Mick McCarthy – Captain Fantastic

It’s been an emotional few months with the changing state of the restrictions brought about by the Cornovirus. We’ve been given the opportunity to relive some great sporting moments. In June we saw repeats of games from Euro ’88, Italia ’90 and USA ’94 on RTÉ. Then with the death of Jack Charlton in July we got the chance to reflect on some of the enormous achievements we made during this time – beating England in Euro 88 in Stuttgart, beating Romania in Italia ’90, a gallant performance against Italy in Rome. It still brings a tear to my eye when I watch the footage or hear the late Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma.
Captain Fantastic Cover
It struck me how much of a bond the players had with Big Jack. None more so than Mick McCarthy. He talked of his last chat with him back in May. “I told him I loved the bones of him that day – and I always will.” Two men from the North of England. But they had more in common than that. Many players spoke of Jack’s ability to bring out the best in them. Jack did this for Mick, making him captain, inspiring a sense of pride in playing for Ireland in his team mates.
In his book, Captain Fantastic, Mick outlines his football career and the how Jack played such an important role in it. This book is particularly interesting as it is a snapshot in a time of innocence when the biggest controversy was Éamonn Dunphy’s throwing of his pen, in disgust, at Ireland’s performance against Egypt in Italia ’90, a time when the whole nation united behind the manager and the team, a time where each victory or draw was a bonus.
Mick outlines the thrills and disappointments the squad faced during this momentous World Cup, some inside stories from the camp in Italy and of course the momentous homecoming which finished in the Bank Of Ireland in College Green. Will we ever see the likes again?
As Mick steps down from his role of Ireland manager we look forward to Stephen Kenny taking over as manager. We hope he can lead the Irish team to equal or surpass those glory days.

Daniel Topolski

Daniel Topolski last April spoke, in the Telegraph,  about the protest made at this year’s Oxford Cambridge boat race by Trenton Oldfield. He agrees with Oxford crew member, Will Zeng’s sentiment that the protest was unfairly disrupting the efforts of these hardworking and dedicated students. According to the article, Zeng believes they are elitists.

Daniel Topolski

Picture by Stefan Lubomirski de Vaux

He knows what it is like to have one’s honest efforts thwarted. He tells his story of the Oxford Boat Race in 1987 in “True Blue”. His team mutinied against him citing his training methods as being too tough despite his having brought to an end Cambridge’s run of victories. Topolski effectively fielded his B team and won against a particularly strong Cambridge team.
You can buy Daniel´s fascinating story, “True Blue”, here.