny and beyond and those hardy participants (which won’t, it’s safe to say, include me as I’m more more Laurel and Hardy than hardy) will be setting off on the 26.2 mile course from early morning.If you’re not involved, get out and lend them your support. If you are, I’m quite sure, by this stage, you’ve put in the adequate training and taken all potential pitfalls into consideration.It’s one mighty step from 5k and 10k to marathon distance but while most prepare properly, there are those who believe they can venture into their first marathon as something of a stroll in the park. But this is a big park and some human bodies – particularly those who have under-prepared – aren’t fit for purpose, the purpose in this case being to run over twenty-six miles and reach the finishing line outside the back of an ambulance.BLACK PUDDING TITLE TASTES SWEETOne man who has travelled a few thousand miles more than your average marathon is Donagh Kelly who claimed both the Todd’s Leap Ulster Rally in Enniskillen at the weekend and consequently clinched the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.There was a slight piece of good fortune attached to his win victory given that Garry Jennings – who took the honours at the Donegal International this year in the company of Letterkenny co-driver, Rory Kennedy – watched his dreams go up in non-proverbial smoke as the engine of his Subaru Impreza caught fire.“Feck it anyway, I’m gutted but I’ll have it washed and half stripped and I’ll be back,” Jennings delivered a typically earthy response to his rally ending mishap.But take nothing away from his Frosses rival – Donagh Kelly has earned his title after a solid season’s rallying in his WRC Ford Focus.BARCA AND BOHSQuote of the week: “If R.T.E. One were a football team, I think we would be Barcelona but with the budget of Bohemians” – R.T.E. Managing Director, Glen Killane.What. even after de Bohs offload Dalymount Park?DRY DOCMan walks into the doctor’s and the doctor says: “Ah, Mr Mourinho, remember me?….”HURLING HEAVEN AND MOANING ABOUT HARPS! IT’S PADDY WALSH ON WEDNESDAY was last modified: August 19th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Daniel and Majella O’Donnell have welcomed the arrival of their second grandchild after Majella’s daughter Siobhan gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.The new arrival came just before midnight last night, while thrilled granny Majella introduced him to the world today with a precious photo of her with her first grandson.Majella said she is ‘feeling blessed’ and gave a short description of the birth: “Delighted to announce the arrival of our 2nd grandchild!! Born at 11.51pm. A boy weighing in at 7lbs 5ozs. Very fast normal delivery. Both doing really well.” The newborn’s name hasn’t yet been released, but the boy is sure to be doted upon by her grandparents who will be settling back in their newly-renovated home in Donegal in the coming months.Majella and Daniel spent last Christmas with Siobhan, her husband Gavin Shields and their little girl, Olivia, who is two years old. “Olivia is the light of our lives,” Daniel said last year, and there will be even more love to go around now that there are two grandchildren to cherish.Majella, Daniel, Siobhan, Olivia and Gavin celebrating Chrstmas 2017Olivia and Daniel Majella’s followers were over the moon with her family news today. Many wished the parents and grandparents congratulations and good blessings, while Daniel’s fans are looking forward to seeing him in a photo with his new grandson. It’s a boy! Daniel and Majella ‘feeling blessed’ as they welcome new grandchild was last modified: January 18th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:babydaniel o’donnellgrandchildMajella O’Donnell
Ravel Morrison scored twice for QPR as they saw off Yeovil at Loftus Road, where there was also a goal for Bobby Zamora.See also:Bond: Zamora still has something to offerGreen among QPR players nursing injuriesQPR v Yeovil player ratings Morrison scores two more in QPR victory Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
16 July 2004Pieter-Dirk Uys, South Africa’s most famous political satirist, has been sending up his mother country since the 1970s – most famously in the guise of his alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout.But if you thought Evita was outspoken, just wait till you hear what her 102 year-old mother, Ouma Ossewania Kakebenia Poggenpoel, has to say about the state of the nation in Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil (Talks Dirty).This hilarious memoir – the first in a trilogy of plays starring the Poggenpoel family – filled with social commentary and candid opinion from the filthy mouth of this Boere volksmoeder, comes to the Tesson at Johannesburg’s Civic Theatre from 10 to 28 August (Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm).The show is performed in Afrikaans, will be understood by anyone who has listened to a rude joke in that language, and should delightfully offend all adults.Ossewania Kakebenia – named after the Boer ossewa (oxwagon) and the kakebeen (jaw) of the Afrikaner ox – was born on 31 December 1900, during the Anglo-Boer war, in the concentration camp of Heldersonop. Her mother was the legendary Sarie Marais, who inspired the folksong but little else; her father was the charming rogue Gerhardus Poggenpoel.Little Ossewania grew up angry, eventually giving birth to two illegitimate daughters, Evangelie and Baby.After years in Bethlehem in the old Orange Free State – where Ossewania was for years the youngest organist in the Dutch Reformed Church – she moved to Johannesburg with her daughters and took over the management of a seedy boarding house in Doornfontein.Baby went to Europe to follow her dreams, while Evangelie became a Killarney film star, eventually marrying into the powerful and ruthless Bezuidenhout family, something Ossewania never approved of, especially when Evangelie changed her name to Evita.Mevrou Poggenpoel spent the glory years of the 1960s and 1970s in the shadow of her now-famous daughter, who had become the glittering hostess of the National Party in power. But Ossewania’s anger was never far from the surface.Now 102 years old, abandoned in an old-age home, waiting to be fetched by a family who never turn up, this ancient Afrikaner matron lets rip.She has had enough: enough of democracy and affirmative action, enough of lies, corruption and hypocrisy. She regards her famous daughter with contempt, and even though she loves her great-grandchildren, the fact that they are black does not sit comfortably with her. Her unnatural passion for church leaders has not waned, and even at her ripe old age Ouma Ossewania has been known to spy on the young dominee in the toilet of the local NG Kerk.Throughout her life Ouma Ossewania believed them when they said apartheid was a gift of God. Now she knows her life was wasted on a lie. Is it too late? Will the Zulu garden “boy” still sleep with her? Will he want more than the R20 she has saved?Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil – n Afrikaans, in language that would make a tart from Benoni blush. Without censorship, without good taste, and without qualms.Book at Computicket or at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre.Source: Johannesburg Civic Theatre
Ratzilla: Ancient giant rodent chomped like a crocodileMeet Ratzilla, an immense, bison-sized rodent that lived in South America 3 million years ago. The rodent weighed about a metric ton and had a bite force three times higher than that of today’s tigers and crocodiles. Talk about rodents of unusual size!Fill up your gas tank with bamboo?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)2014 was a banner year for biofuels, but they’re still a lot more expensive than gas. Researchers are always on the lookout for new ways to trim costs, and now they’ve found a microbe that just might solve their problems.BUDGET 2016 COVERAGE: A roundup of Obama’s science spending requestThe Obama administration presented its budget request to Congress on 2 February for the 2016 fiscal year. It calls for about a 6% increase in R&D budgets, but basic research would get just about 3%. That tilt toward the practical worries some researchers.Lab on a chip turns smart phones into mobile disease clinicsResearchers have designed a cheap, easy-to-use smart phone attachment that can test patients for diseases like HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes, and it only uses a tiny bit of power: A fourth-generation iPod Touch could screen 41 patients on a single charge.Electric fields deliver drugs into tumorsChemotherapy is a mainstay of cancer treatment, but most of the drugs are toxic and have a hard time penetrating tumors. Now, researchers have figured out how to use electric fields to drive chemo compounds specifically into tumors, dramatically increasing the drugs’ concentration and shrinking the tumors.Shattered chromosome cures woman of immune diseaseCall it a scientific oddity—or a medical miracle. A girl who grew up with a serious genetic immune disease was apparently cured in her 30s by one of her chromosomes shattering into pieces and reassembling.
Former Iowa Supreme Court Justice Daryl Hecht of Sloan has lost his battle with cancer.Justice Hecht served from 2006 until he resigned from the supreme court in December 2018 while receiving treatment for melanoma in Sioux City and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.Hecht was raised on a family farm near Lytton, and received his bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in 1974 and law degrees from the University of South Dakota in 1977 and the University of Virginia Law School in 2004.Justice Hecht practiced law in Sioux City for twenty-two years before his appointment to the court of appeals in 1999 where he served until his appointment to the supreme court in 2006.He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Home and Family Services and the Morningside College Alumni Association among other groups.
Crushers Women’s Open captain Kate ‘Golden Boots’ McCarthy nudged me in the ribs and pointed to a group of players excitedly gathering on the end of field six as the hum of the floodlights provided a low key soundtrack to the festivities unfolding on a perfect summer’s evening.‘Golden Boots’ and I were on the walk back to the car park after watching the 2011 BCTA Cobras Cup Women’s Open Grand Final between undefeated minor premiers Southern Storm and three time champions and hot favourites Caboolture Colts who had been shooting for a record breaking fourth straight title.It is history now that Southern Storm removed the monkey, no make that, the giant sized Gorilla that was on their backs for over a decade when they triumphed 8-5 over the benchmark team of the prestigious BCTA Cobras Cup, Caboolture Colts, on Saturday night at the Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association’s Whites Hill complex.I smiled at ‘Boots’ and said, “Our time will come mate, this is one of the hardest competitions to win.” Testimony to this is the fact that it took Caboolture Colts eight semi-final appearances in a row to even make the Grand Final, and that Storm has waited 10 years to win this competition since their last premiership in 2000.Kate and I paused for a moment to watch and admire and definitely envy the Storm girls congregating on field six and even though we were a distance away, the happy faces, the sheer joy, the overwhelming relief, the light-hearted banter, the spot of drunken shenanigans, and the pure bond of friendship that only playing in a team and achieving a special shared goal such as this breeds, was crystal clear.“I want to do that again too,” I said.My mind wandered back to 12 months ago, same team, same scenario, but a very different result.Storm had been the first team through to the Grand Final last year and had been considered favourites for the title as Colts had struggled to overcome a determined and in-form Crushers line up 4-3 the night before in the preliminary final.Inexplicably Storm, top heavy with representative superstars and a very talented coaching staff, failed to produce the level of performance required to win the Grand Final and Colts collected their third title in a row.The Storm girls gathered sadly in their circle on field six last year and no doubt felt the agony of a second successive loss that cut deep. I remember I was hanging around waiting to have a consoling word to Kirsty Quince, a Storm girl for life and a player who I work a lot with and count as one of my best mates on the planet. When we win or we lose on the field or in the game of life we are there for each other the Quince and I, it’s just how we roll. Quince didn’t say much, and that always means she’s hurting. She headed over to her team huddle and the disappointment was etched on each girl’s face I saw. I have known my share of losses, in fact, have made a bit of an art form of it, so I was well qualified to provide an empathetic ear. I felt the Storm girls’ pain but I also knew that it was something they needed to deal with as a team. I don’t know what was said in that huddle, but I do know there was lots of alcohol consumed because I received a 2.00am text saying ‘Karrllsss, come out???’ from Quince so I smiled and went back to sleep secure in the knowledge my little mate was ok and figuring it had been a really galvanising night for the Storm girls and whatever happened in that huddle would be very important to their team going forward in season 2011.I am positive that the happy circle Kate and I spied after Southern Storm’s wonderfully professional and clinical performance to claim the title Saturday night would not have been possible without a searching examination of the past and a commitment to being their best for each other in the future.The catchcry for the Storm girls Saturday night was ‘it’s our time’ and in everyway this team invested in every department to make the dream a reality.As expected this game had more twists and turns than all the waterslides put together at Wet n Wild on the Gold Coast.Caboolture Colts are the toughest team mentally and physically in the competition and they are proud of their sustained period of excellence at the top of the tree in Women’s Touch in South East Queensland. If Storm wanted to be premiers, there was no way it would be gifted to them and they would have to produce a near perfect game and an unwavering commitment to their game plan to make it happen. And that is precisely what happened.The game began at a cracking pace with both teams chancing their arm early. Colts tap off move came to naught, and for first five minutes both sides entered into an expansive arm wrestle, seeking to move each other around like pawns on a chess board, searching for the move that would produce the chink in the armour and checkmate a pathway towards a coveted early lead.There were some early errors on both sides of the half way line, which is only to be expected given the big match occasion and excited jumble of expectation and nerves that accompany a Grand Final appearance. Even though these two battled hardened combatants were facing off against each other for the third successive year, the butterflies were still fluttering fiercely in the stomachs of both line-ups who both had so much at stake in this game.Like two Queen Bees fighting for control of the hive, the thrust and parry of the opening exchanges was intense and neither team gave an inch.Storm came out full of running and after probing the Colts line and some thoughtful composure from 2011 Australian World Cup Mixed Open winner and Storm captain, Sarah ‘Sez’ Spacie, and partner in attacking crime, Australian Women’s Open World Cup champion, Kirsty ‘Mud’ Quince, the Storm girls ran their pet play ‘the special’ for the mercurial Emilee Cherry. ‘Chez’ split hard to the open side, Spacie ran a perfect angle to scythe between defenders, then gave a quick ball to Cherry who on cue, when the Colts defence collapsed, rifled a stunning left to right long ball that the lightning fast Tracy Hill latched onto to dot down in the corner for an early 1-0 lead.Storm have run this play countless times during the season and in particular unsettled Colts with the identical play in the last fixture round of the season proper two weeks earlier, and so no doubt Colts would have been disappointed with the defensive effort on this occasion, given that they knew the play was coming and coach Morrow would have planned strategy to minimize Storm’s pet attacking play.In the next five minutes Colts looked to get back on level terms with Savannah ‘Sweet cheeks’ Pratten and the ever-improving Emma Blanch driving strongly and featuring prominently for the defending champions. Storm were not backing down though, and kept driving directly and seemed to make easy metres through the usually granite-like ruck area of the Colts defence.The ‘human plough’ physicality of the Colts combination is renowned, and dare I say, feared by many teams in this competition, and it is fair to say in previous Grand Final showdowns the Storm girls have become intimidated and dominated in the field position battle of attrition, but Saturday night it was evident early that the Southside girls were not going to surrender meekly and that if Colts wanted to bash and barge then the premiers would have to be prepared to take as good as they gave.Colts were stung into action after Storm’s initial bright start to proceedings and their big guns, wonder twins, Gemma and Nikki Etheridge, did what they do best and drove the ball deep into Storm territory, earning their team a much needed relieving penalty.So often the saviour for Colts, two time World Cup winner, Peta Rogerson, stamped her undeniable class on the contest soon after by crafting a touchdown off a static play for her good friend and fellow Australian World Cup winner and long serving Colts captain, Mary ‘Pasher’ Steele in the 12th minute. At 1-all it was game on and both teams lifted their intensity again with power rucking and strong defence the order of the day from both sides.So often the game can turn in a twinkling of an eye and Colts will look back on the set of six at the 14th minute mark and wonder just how the next touchdown was conceded.Storm were rucking off their own line and frankly, the set of six was going to hell in a hand basket for them, with Colts bustling defenders controlling the set nicely after working hard to knock off four touches in good field position.Special players have a happy knack of doing the most extraordinary things at precisely the right time. That girl, Emilee Cherry, adjusted the super girl cape on the sideline and swept on left to right from the sub box, seemingly with not much doing. She shaped to run the ball out towards the right link then at the last moment propped inside and used that freakish acceleration she possesses to step inside both middles on an angled sideways run. She then beat her link for speed and drew the winger in down a narrow sideline corridor. The always clever and ever present Kristy ‘Kmart’ Brennan held her wing line brilliantly to skip clear a few steps, then with the inside Colts defenders converging, the Australian 20’s lynchpin delivered the perfect inside ball to a grateful Cherry who finished off the opportunistic play and ensured it was nothing but hi-fives and backslaps all the way back to the Storm sub box for the Storm girls who were chuffed with their 2-1 lead.The happier than a girl spotting a shirtless Sony Bill Williams feeling didn’t last long though for the Stormies who were reminded of the fight and pride and sheer talent that exists in the Colts line-up.Colts worked down to the opposition score line and were unlucky not to score off a well-worked middle/link ‘A’ pop out play featuring their attacking powerhouse Peta Rogerson. ‘Skeet’ gave the link the ball in some space and the link had the winger open but unfortunately didn’t release the ball and a touchdown may have gone begging. Fortuitously, Colts received a repeat set and that was always going to spell trouble for the Storm girls.If the ‘special’ has been the flagship play for Storm over the last two seasons, then ‘Zonda’ must surely be the equivalent play for the Colts girls. The angled hit wrap and step out between the two middles and either give the wrap, hit outside runners, or the ball player having a crack at the line themselves, are all options the Colts girls have perfected over the last few years.Rogerson called the play and ran the ball out unselfishly and engaged the correct middle. Bec Lapraik then got to half and wrapped around the impressive Emma Blanch who had played wing for most of the season but had recently moved into the middle to cover the loss of Colts outstanding middle Emily Reed, who was in England watching her brother Jack star for England overnight in the Four Nations Rugby League final against Australia.Ironically, the ‘Zonda’ with the step and go with a slidey dive yourself option is a well known pet play of Reed’s, so it was fitting that the girl replacing ‘Reedy’ ran a perfect line and did it all herself to score at the feet of the Storm defence to square the ledger at 2-all with 16 minutes gone on the clock.In the aftermath of the touchdown, Storm defender Lizzie Campbell disputed the decision and was sent for a period of time for dissent, leaving her team five on six for an extended period before half time. This situation was potentially a make or break one for both teams.Storm coach Swain Rovelli later revealed that the handling of the period of time by Campbell and the rest of the team was crucial in them maintaining their focus.“Last year we would probably have stewed over the decision and become distracted. The experienced girls like Rach Noble, Sez (Sarah Spacie) and Quincey (Kirsty Quince) refocused the girls and we played the time we had to endure with five players particularly well. We slowed the play up and gave Colts not too many opportunities to get their hands on the ball and that was a real bonus for us. To then get back to the full complement just before half time and put another touchdown on them I think really broke their backs,” Rovelli said.Campbell spent the better part of three minutes and 30 seconds cooling her heels ‘in the bin’ and her teammates dug in for her and each other. The entire Storm camp remained composed and the maturity and discipline shown under pressure was a real sign of the growth this team has made and the lessons learnt over the last few years when inexperience and lack of belief were key stumbling blocks to them achieving their potential.Strangely Colts did not seem to press Storm or bustle them defensively in that period of time when they had the one player advantage, and it was perhaps a hint that the Colts girls were a little off their game that is usually characterised by assertive defence and confident option taking.With 30 seconds left in the half, ‘Lizard’ Campbell was saved the brainwork of masterminding a prison break and granted a thankful release from Alcatraz in time to see her teammates put together a well-worked play to ensure they went to oranges with a precious onetouchdown advantage.The experienced Rach Noble, who is Storm royalty, is the sole survivor from Storm’s last premiership winning team in 2000 and she used all her experience and undeniable guile to move the ball to the right and work a clever switch into phase with Candice Humm and Anna Hicks. Hicks phased the ball for the enigmatic Humm, who happily for Storm fans, was having one of the games of her life. Humm released quickly off the deck to a running Emilee Cherry who sent a pinpoint missile in the direction of reliable finisher Chelsea Brigginshaw, who gleefully dotted down for a crucial 3-2 lead to Storm on the stroke of half-time.With the Foo Fighters committed to a previous engagement in Europe, and just out of the budget capacity of BMTA, the half-time entertainment consisted of the a few of the Coastal Suns Open Women’s team (average age 16) doing their best Justin Bieber, and despite it being a resounding ‘yes from me’, they may have to play second fiddle if Snow Patrol are secured for next year’s half time extravaganza. Just sayin’….Half-time in both camps was a pretty controlled planet to be on. In Storm central, coach Rovelli implored their players to make touches in front and continue to commit to the drive and their ruck defence by muscling up and pushing out on the line. Whilst in Coltsville, Craig Morrow reasoned that there was no need to panic and that the game was still there for the taking if his girls got some rhythm and stayed controlled. “The game was still very much in the balance at that point. The touchdown right on half time was a tough one to take. We were guilty of ball watching a little in the first half with a couple of their set plays and we resolved to get back on track with our defensive intensity in the second half and be a bit more patient with the ball in hand. I was always confident we could bridge a deficit of a couple of touchdowns, and it wasn’t through lack of effort, we just weren’t as mentally across everything as we needed to be at that point, but I knew if a few things went our way we could get back into it,” Morrow said.The game resumed at a frenetic pace in the second half with a variation of the ‘special’ play almost hitting the jackpot off the tap off for Storm. Colts, to their credit weathered the storm and went close at the other end of the field, but after some resolute defence and inspired driving from Lizzie Campbell, Tracy Hill and Kirsty Quince, Storm established field position quickly to have the Colts defence in trouble early in the second stanza.On the fifth touch of an industrious set, a fantastic piece of individual brilliance by Candace Humm to come up with a one on one snap of her opposite defender pushed the Storm girls out to a 4-2 lead and a two touchdown buffer that allowed coach Rovelli to breathe a little easier and the Storm girls to start to believe that there 10 year wait for a premiership was finally within sight.You never write off champions and Colts were a long way from dialling 911, and in the next 60 seconds proved why they are such a great team who have been the benchmark of this competition for the last three years.Off the tap, the Colts girls went back to the ‘old faithful’ Zonda play and with Peta Rogerson again running the A line out and engaging the correct middle, the classy Lauren ‘Harry’ Potter, produced a little wizardry of her own that her much vaunted namesake would have been happy to claim. Her angle was inch perfect and her wrap release to Savannah Pratten gave ‘Sweet cheeks’ Pratten the space and opportunity to rip a magnificent long ball to Colts veteran winger Kate Barker who did the rest to help the Colts girls bridge the deficit to 4-3 and stay within striking distance of claiming their fourth straight premiership.The game ebbed and flowed for the next few minutes as each team searched for the crucial break that would give their team the ascendency.The defining moment of this game was upon us when Colts Gemma Etheridge, who has been in stellar form all season, and recently won the Player of the Final playing for runners up South West Queensland in the Women’s Open division at the QTA State Championships, chanced her arm on an open side raid.Etheridge ran a drifting angle out of acting half and was looking to play some phase, but unfortunately for her, good mate and fellow SWQ Swan, the irrepressible Emilee Cherry was lying in wait and like a thief in the night she pounced on the Etheridge pass and intercepted cleanly to race the length of the field and score a game breaking touchdown to take the Stormies out to a 5-3 lead.Colts threw their best attacking shots at Storm in the next set with big names Rogerson and Gem Etheridge challenging Storms’ key middles and Queen Bee middles in Quince and Campbell who both withstood the deadly ‘sting’ and along with veteran Storm champion Rach Noble stood up brilliantly making some inspiring touches to save a couple of certain touchdowns.Storm trucked the ball down the other end of the field with Charlotte ‘Classic’ Caslick featuring prominently. Storm received a penalty late in the touch count in good field position and this next touchdown would have had coach Rovelli beaming from ear to ear and each of the players involved in its successful execution lining up for an end of season $10 bonus for scoring off a set play. The ‘special’ play variation that nearly netted Storm a touchdown off the half-time resumption tap was run again, but this time the line running was perfect with Stevie-Lee Thompson, who was having a wow of a game, splitting off the ball to the open side and young gun Anna Hicks picking up from half and going short side splitting the middle defenders before a slick inside ball found touchdown hungry captain, Sarah ‘Sez’ Spacie, hitting between the middles to score a touchdown that took her team out to an impressive 6-3 lead. Like the true champions they are, Colts were never going to go quietly into the night and off the resumption, long serving captain Mary Steele showed her truly inspirational qualities to work in tandem with Lauren Potter to press the Storm line and work for some phase. ‘Pasher’ picked up out of half and went open side then stepped in and dished to Potter who drove in close to the line. Steele gave a precision passing class 101 on the run to the big crowd on the ‘Hill’ as she hit a diving Gemma Etheridge who spliced the angle as only she can to score between the link and wing to get the Colts girls back in the game at 6-4.Off the restart Storm were building again and once again it was courtesy of their pet play ‘special’ that they made an instantaneous reply to Colts hit back. Fittingly it was master organiser Kirsty Quince, the on-fire Candice Humm, and the amazing Emilee Cherry once again combining to conjure up another variation off the set play that Colts will have nightmares about. Fittingly, it was 12-year Storm veteran Rach Noble who dived over in the corner to grab a ‘meat pie’ in what would be a very satisfying moment for the girl who has given such outstanding service and loyalty to the club she joined as a 16-year-old girl, playing division two then working her way into Division 1, playing for Queensland and Australia along the way and sticking with her team through the good times and the tough times.At 7-4 up Storm were rolling down the field with certainty and as the game reached the 10 minute mark, every passing minute was drawing one team closer towards a memorable victory and the other team towards a disappointing defeat.Disaster struck for Colts soon after when Gemma Etheridge was given a period of time for an over vigorous touch. Whilst Etheridge watched proceedings from the end of the field, her teammates were unable to halt the Storm juggernaut with just five defenders. Good phase play by that girl Cherry and Candice Humm, and great initiative by Stevie-Lee Thompson and the dangerous Charlotte Caslick, allowed Tracy Hill to snare a double for the Grand Final and extend the Storm lead to 8-4.Colts kept trying desperately hard to penetrate the Storm line but resolute defence from middle bookends Kirsty Quince and Lizzie Campbell and Rach Noble and the determined Kristy Brennan foiled Colts at every turn.With five minutes left in the contest, Colts got a hard earned touchdown with the old firm of Gemma Etheridge and Mary Steele combining again, this time it was Etheridge delivering the pinpoint ball for Steele to dive low and beat the defence to ground the ball to peg the score line back to 8-5.To Colts credit they kept chancing their arm to the final whistle and Storm did not clock off, still searching for a final touchdown to end the game on a high.At full-time the relief and satisfaction for the Storm team was palpable. After 10 year of heartbreaking near misses they finally got their game together in the most perfect of ways to claim a memorable victory.The Storm girls were buzzing after the victory and the feeling in the camp was best summed up by their veteran champion Rachel Noble, a 12 year player for the Southside club, who reflected on the last few years of struggle and disappointment and paid homage to the coaching staff at Storm for the role they played in the memorable victory.“Winning this year after so many losses to Colts in the last couple of finals was so much sweeter. It was a great game to be a part of. Being the oldest in a team of young and talented players I knew what my role was and loved playing this year with the Storm girls and to do it undefeated makes it even better. The hard work, dedication and endless effort our coaches’ put in at Storm year after year has finally paid off. I’m glad we could give them the victory they so deserve. Thank you to Swain and Wayne and also to their families for believing in us and it’s just an awesome feeling to have again,” Noble said.Colts coach Craig Morrow was philosophical about the loss and paid tribute to the Storm girls for the quality of Touch they produced and the clinical nature of their performance.“Full credit to Storm, they played near perfect Touch tonight. They played well and have overcome a lot of adversity over the years to finally get it right. From our perspective the touchdown before half-time killed us and the intercept was hard to take. We had prepared well for their set plays at training but we ball watched too much in the moment and mentally we were not across everything like we should have been. To give them eight touchdowns was a little disappointing, but I always thought we could come back. Losing Gem for a period of time probably sealed our fate, but everyone tried hard and did their best and we probably need to look at training more for next season as well. It was the best I’ve seen Storm play so at least it took their very best to beat us,” Morrow said.For Storm coach, Swain ‘Swingers’ Rovelli, this Grand Final win with this team has been eight years in the construct. Rovelli coached division two for five years before three years ago stepping into the vacant division one coaching position at the club and the dedicated mentor has been building the Storm girls game slowly but surely ever since. Blessed with big name players who have talent to burn, particularly when they are very young, can be a tough gig and Rovelli and the Storm club have done remarkably well to be patient and learn the times to cuddle and the times to criticise their players efforts, but at all times help them grow into better people and better players.Rovelli was awarded the Brisbane Cobras Coach of the Year at the BCTA Grand Final breakfast on Saturday and his efforts in coaching the Storm girls to an undefeated premiership in the wake of the loss of key personnel from his division one team in 2010 such as Australian Women’s Open superstars Emily and Sam Hopkin and Ali Brigginshaw, makes his coaching performance all the more metorious.Rovelli was understandably excited and very relieved when the full time siren sounded and was full of praise for his troops who produced a stellar effort under pressure.“It’s such a great feeling. Very happy and very relieved that we could finally do it. We talked about it in the warm up that we wanted to be remembered as a great side that won – not be remembered for our near misses. We did play very well tonight. We started well and just built into the game. The biggest difference for us this year is our composure. It started last week when we were 2-0 down early to Crushers and we stayed patient. We did that again tonight and kept our heads on for 40 minutes and that was most satisfying. We got exposed in our semi-final and we nearly didn’t get to the Grand Final and knew we could do better so we were committed to being really true to ourselves and our game plan and thankfully everything worked out. The box was really positive and composed which hasn’t always been that way in the past. Full credit to the senior players for making our culture what it is. We are a training club and we work hard for our success and this is our reward for doing all the little things right. We said it was ‘our time” and tonight the girls decided as one and showed it in the way they played that they really wanted to step up to the mark and win this premiership,” Rovelli said.Both teams had numerous standout players who created the standard of a game to remember. For Colts, captain Mary Steele led by example and played courageously and cleverly to keep her team in the hunt. Steele was well supported by the always dangerous Gemma Etheridge who was everywhere for Colts and played her heart out for her team. Young gun Emma Blanch stepped up nicely to the big time and stamped herself as a player of the future. Australian Women’s Open superstar Peta Rogerson had touches of brilliance, but unfortunately for Colts was not in the sort of freakish form she has been in when Colts annexed their hat-trick of grand final triumphs over the last three years. Savannah Pratten and Lauren Potter never stopped trying for Colts and veteran winger Kate Barker, at the tail end of her career, produced a game she can be proud of and if she is finishing up she can be very satisfied with her stellar record of service to the Colts team.For the winners, each player stepped up to the mark and produced an amazing level of cohesion and clinical execution of the game plan and the teamwork and commitment to the goal was outstanding.Senior middles Lizzie Campbell, Sarah Spacie and Kirsty Quince were towers of strength all over the park in attack and defence and their intelligent direction, big match experience, individual contributions and support allowed the likes of Charlotte Caslick and Anna Hicks to play with confidence and produce some inspired and mature touches of class that smacked of a happy marriage of talent and temperament at the right times.Stevie-Lee Thompson, Tracy Hill, Rachel Noble and Kristy Brennan were tireless and produced their own sparks in attack to complement their team’s efforts. These four girls produced terrier like defence and helped set the tone against a physically imposing team who needed to be taken on at their own dominating style of game play. The Storm defence proved harder to crack than the Da Vinci code and was one of the foundation blocks that led to this famous breakthrough victory. The strength of this Storm team is their unselfish ability to play their roles and work for each other. Just as they did last week in their desperately close semi-final against Crushers, the team worked hard to give their game-breaking champion, Emilee Cherry, the field position and set-ups so she could impart her considerable influence over the game when it was needed most. Cherry was exceptional again Saturday night and again proved to be the point of difference for her team at crucial stages of proceedings. JK Rowling may have got it very wrong given the quantity and quality of magic this once in a generation player continues to conjure from her bag of tricks almost on cue. We’re pretty sure if you check Chez’s forehead for a scar, it’ll reveal who the real ‘chosen one’ is. 2011 has been a stellar year for the Roma product who was an integral part of Australia’s seventh straight Women’s Open triumph at the FIT World Cup in June and over the last month has been in rare form playing some of the best Touch ever witnessed in this competition for many a day. For the last three years we have been blessed to witness Colts’ Peta Rogerson weigh in consistently with her individual pieces of brilliance that have proved to be key in her team’s domination of the competition and now Cherry is producing a similar rich vein of form that makes her the most valuable player in the Cobras Cup.The modest champion who incredibly, along with teammate Lizzie Campbell, was in camp playing a tournament with the Australian Women’s Rugby 7’s team and had to rush back to play in the Cobras Cup Grand Final, was rewarded for her performances this season with the ‘Player of the Series Trophy’ as well as the prestigious Sally Urquhart ‘Memorial Player of the Final’ Award. The Sally Urquhart Memorial Award commemorates the contribution of Sally Urquhart, a Cobras Cup premiership winner and life member of the Crushers club. Sally represented Brisbane City at Women’s Open and Mixed Open level and Queensland in the Mixed Open division. She was universally adored and revered by teammates and opponents alike for her talent, selflessness, determination, courage, and sportsmanship. Sally, a law graduate and police officer was tragically killed in the Lockhart River air disaster in 2005 and BCTA/BMTA struck the Player of the Final award to commemorate a young life of great strength and integrity that upheld the finest sporting ideals on and off the field of play. Cherry joins an illustrious group of players to win this award that include Kylie Hilder, Jarah Jennings, Teena McIlveen, Peta Rogerson (twice) and Hayley Maddick.Cherry was chuffed to receive both the Player of the Series and Player of the Final awards and as always displayed her trademark humility and modesty when accepting the awards, traits that confirm her as not only a champion player, but more importantly, a champion person.“It’s just been a really good year. There are so many good players, so to be judged the Player of the Series is a very humbling experience. To win Sally’s award is very special, and I’m very honoured to receive it, it means a lot and it will be something I will treasure,” Cherry said.So that’s it, another season in the Cobras Cup dusted. But what a season it’s been!The Cobras Cup competition is undergoing a restructuring with a heavy emphasis on club development, but hopefully the 2012 tournament will bring with it more action, drama, and intrigue than all the ‘Underbelly’ series’ put together. Can Storm go back to back? Can Colts avenge this year’s defeat? Will Crushers finally make the grand final after finishing one touchdown out of the decider for the second year running? Will Uni-Rebels make a charge for the title? Or can the chasing pack that includes Coastal Suns and Eagles make a bold run at the premiership?Should Emilee Cherry, Kate McCarthy and Catherine Sargent be assigned speed limits to give every other player the chance to catch them on the field?Can Kelly Jones simultaneously maintain an excellent standard of Touch and the title of most beautiful hair in the game, or will Charlotte Caslick steal the crown? Will Sarah Spacie lose her headband fetish? Will Coastal Suns young gun Chloe Crotty manage to play even one game without borrowed shoes? Will BMTA rename the common fields at ‘the Hill’ after Eagles stalwart Renee Fraser because she spends so much time training there? Can Sharyn ‘Billy’ Williams produce another show stopping injury moment that brings the ambulances, if not the crowds back to Touch? And can any of the coaches fill out the game cards correctly and sign in all the right places?The answer to this and all the other hard-hitting issues will be revealed in time. Stay tuned for next year’s Cobras Cup, reserve seating on ‘the Hill’ is selling fast so just sayin’, I’d be investing in a season membership to avoid disappointment.Thanks to all the players and coaches for their input into this article.When in doubt throw the flick pass, or if you’re Emilee Cherry snap the whole team…Written by Karley Banks. 21.11.2011Touch Football Australia would like to thank Karley Banks for providing the article content.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say BVB chief Zorc: We know Man Utd target Sancho not here in five yearsby Paul Vegas25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBorussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc accepts they’re on borrowed time regarding Jadon Sancho.The England international is being linked with Manchester United and former club Manchester City.Zorc told Kicker: “Of course, the absolute big clubs are not blind.”You do not have to be a prophet to say that Jadon will certainly not be here for another five years. “But he knows very well that he has taken this positive development at Borussia Dortmund. I doubt that would have been possible with top English clubs. We trust the players very early, are not afraid to let them play. He acknowledges that.”
This transfer window has been more about who is leaving than who is arriving for Club America fans.Saying farewell to 35-year-old forward Oribe Peralta , who joined rival Chivas, may not have been too tough. Not only are forwards Nicolas Castillo and Roger Martinez on the books, Henry Martin signed an extension in the offseason to stay in Mexico City.That said, Martinez has been linked with a move away from the capital after some good showings with Colombia at the Copa America. He’d hardly be the only player to leave the club this summer. Edson Alvarez moved from America to Ajax, joining the Dutch giants after developing with Las Aguilas. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Later, Mateus Uribe signed with Porto after several years as both an America midfielder and a Colombia international.The midfield would look totally different if Guido Rodriguez follows those players out the door. The Argentina international is coveted by clubs in Europe with Real Betis and Eibar mentioned as potential destinations.Uribe has company, with goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin beating him over to Porto to take over as the Dragons’ No. 1. America needed a splash to replace him and got one in the form of Guillermo Ochoa, the former Aguilas’ shot-stopper who returned to the club after eight years in Europe.Ochoa is yet to make his America debut, but the Mexico No. 1 was welcomed to the airport by throngs of supporters eager to see him back in Mexico City once again.The other big-time addition is Giovani dos Santos. The 30-year-old is slowly being integrated into his first-ever tournament in Liga MX. Most recently with the LA Galaxy, Gio was dropped by the MLS team so it could meet roster requirements in the winter. He’s spent the last six months recovering from an injury and working back to match fitness while looking for a club. Early returns with America have been positive, with Gio scoring once in 120 minutes of action.It’s a team with a different look than the one that won the Apertura in 2018 and fell to Leon on a tiebreaker in the 2019 Clausura semifinals. A number of youth players, like defenders Oswaldo Leon and Daniel Zamora were loaned out to Zacatepec to get more minutes. Fullback Luis Reyes, who saw Jorge Sanchez win the left-back role over him, is headed to Atletico San Luis. And the club also added some insurance should one of its central midfielders leave. Leonel Lopez is joining from Toluca with the former Leon player not in ex-America coach Ricardo La Volpe’s plans for the Red Devils.There are other new faces in the nest as well. Sebastian Cordova is back on loan from Necaxa and has started three of the first four games of the Liga MX campaign. Alejandro “Wero” Diaz is back after a quiet loan stint with Atlas.Earlier in the summer, the club was linked with Emiliano Rigoni , but the Zenit Saint Petersburg winger now seems set for a Serie A move. The Mexican press said Diego Reyes could come back to America after a rough few seasons in Europe, but Herrera denied he was trying to bring the center back/midfielder back to the Estadio Azteca.
The Ultimate Pillow Guide: The 6 Best Pillows for All Sleepers Editors’ Recommendations From the tallest peak in the Lower 48 (that’d be Mt. Whitney) to the lowest point in America (Death Valley, of course), the great state of California boasts a bounty of natural splendor. And if you’re willing to haul some serious ass, you can see a lot of it in just a few days! If you have a car, a pair of hiking boots, and a lot of caffeine, you can check a few of the world’s most famous natural wonders off the list in single business week.Fair warning, though: this crash course in wilderness wonder will see you spending a lot more time in a car than in a pair of hiking boots. Sure, taking the scenic route is usually better, but sometimes you just want to cram things in.Get Ready to See 5 Great Parks in 5 Days!Get started by flying into Los Angeles International Airport and renting a car. Just make sure you can leave said vehicle at SFO a few days later (enlisting a friend to come along for the journey is also acceptable–nay!–preferable).Related: Or Take Your Time Instead…Leave the airport and head for…Joshua Tree National Park (a mere 155 mile drive due east)If you plan things properly (e.g. an early AM arrival), you should be able to get there with enough time to spend five or six hours roaming the stunning desert and perhaps musing as to why U2 named an album after these unique samples of florae. (Sure, Joshua Trees are lovely, but to a bunch of dudes from Ireland?)Leave the park heading due north by the early evening and either make camp or get a hotel once you have logged about 130 miles. This will put you half way to your next destination, the peerless…Sequoia National Forest (some 250 miles north of Joshua Tree)There is much to see and do among the Sequoias, but you’re on a mission, dammit! So let’s get right to it and head for General Sherman, the largest known (single stem) tree on the whole planet. General Sherman stands at 275 feet tall and weighs an estimated 4.12 million pounds. Yeah, it’s big. Take a few minutes to admire the grandeur and then… well… hit the road! We’re headed for…Yosemite Falls (170 indirect miles; you might want to stop for the night in Fresno)Yosemite Falls is but one of the many draws in Yosemite National Park, along with the stunning El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations popular among hikers/climbers, but we don’t have time for all the fancy footwork: you can enjoy the falls by walking just a few hundred yards from the main Yosemite Lodge, so that’s your destination. Just be aware it doesn’t flow as majestically when the snow’s not melting. Anyway, now it’s off for…Lake Tahoe (can you make the 184 miles in the same day?)Lake Tahoe is a great ski spot in the winter, great for swimming and other water sports in the warmer months, and if you cross over to the LAs Vegas side, you can gamble. So in other words, there’s something for everyone. Yahoo. Depending on the season and your preferred hobbies, spend a night, then hit the road headed west for the beloved…Napa Valley (another 150 miles, but there’s wine!)In Napa Valley (or neighboring Sonoma) you can enjoy hikes, bike riding, and other such recreation, but lets be honest: you just dragged yourself up and down and all around this massive state… you want to relax and drink wine now! Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing and tasting and then settle into a luxurious suite or some fleabag motel you passed earlier on the highway.From most parts of Napa, it’s just under 70 miles to the San Francisco Airport, a short jaunt after what you’ve done. Head out in the morning and get back to that “real life” of yours!(Of course, if you want to go nuts, it’s just over 275 miles north to the Redwood National Forest! But frankly, beautiful as the Coastal Redwoods are, save ’em for next time, you’ve seen big trees already.) An Introduction to the Fine Sport of Bouldering If You Haven’t Visited the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, What Are You Waiting For? All 21 Six Flags Parks in the U.S., Ranked The Best Campgrounds Near Major U.S. Cities