Five alternative ways to spend next summer now that Ireland's World Cup dream is over
Planning on a World Cup boycott?
It's fair to say that Ireland's crucial World Cup play-off with Denmark probably could have gone better. With that in mind and with dreams in tatters, next summer's feast of football in Russia probably isn't at the top of your agenda right now, so what else can we look forward to in June and July 2018?
Gigs, and plenty of them
Summer in Ireland means the occasional patch of good weather and a host of gigs across the country. It's only November but there's much to get excited about with The National taking over Donnybrook Stadium for a mini-festival of sorts on June 15 and 16, with Future Islands pitching up the following day.
Liam Gallagher headlines Malahide Castle and Ormeau Park in Belfast on the same days The National will be doing their thing, while veterans like Billy Joel (Aviva Stadium, June 23) and Roger Waters (3Arena, June 26 and 27) will aim to show that they can still bring the noise.
Fans of music and a spot of surfing can hit up Sea Sessions in Bundoran from June 22 - 24.
Hit the cinema
It wouldn’t be summer without a rake of big blockbusters hitting your local cinema, so what better way to forget about heartbreak than by sitting in silence in a dark room full of complete strangers? By the time the action is underway in Russia, Deadpool 2 will be out a couple of weeks but given its triumphant trouncing of the box office first time out, you’ll have plenty of time to get reacquainted with Ryan Reynolds’ x-rated Merc with a Mouth.
June 16 sees The Incredibles make their eagerly-awaited return to the big screen in the imaginatively-titled The Incredibles 2, while there’s further sequel action a week later as Jurassic World 2 aims to sink razor-sharp teeth into your nostalgia factor. Elsewhere, the seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks back into gear with Ant-Man and The Wasp on June 29, while the Purge series returns on July 4 for a fourth outing.
If you’re still itching for some popcorn heroics by the time the football is done and dusted, Tom Cruise will be performing yet another death-defying stunt or two when Mission: Impossible 6 lands on July 27. And hey, if you don’t fancy a trip to the multiplex you can always…
Brush up on the Fast and Furious franchise
No franchise has the right to suddenly get really good five films in, but then the Fast and the Furious series is no ordinary beast. Having dropped an awkwardly serious undertone in favour of going completely wacky by the time The Rock showed up - Fast Five is essentially Ocean’s 11 with sports cars - the box office juggernaut continues to delight with a sense of knowing humour, excellent stunts and a ludicrously cheesy sense of familial togetherness all key factors.
What’s more, a diverse cast and equal time for male and female characters to shine means it’s one of the more progressive action adventures out there. So buckle up before that Rock/Statham spin-off hits the screens in 2019 and the series finally concludes in outer space. Probably.
Keep it local
Ireland’s absence from the World Cup is still going to hurt, but probably the most packed GAA championship calendar there has ever been will make up the sporting deficit.
Changes to both the football and hurling championships means the action will come thick and fast in both codes in the summer of 2018. Key dates to look out for include the Connacht football final on June 17, the Munster football final on June 23, the Leinster and Ulster football finals on June 24 and the Leinster and Munster hurling finals on July 1.
And finally, er, watch the World Cup...
Let's get real for a second. Whether tuning in for the 'what could have been' morbid curiosity of following Denmark's progress or whipping up a detailed spreadsheet and taking the month off work to catch every single game, you're likely to succumb to the beautiful game as it dominates the world once again. We're getting behind Panama, if only for the Van Halen belter of the same name...
Clip via ScreamDream3000
The Hard Yards
This week: Champions Cup, What next for Jackson and Olding, and French heartbreak for Jimmy
A weekly show bringing you expert analysis, opinion, and the latest news on all things rugby.Join us for unique insights into the game and exclusive behind-the-scenes tales from players