Sporting Summer: 5 Must-See Events
We’ve already had the Lions Tour, the Tour de France, and Wimbledon - but this sporting summer is just heating up. If you’re planning on seeing some sport in the sunshine, there are loads of fantastic events ahead to keep you going right through ‘til September. We’ve picked out five of the best.
The British Open
It’s been around for over 150 years, but the oldest major in golf has lost none of its lustre. The 2017 edition takes place from July 20th to 23rd and will see the usual galaxy of stars battling it out to claim Henrik Stenson’s title. This year’s course is Royal Birkdale in Southport, which may be a good omen for the Irish competitors – this was the venue where Padraig Harrington won the second of his back to back titles in 2008. The Open is never short of a bit of drama - and we’ll be hoping for some memorable moments to rank alongside 59 year old Tom Watson’s near miss in 2009, Harrington and Garcia’s nail-biting playoff in 2007, and Jean Van de Velde’s infamous collapse in 1999.
World Athletics Championships
This is all about one athlete – Usain Bolt. The fastest man who’s ever lived is in his farewell season and the WAC is undoubtedly the crown jewel in his remaining calendar. Given that it’s his last chance to win a major medal, you can be sure the Jamaican great will be putting everything on the line. Elsewhere, competitors to look out for include the young South African Wayde van Niekerk, who’s been touted as the next sprint superstar and will be going for the double in the 200m and 400m, and hometown hero Mo Farah, running his final race on the track before moving up to the marathon - it’s sure to be an emotional finish for the legendary long-distance man.
Women's Rugby World Cup
It’s not often we get the chance to host a genuinely world class sporting event in this country, so the fact that the Women’s Rugby World Cup is coming to Ireland this August is a moment to savour. All pool matches for the tournament will take place at UCD, with the action kicking off on August 9th. Unfortunately, Ireland’s games are already sold out but you still have the chance to see giants of the game like current title holders England and four times champions New Zealand. For the finals stage, the action moves north to Belfast, and there’s every chance our hometown heroines could still be in the mix at that stage.
World Cup Qualifiers
In September, Martin O’Neill’s men face two games which will give us a serious indication of their World Cup credentials. There’s nothing straightforward about a trip to Tbilisi, and Ireland certainly won’t be taking anything for granted when they face Georgia, but the real crunch game comes three days later against Serbia. Ireland and the Serbs are currently neck and neck on 12 points at the top of the group and a win here would give Ireland a serious psychological advantage heading into the home stretch of qualification. Serbia are certainly no pushovers though, and Ireland will have to keep a close eye on quality players like mercurial striker Alexandr Mitrovic and the vastly experienced Chelsea pair of Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic.
World Boxing Championships
We’ll be missing star names like Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, who both turned pro after the tumultuous events of the Olympic Games in Rio, but a new generation of fighters will be hoping to make their mark in Hamburg this August. Top of the card will be Lisburn man Kurt Walker, who’s already medalled in July’s European Championships, and the Belfast-born Sean McComb, who missed out on an European medal in agonising fashion – losing his bronze medal match on a split decision. He’ll be keen to bounce back though, and the World’s will give interested parties a great chance to see what many experts are calling our best medal hopes for Tokyo 2020.
Travelling to See Sport This Summer?
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