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Archive for May, 2012

Saturday May 19

Leinster Hurling First Round:

Westmeath 0-14 Antrim 0-12
Laois 0-20 Carlow 0-13.

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GAA Championship

The 2012 Gaelic Athletic Association Championship, kicked off on May 6. New York hosted Sligo in the Connacht Senior Football Championship Quarter Final. The final result was: Sligo 3-21 New York 0-6. Over the coming months, I will keep you up to date on any results you might have missed.

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The Archipelago of the Azores (UK /əˈzɔrz/ ə-ZORZ, US /ˈeɪzɔrz/ AY-zorz; Portuguese: Açores, IPA: [ɐˈsoɾɨʃ]) is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about 1,500 km (930 mi) west of Lisbon and about 1,900 km (1,200 mi) southeast of Newfoundland. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the Azores, one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. Its main industries are: agriculture, dairy farming (for cheese and butter products primarily), livestock ranching, fishing and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region; added to which, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in many aspects of the service and tertiary sectors.

There are nine major Azores islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km (370 mi) and lie in a northwest-southeast direction. The vast extent of the islands defines an immense exclusive economic zone of 1,100,000 km2 (420,000 sq mi). The westernmost point of this area is 3,380 km (2,100 mi) from the North American continent. All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m (7,713 ft). The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic.

Because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries, their culture, dialect, cuisine and traditions vary considerably.

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Setanta Ó’hAilpín made his Cork minor hurling debut in 1994. Setanta made his minor football bow the following year. He won two Munster minor hurling titles and one All Ireland hurling crown. Ó’hAilpín made his U21 hurling debut in 1996 and collected 3 Munster and 2 All Ireland titles. Setanta made his senior hurling debut in 1996 and his senior football bow in 1999. His football career although short lived (injury forced his retirement in 2001) produced a Munster title and a National League title. His hurling career has proved more fruitful, he has amassed 5 munster titles, 1 National League title and 3 All Ireland titles. After being cut from the squad in 2010, it was feared that his career was over. However, he was reinstated to the squad this year. Individually, Setanta made a clean sweep of Vodafone, Gaelic Players Association and Texaco Hurler of the year awards in 2004, to this he added RTE Sports Personality of the Year, an All Ireland title and was selected on the International Rules team. He has won 3 All Star awards.

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Azerbaijan (i/ˌæzərbaɪˈdʒɑːn/ AZ-ər-by-JAHN; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası) is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey to the northwest.

Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage. Aside from having been the first Muslim country to have operas, theater and plays, Azerbaijan today is among the Muslim countries where support for secularism and tolerance is the highest. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world, was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, its surrounding territories and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to be not diplomatically recognized by any nation and the region is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war.

Azerbaijan is a secular and a unitary constitutional republic. It is one of the six independent Turkic states as well as an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. On May 9, 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly (the term of office began on June 19, 2006). A Special Envoy of the European Commission is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Azerbaijan is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union and member of the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in World Trade Organization.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion but the majority of people adhere to the Shia branch of Islam, although Muslim identity tends to be based more on culture and ethnicity rather than religion and Azerbaijan remains as one of the most liberal majority-Muslim nations. After gaining its independence, Azerbaijan has reached a high level of human development, economic development and literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment and intentional homicide, compared to other Eastern European and CIS countries. On 1 January 2012, the country started a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

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Swimmers Qualify.

Olympics: Irish swimmers took another two seats on an increasingly crowded plane to London today as Melanie Nocher and Sycerika McMahon both posted A standards at the European Championships in Hungary. They will join Grainne Muprhy and Barry Murphy in the Aquatic Centre at this summer’s Games.

With time running out to make the grade for Olympic qualification, Nocher and McMahon came good in Debrecen, Nocher qualifying for the 200 metres backstroke and McMahon claiming a place in the 100m breaststroke.

Remarkably, the 17-year-old McMahon posted identical times in both the heats and semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke, clocking 1:08.37 on both occasions to set a new Irish record. That was the fifth fastest time overall and good enough for a place in tomorrow’s final while the Portaferry teenager will also be going in the heats of the 200m individual medley.

Nocher, who will be going to her second Olympics having previously competed in Beijing four years ago, needed to lower her own Irish record in the 200m backstroke to dip under the A standard required. And the Holywood girl duly delivered, the 24-year-old finishing fifth in the final in a time of 2:10.75, just .09 of a second inside the mark.

There was no such joy for Fiona Doyle, however, who bowed out of the 100m breaststroke at the semi-final stage but she could yet make it to London in the 200m breaststroke later in the week.

“It’s a great day for Irish Swimming, for both Sycerika and Melanie to produce great swims under big pressure was outstanding. We are obviously disappointed for Fiona, but very excited for the two girls,” Swim Ireland performance director Peter Banks said afterwards.

As it stands, there are already 43 Irish athletes qualified for the Olympics with the final total guaranteed to top 50. The cycling (three places) and equestrian (five places) teams have yet to be finalised while tri-athletes Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble are expected to rubber-stamp their berths later this week.

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Common Leinster.

Leinster Rugby, usually referred to simply as Leinster, is an Irish professional rugby union team based in Dublin, representing the Irish province of Leinster, that competes in the RaboDirect Pro 12 (formerly known as the Magners League) and also competes in the Heineken Cup. The team is also considered a representative team because it represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Leinster Branch, which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU and is responsible for rugby union throughout the province of Leinster. The province plays in blue and white and the crest is in the form of a harp. Leinster’s traditional home ground was Donnybrook Stadium, in Dublin 4 although the majority of home games are now played at the RDS Arena. More important games are played in the Aviva Stadium.

Leinster turned professional along with the teams representing the other Irish provinces in 1995 and has competed in the Celtic League since it was founded in 2001, having previously competed in the annual interprovincial championship. Leinster A competes in the British and Irish Cup. Leinster has twice been Celtic League champions and twice been Heineken Cup winners.

On 21 May 2011 Leinster won its second Heineken Cup with a thrilling 33-22 victory over Northampton Saints. Leinster is currently ranked 1st place in the ERC European Rankings.

Tomorrow, will see Leinster attempt to make history by becoming the first team to win three Heineken Cups in four years.

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