2021 was a year like no other, except for 2020, with the start of the year being very barren in every aspect including sports. With Covid-19 disrupting much of the sporting calendar for the past two years we got Euro 2020 in 2021 and the Olympics in 2021 also.
The biggest change for sports, particularly early in the year was the ban on fans attending games which was one of the oddest experiences, watching the likes of the Premier League and Six Nations without anything other than the sounds of the teams playing took away from the experience. The joy of beating England in the Aviva really wasn’t the same.
2021 was the year where we were able to see the importance of fans at these games and events, the atmosphere they add to any event. You could see this when they let fans back into Premier league games and subsequently Euro 2020, these sports are not the same without the fans, and in England’s case it might have done their reputation good if no fans were allowed.
The Olympics felt more or less the same as the last one with plenty of Irish involvement particularly in the rowing and boxing in which we emerged with a gold and bronze in each. The Olympics as a whole was overshadowed by the Covid protocols and the lack of stadium atmosphere really dampened the big events, but there is nothing better in sport than welcoming back victories Olympians and other than this nothing else matters.
Closer to home the GAA season was completely turned upside down after the All-Ireland football final in December of last year. No fixtures even took place until June, but the shortened version provided for some thrilling games, most notably the All-Ireland football semi-final games which will go down in the history books as classics.
The unintended consequences of this was that the Club championship is still going on and won’t be finished until next February. The last two years of the sporting calendar have had to be drawn and redrawn several times and it won’t be back to its normal schedule for a few years.
All in all, there have a lot of memorable moments from the last year in sport, from Mayo toppling the mighty Dublin to Ireland dominating the All Blacks it will be a year remembered for more than just Covid, even if it has overshadowed everything that has happened for the last two years.