Clear your schedule because November 11-12 is an amazing weekend for Irish sport on TV
Cancel your plans and give your housemates advance warning because you ain’t going to be moving off that couch for the best part of two days.
Every now and again, the sporting Gods combine to deliver a weekend of sporting goodness so perfect that it’s almost an insult to do anything but bow down and accept their generous bounty and spend hours upon hours worshipping in front of the TV.
For Irish sports fans, the weekend of November 11-12 is just that weekend.
The diehards would have spotted this one coming as soon as a James McClean goal guided Ireland to a famous victory over Wales in Cardiff.
After the away leg in our play-off against Denmark was confirmed for Saturday, November 11, we’re now looking at three major sporting events involving Irish international teams in the space of less than 24 hours.
Arrange supplies, tell your mates and do what you have to do to ensure sole control of the TV for that weekend; here’s how it’s going to go down.
Ireland v South Africa, RTÉ Sport. Kick-off: 5.30pm
It’s been quite a long time since the Irish rugby team faced a top-tier nation in a competitive encounter – they did play test matches against the US and Japan in June that were somewhat overshadowed by the Lions tour – so next month’s November internationals can’t come quickly enough.
And the first one against South Africa – even allowing for our thorny history with Argentina over the years – is most certainly the mouth-watering of three internationals at the Aviva Stadium on consecutive weekends.
The Springboks will arrive in Dublin on the back of a somewhat erratic Rugby Championship, which included two draws with Australia and a 57-zip defeat to the All Blacks in Albany last month.
It should be a cracker at the Aviva and hopefully the precursor to Ireland being announced as hosts for the 2023 Rugby World Cup a few days later.
Denmark v Ireland, RTÉ Sport. Kick-off: 7.45pm.
Not that we should underestimate the threat of a team ahead of us in the world rankings - a team that can call on the services of a red-hot Christian Eriksen - but let’s be honest about it, Denmark were the team we all wanted when the draw for the 2018 World Cup play-offs were made on Tuesday.
Martin O’Neill’s side are far from perfect, but we have a habit of digging out results when we really need them and what better caveat than an opportunity to qualify for our first World Cup in 16 years?
Fingers crossed we’re well set up for the return leg at the Aviva Stadium when the final whistle goes in Copenhagen; if you’re thinking of making the trip, we have all the essential info here.
Australia v Ireland, first test, RTÉ Sport. Throw-in: TBC
The International Rules concept isn’t universally loved by fans of GAA in Ireland and of AFL in Australia, but the governing bodies have taken steps to ensure that it is (a) competitive and (b) free from the violence that has marred it at various times throughout its tumultuous history.
As a result, it makes for a pretty decent spectacle and it’s always fascinating to see how players from different counties combine on the same team months after going to war in the Championship.
A throw-in time has yet to be confirmed for the first test, but with Perth eight hours ahead of home, it’s likely to take place at a time that will nicely coincide with breakfast or brunch on Sunday morning.
That's not all...
Once you’re done with those three, the sporting action doesn’t stop there. With provincial club GAA action in full swing in mid-November, there will likely be fare on Eir Sport and TG4 to keep the sporting weekend moving well into Sunday.
Outside of Irish sport, while there are no Premier League fixtures that weekend, the Brazilian Grand Prix is on Sunday and there’s a full programme of NFL games on Sunday night.
Come to think of it, you may need to take Monday off to give those eyes a rest. You’ll have earned it.
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