Here is part 2 of the highlights from the sporting year.
Super Bowl XLVII
The Super Bowl of 2013 was quiet the occasion in New Orleans, where, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. It was unique in that the two coaches, John and Jim Harbaugh are brothers, adding more to the story of what is the biggest sports day in the USA. This was the first time that this had happened in Super Bowl history, giving the game the name the Harbaugh Bowl. This game was also the last game for Ray Lewis who ended his 17 year Ravens career on the games biggest stage as a winner.
The lights went out in the third quarter with the Ravens in control, leading 28-6. After the 34 minute outage the 49ers came back into it, scoring 17 unanswered points. Between the blackout and the half time show, Beyonce being the entertainment, the Ravens offence had been off the field for almost an hour and a half. In an interview with ESPN this month linebacker Terrell Suggs said the blackout affected them as it was then they thought “we are 28-6 up in the Super Bowl”, victory was theirs for the taking and it made them nervous. The 49ers came back and almost won, they were turned over on downs just 7 yards from the Ravens line, there was a possible penalty in the end zone but a flag wasn’t thrown. The Ravens took an intentional safety as they ran out the clock to victory.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins Game 7
The Toronto Maple Leafs made it back to the Stanley Cup Play Off for the first time since 2004 where they faced the Boston Bruins in the first round. It had looked like a quick elimination for the Leafs, trailing the series 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Boston. However, a pair of 2-1 Leaf wins meant the series headed for Game 7 in Boston.
It looked like the Leafs were going to complete the amazing comeback, leading 4-1 in the third with just over 11 minutes to play, it was set for a memorable Leafs win. Then Boston started their amazing comeback. Nathan Horton pulled one back with 9:18 gone in the third. With the extra attacker Milan Lucic made it 4-3 after 18:38, Patrice Bergeron completed the comeback at 19:09, bringing the game into overtime. Patrice Bergeron won it for the Bruins with 6:05 played in overtime to send the Bruins into the second round and finish the agony for the Leafs. Game 7 was a truly amazing game and one of, if not the, game of the year in the NHL.
For highlights of Game 7 click on the link.
Monaghan win Ulster Title
The provincial championships were given a breath of life when Monaghan claimed the 2013 Ulster Title. In the early rounds of the championship, one sided affairs were common, Mayo were blazing a trail through Connacht, Dublin were untouchable in Leinster and Kerry and Cork were winning big in Munster. There was talk of reform, restructuring and the provincial championships were being shot at from all sides. Up north Donegal were on course for three in a row. Had they completed that feat then the predictability of the provincial championships would have been further under scored. This year Mayo won their first three in a row since 1951, the last time another county won Munster outside of Cork and Kerry was Clare in 1992 while Dublin have won 8 of the last 9 Leinster titles. The provincial championships needed a shot in the arm and Monaghan provided that when they beat Donegal 0-13 to 0-7.
Monaghan started with huge intensity and built up a lead that they would never relinquish. Donegal would not score until the 32nd minute as they struggled with Monaghan tenacious tackling. The “out Donegaled” Donegal as Jim Mc Guiness’s charges are known for building leads and then being difficult to break down, sometimes cynically but also with a huge effort on defence and tackling.
This was the first Ulster title won by Monaghan since 1988 and lead to euphoric scenes at the full time whistle.