Ken Doherty: Sport is the elixir that keeps so many of us looking forward to big occasions

by Ken Doherty
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I’ve always said I don’t know what I’d do in a world without sport. Every week there is something to look forward to and the fact that I love all sports means I am never short of a distraction at night time or the weekend when these games are played. 

I’m doubly fortunate as a former professional sports man myself to have my career extended into commentating on snooker. Last week in Milton Keynes I really enjoyed seeing the revival of the mixed format in the sport with the top four ladies, who incidentally play on the men’s circuit taking on the top four males in a televised event. 

This week, the ITV cameras are still here, this time it is for the coverage of the British Open which is on all week. 

I also enjoyed watching the football games so far this past week. I thought Ireland played really well in Hampden Park and were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Scotland after leading 1-0 through John Egan’s goal at the interval. 

Stephen Kenny’s side plays a really attractive brand of football and while he may not have the calibre of players that were there in the Charlton era, he has got them playing positively and all they need is time. 

I know that winning is necessary to keep the pack of the manager’s back but I’d be quite confident that he will get the team fighting for a place at the next Euros. 

There are several exciting youngsters coming through and all they need is a bit of time at the top to learn how to cope. I thought it was nice of Scotland manager Steve Clarke to single out Troy Parrot after the game by saying that he should not be pilloried for his miss because he had played well and will learn from the experience. 

I know I’m not alone in feeling that a non-Premier league weekend feels like a bit of a vacuum however good the internationals may turn out to be. And that is what happened in the England-Germany match on Monday night when Gareth Southgate’s side came back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 and ultimately end up drawing 3-3. That was as good a second half as you are likely to see and by coming back, the result has safeguarded the manager’s job until after the World Cup in Qatar at least. 

Of course, the Premier League is back this weekend and I’m already looking forward to the big Manchester derby at the Etihad. City are the best team in England for sure and although they have still to win it, they have been the best team in Europe too if you look at what they have done over the past four or five seasons in particular. 

They are 3/10 to beat United with the bookies so if you are a United fan and like a gamble, you could do worse than put a euro on them at 8/1 to win this away fixture. If I’m honest, I think Pep’s boys will prevail but I’m not scared of sending this United team there as I would have been in the past. 

Ten Haag has brought something to squad, a bit of bite with Martinez alongside Varane at the back and a bit of class with Eriksen alongside Fernandes further up the field. So while it would be a surprise if United were to bring the three points back, I would hope to see a 

huge improvement in their pressing and in their creativity when they have the ball. City’s game is so refined and measured that they can cut through you but United have plenty of pace to hit them on the breaks and that is what I’m praying will happen.

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