Five Things To Watch In 2019

The Christmas decorations are starting to drape a little bit, the New Year’s champagne has been popped and Dave Hooper has decided to make some New Year’s predictions.

Dublin to make it five in a row

There’s no stopping this. Unlike the excellent prayers of the faithful, where Offaly long plotted to end Kerry’s reign came through, there is just no one close to the Dubs.

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Dublin will open their All-Ireland defence with a Leinster quarter-final against Louth or Wexford, Longford/Kildare or Wicklow in the semi-final, expect no challenge as they make it nine Leinster’s in a row.

New rules or no new rules, there is one champions league team and the rest. On September 1st, history will be made and Sam Maguire will be staying in the capital.

For the fun of it though here’s the provincial champions, Munster: Kerry, Ulster: Monaghan, Connacht: Galway.

Katie Taylor to unify the world titles

This one might be the toughest of them all, as it’s not all that easy to align politics, fitness and form but Katie Taylor has always came out on top.

The WBA and IBF World champion was expected to fight WBO world champion, Brazilian Rose Volante, however the expected meeting in March disappeared two weeks ago.

The reason, Volante and WBC champion Belgium’s Delfine Persoon are holding out for big pay days.

You can run, but you can’t hide and Taylor will show class is permanent by becoming Ireland’s first unified champion.

Ireland to fail in Rugby World Cup

Yes, you’ve read this right.

The six nations begin in just about three weeks, so Ireland have that to hurdle. However on the laws of averages, they are due to lose one key player to injury before the World Cup. Let’s just pray it’s not Johnny Sexton.

Hope’s will be high when Ireland face Scotland in Yokohama on September 22 and they will win group A to face probably South Africa in the quarter-final.

However Ireland have never won a second round game at any of the previous eight championships and didn’t even make the second round in 2007 or quarter-finals in 1999.

South Africa or New Zealand await in the second round this time, cream always rises to the top. Let’s see whose coffee is strongest.

Leitrim to be promoted

A week is a long time in politics a month is an entirety, so what’s a year?

12 months ago confidence was low as Leitrim began 2018, now though Terry Hyland has taken the reigns of the countries smallest county.

Hyland doesn’t do miracles, but he doesn’t do lost causes either.

Expect a new game plan, maybe the slower defensive game, it might not be pretty but it will be effective and inclusive off all of Leitrim football.

Declan Rice to captain Ireland to Euro 2020

Ok, I’ve gone a bit farfetched on this one.

Declan Rice is yet to commit to Ireland and I doubt Mick McCarthy would hand the captains arm band to such a young man.

McCarthy will at the very worst lead Ireland to a close shave with second place. While the Irish soccer team is limited in player ability, they’re not as bad off as a Mr.Martin O’Neill had painted them to be.

Now it’s the turn of McCarthy to use his magic once again and get the best from an average bunch of players.

It will be tense, it will be very close, but just keep the face paint for Euro 2020 ready.