Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…Peter Kavanagh was making a ruckus because this is what he wants from Santa.
I’ve been a really good boy; I even won the Irish Baseball B League and didn’t punch anyone all season. I was respectful of all my opponents and tolerant of umpires. I think I deserve a present, so I’ve put together a short list of what I want.
I want an Irish soccer team to take Europe seriously, but not to bank on it.
Thanks for giving Liam Buckley the title. He was a really good boy all year and deserved an early gift. It couldn’t have happened to a better team than St. Pat’s this year. Giving Ger O’Brien the captaincy for next year is a lovely Christmas present too, Santa; not since Beckham got a buzz cut has a soccer player inspired so many fans to start sentences with “I’m not gay, but…”.
Sligo Rovers were proper champions, and will be delighted that you let them have the cup in one of the all-time great finals. There couldn’t be two more fitting representatives for the League of Ireland in European competition next year, and hopefully the new Rod Squad up in Derry will give it a decent rattle too. I hope at least one of these teams can emulate Shamrock Rovers and qualify for the group stage of one of the competitions, but that they learn from where Rovers fell down and that they don’t release their big players half-way through a good campaign. Summer football and nine-month contracts do not European heavyweights make, though, so I hope they don’t do what Shelbourne did and budget for the same success every year, leading to inevitable collapse.
I want an O’Byrne Cup for the Dubs.
It’s the only piece of tin Jim “Pep Guardiola” Gavin didn’t win last year. Surely he deserves it. He’s awful good.
I want an All-Ireland for the Dublin Hurlers.
Kilkenny are a spent force, even if you can never write them off, and Cork’s inexperience can be used against them. I know you can’t just give Anthony Daly the win, but maybe you could see fit to give him a favourable draw in 2014. He did awful well, getting past Galway and Kilkenny last year. Scoring 2-21 from play in a provincial final is something else. Do me a favour, Santa, and put Kilkenny, Galway, Cork and Clare on the other side of the draw. Or slash their tyres on the way to Croke Park or something.
I want an Irish Greig Laidlaw.
Hear me out, Santa, as I’m sure you probably let out a big “Ho Ho Ho” when you read that. I want Irish Rugby to stop viewing the halfbacks as separate entities, incompatible yet co-dependent. It killed us in the Six Nations when we ran out of backs and had to deploy Peter O’Mahony on the wing. Someone who can play both halfback positions would give us more options among the replacements in the five toughest games of the year. I don’t think we need a Morgan Parra or a Freddy Michalak, but even a Greig Laidlaw on the bench would mean we could reinforce more back positions. Maybe Ian Madigan could take passing lessons from Isaac Boss. Maybe Conor Murray could take kicking classes with Ian Keatley…wait, scratch that last one.
I want something nice, anything, for the Irish Cricket Team.
Seriously Santa, you saw how good they were this year. They won every competition they entered and cemented their position as the top associate nation in the world. I know you can’t deliver Test status next year, but they didn’t even get close to winning any of the annual “Team of the Year” gongs – even though there was literally nothing more they could do.
I want a vocally atheist athlete to become an American hero.
Controversial, I know. I dislike it when anyone proselytises, whether for or against religion. I just want some balance in athlete interviews. It’d be nice to have someone say that a Judeo-Christian deity was absolutely not responsible for their touchdown pass or grand slam home run. I have nothing against Jesus. We get presents when he’s born and chocolate when he dies, and that’s cool. To suggest that he’s influencing results, or dare I say match-fixing, is a bit much, though.
I want Borussia Dortmund to have a successful 2014.
Ich liebe Kloppo, and so should you, Santa.
I want a sunny summer.
2013 was a lovely year Santa. You spoiled us. I don’t think I can play baseball in torrential rain in July again Santa. Please don’t make me.
That’s it Santa. Hopefully you can fit all those in your sleigh. I’ll leave out a Gatorade for you and a protein bar for Rudolph.
Yours in sport,
Aged 29 and a half.
Follow Peter Kavanagh on Twitter.