Sporting hope springs eternal in 2017

It’s that wonderful time of year when most sports fans in Ireland can dream. Nothing has been decided yet in the Premier League, Ireland are looking good in World Cup qualification and county footballers and hurlers have only started back training. Anything could happen…

  The disappointment of last year has been replaced with renewed hope amongst most county teams although there seems to be a far more subdued outlook towards another year of Division One football for Roscommon.

  This is understandable following the frustration of 2016 and a number of high profile departures from the panel. However, the lack of hype and lowered expectation can only be a good thing for a young team preparing for a crack at the best the country has to offer.

  Elsewhere, Liverpool fans are still dreaming of that elusive Premier League trophy while Man United fans are hopeful of a revival and an unlikely title charge. Old Trafford on Sunday week should offer some clarity for both!

  2017 promises to be an exciting year for both our international rugby and soccer teams too. The rugby team was in fantastic form during the recent autumn internationals and will be confident going into the Six Nations in the next few weeks. England should provide the main opposition there.

  The soccer team has made an impressive start to their World Cup qualification campaign and the result against Austria put the Boys in Green in the driver’s seat ahead of the crucial game against Wales in March.

  So, the New Year has brought new hope as we prepare for what will hopefully be a busy and successful 12 months of sport for local clubs and athletes.

  Some things never change, however, and so Arsenal fans should still expect fourth place and Sam will still refuse to spend next winter in Mayo!