The sport that dare not speak its name: The curious history of the League of Ireland

This weekend sees the resumption of one of Ireland’s most curious seasonal events. Across the country people will gather at various locations to scream and shout at institutions whose foundations pre-date the State.

If the kick-off of the 2015 League of Ireland season isn’t in your diary, you are far from alone. In a country where hurling and Gaelic football are the mammy and daddy of sport and rugby is the over-achieving favourite son, domestic football is the estranged cousin who turns up drunk to family occasions, starts a fight and then falls down the stairs with their trousers around their ankles.

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UEFA’s political football – what’s the worst that could happen?

Every two years UEFA is handed a near-impossible task: conduct an open draw of 53 European countries, trying to keep apart nations with political tensions.

Historically, Europe loves war. The last six decades have been the most peaceful in the history of the continent, and even they saw a handful of low-level wars, several revolutions, a few dictatorships, and one major regional war that involved ethnic cleansing.

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