Sports ideas for Christmas: think outside the penalty box
The latest football jersey is too easy - look further afield for something special for the sports fan
1. Send them up a mountain
You never forget the first time you reach the summit and with the rapid rise of the adventure industry in Ireland a dream of becoming a mountain guide isn’t just something you reserve for the alps.
Mountaineering Ireland run accredited courses in climbing, hill walking and guiding all around Ireland, and have a great youth programme. Sign them up for a course at mountaineering.ie or at one of their member clubs around the country
2. Tickets to FC Barcelona
With Messi, Neymar and Suarez now swelling their ranks, a trip to see FC Barcelona play at home in Camp Nou is a ticket even a non-fan will enjoy.
With a capacity of 99,000 it’s easier than in most stadiums to get a ticket at short notice. For example, Barcelona play Atlético Madrid on January 11th and at time of writing there are tickets available from €59. see fcbarcelona.com
3. Shoot a rapid at junior kayak school
River kayaking is a huge rush and a safe and beneficial sport for girls and boys. It builds strength, stamina and independence and is a great group activity.
Canoe Ireland runs the junior kayak school in Dublin at various times throughout the year as well as supporting lots of other training courses around Ireland. See canoe.ie
4. Fifa 15: once more with feeling
The latest version of Fifa’s award-winning football game comes packed with real(ish) emotion.
The characters can now emote according to the context of the match. And as all teenage boys are brimming with emotion this might just matter.
Either way, it’s a great update to a hugely popular game. From €69.99 on all platforms. See gamestop.ie
5. The Garmin Forerunner 920 XT
There’s a lot of competition in the sports watch sector but latest out of the traps (and sprinting to get ahead of the Apple watch launch) is Garmin’s Forerunner 920XT. It can basically do everything: it tracks your run, your cycle or your swim.
It’s waterproof to 50m, it automatically uploads your data and has a 40-hour battery life. It’s slim, good looking and can handle texts and emails. Basically, everything you’ve wanted from Garmin since it started. From €350
6. Personalised GAA jersey
Everyone dreams of their name on their club shirt. Feed the dream with a personalised GAA jersey in your favourite colours from oneills.ie. For those who have made their home in one county but come from another there’s the O'Neills half-and-half From €62
7. Ireland home pro-rugby jersey
It’s not long until we’ll be gearing up for the Six Nations all over again. Make sure your team have the right colours by snapping up the new team jersey for €70 at irishrugby.ie
8. Take aim at archery
The so-called sport of kings, archery is a great sport for hand-to-eye coordination. Archery Ireland recommend taking one of its beginner courses which are held in clubs all over the country. You can search their database at archery.ie.
They usually cost from €50 - €100 and are run all year round over six week periods.