All in the Game: Aaron Connolly starting to come good for Hull City

Overdue Aviva date worth the wait for Ireland’s women; David Beckham has new documentary out

Aaron Connolly’s fine form with Hull City continued on Sunday, bagging his fifth goal of the season and also creating another as they beat Stoke City 3-1 in the Championship. Connolly opened the scoring for the Tigers with a neat close-range finish on the half-hour mark.

“Big away performance, +3 and another goal,” Connolly posted online afterwards, alongside a photo of his celebration – arms outstretched and mimicking an aeroplane. For a player whose career had stalled somewhat, hopefully this is Connolly taking flight again.

His spell with the Hull has been positive so far – he scored his first goal of the campaign against Sheffield Wednesday, netted twice against Blackburn Rovers, once against Coventry and bagged his fifth of the season against Stoke on Sunday.

Overdue Aviva date worth the wait

A day of days in Ballsbridge. And not a rugby ball in sight. Saturday afternoon football in the Aviva, but not as we have ever known it to be.


The 35,944 spectators watching the Republic of Ireland against Northern Ireland witnessed what so many hope is a new Ireland, where the growth of the women’s game continues both on the pitch and in the stands.

It is paradoxically hard to believe Saturday marked the first time the Ireland women’s football team played at the venue, yet at the same time understand why it has taken us so long to get to this point.

For such a momentous occasion, it would have been hugely disappointing and led to much soul-searching if the turnout had been poor. Thankfully that was not the case.

“This is one of the best feelings I’ve had in an Irish jersey,” said Louise Quinn on social media afterwards. “The place was rocking! Thanks you for making history with us, all 35,944 of you.”

Lucy Quinn has now, unwittingly, forever more become the answer to a staple question in dozens of table-quizzes across the country. It will be filed by the quiz masters alongside the puzzler on who scored Ireland’s first goal at Croke Park?

“It will stay with us for the rest of our lives,” said Eileen Gleeson afterwards.

But the challenge now is to ensure this was not a brief flicker of light in the dark, it must instead become just one of many memories the Irish women’s team create in the old Lansdowne Road.

A new documentary about David Beckham

David Beckham: “It definitely didn’t change me.”

Alex Ferguson: “Well he changed, there’s no doubt about that.”

As promos go for documentaries, the teaser for Beckham on Netflix immediately gets you scanning to see when it will be available to watch. Beckham himself contributes to the four-part series, while some of those interviewed include Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Diego Simeone and Fabio Capello.

“Despite the tremendous lore around Beckham as an athlete and pop culture figure, few have got the chance to know the man behind the name – until now,” promise the makers behind Beckham.

“[It] gives fans never-before-seen insight into who Beckham actually is, including his family, friends, team-mates, and – yes – his shopping and cleaning habits. The result is an unprecedented look at an icon who, despite spending nearly 30 years in the public eye, just might surprise you.”

Grab me some popcorn!

By the Numbers: 2

Who needs Harry Kane? Son Heung-min’s two-goal salvo was the first time a Tottenham player has bagged a brace away at Arsenal since John Hendry in May 1993.

Word of Mouth

“Rodri has to control his emotions. I can get a yellow card but Rodri cannot get a red. I don’t play, the players in the pitch have to control their emotions.” Pep Guardiola on Rodri’s sending off against Nottingham Forest.

Rodgers to the rescue

Celtic brought the aggression to Livingston in Saturday’s 3-0 away win, but after the game Brendan Rodgers brought the peace. The Parkhead boss came to the aid of a young Celtic supporter who had entered the pitch in Livingston. As he was tackled by stewards, Rodgers went over and took control of the situation before guiding the fan off the field.

“The wee guy at the end there, it’s just common sense, it’s a young kid,” said Rodgers in an interview with Sky Sports afterwards.

“He’s on to see his heroes, he wants to see his players. He shouldn’t be punished or prosecuted for that, especially when the security guy is a lot older than him. He just wants to see his heroes, so it’s common sense to let him back with his mates.”

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times