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Billy Weir's wacky A-Z of the old year: A fond farewell to 2015

By Billy Weir

Published 31/12/2015

Kyle Lafferty lifts his Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill after the team qualified for Euro 2016
Kyle Lafferty lifts his Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill after the team qualified for Euro 2016

That's that then, 2015, or quarter past eight as we call it round our way, all over bar a rotund woman warbling in the corner, sporting folk either more ill than your average jungle-based bird or orbiting higher than Tim Peake. Here is a look at some of my highlights and low ones too with some clumsily crammed in TV references for contractual reasons. Happy old year.

A is for AP: The well wishes of everyone, a Lifetime Achievement from SPOTY, 4,358 winners and since he climbed off a horse for the last time AP McCoy hasn't been off our screens. And now he's only gone and got a knighthood. No mention of what brother, Tony, got.

B is for Bolt: What a man, fastest runner ever, ensuring good triumphed over the evil of Justin Gatlin at the World Championships and making Steve Cram so excited he couped his bowl of Start in the BBC commentary box. And with all that what will we remember? Yep, big Usain getting knocked down by a Chinese cameraman on a segway.

Read more: Vote: The Belfast Telegraph's best sporting moments of 2015 - now it's your call

C is for Claudio: Twelve months ago if you had said Leicester City would be where they are, Claudio Ranieri was favourite for manager of the year and Jamie Vardy would be the hottest property in the Premier League, people would have been calling for the men in white coats. If all that happens, Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers will get the heave-ho and Louis van Gaal will be the least popular thing at Old Trafford since, well, the last manager.

D is for Deflategate: The biggest story in the NFL turned out to be nothing more than a load of old balls and hot air. No, honestly. Or dishonestly depending on which judge you were. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots accused, found guilty, then let off a bit after some balls were found to be a bit deflated. And they say American Football isn't exciting.

E is for England: Congratulations to the Lionesses, England's footballing heroines who won the World Cup in Canada during the summer. What's that? They came third? Oh. Never mind, the men will make up for that at the Euros, just like the rugby chaps did at their World Cup. Oh…

F is for Final Score: If ever a letter was made to describe a programme this is a marriage made in hell. Complete breakdowns, presenters dressed as elves, dreadful links and graphical glitches galore, it can only be BBCNI's weekly bloopers show. Unwatchable but strangely unmissable at the same time.

G is for Gone: And in the words of Verbal Kint, 'and like that, they were gone'. Who are we talking about? Yes, it's the usual suspects, BBC Sport, who after hacking The Open golf into the rough they've now careered Grand Prix off the track too leaving only Wimbledon, the FA Cup final and two wee lads playing kerbsie in their portfolio.

H is for Haka: They came, they stuck their tongues out, yelled, did a wee dance, won and then went home again. The All Blacks confirmed what we all knew and the land that has more sheep than people won the Rugby World Cup. Hope for Ballymena United in the Irish Cup then.

I is for Ireland: Who will ever forget watching worried men in suits standing in a near-deserted Murrayfield waiting to see if they had won the Six Nations or not? Incredible stuff and even George Hook smiled on RTE. Now for the World Cup. Oh…

J is for Jason Day: My sportsman of the year, a man who came back off the floor, or fairway as the case was, recovering from a vertigo tumble at the US Open to come back and win the US PGA, loads of other stuff and became World No.1 for a while and seems like a top bloke.

K is for Kyle: Kesh's top sporting icon, Mr Lafferty (pictured with Michael O'Neill) had quite a year but his shameless torturing of cherubic-chopped Sky reporter Paul Gilmour was one of the year's highlights with his hope that we would get Argentina or Brazil at the Euros.

L is for LVG: Just how bad does a manager have to be that you long for David Moyes to come back? It's only a matter of time who gets chucked out first, United boss Louis van Gaal or that emergency seventh packet of mince pies you bought just in case.

M is for Murray: The king of Great Britain as Oor Andy became Our Andrew and led his country to the top of the tennis world with Davis Cup glory to cue more Union Jack waving and singing than a night at Arlene Foster's house.

N is for Norn Iron: Our wee country only went and did it but there was sadness too that Jackie Fullerton (82) would not be going to the Euros. Nothing to do with his age, it's just that they wouldn't get his hair through quarantine in time. Still, there's always Eurovision.

O is for O'Neills: A big congratulations to Michael and to Martin too for getting to France but that wasn't the O'Neill I meant. Mine was 'oh, Neil' in response to what Mr Lennon may or may not have done in recent times.

P is for Phew: The sigh of relief from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year when following on from Jeremy Corbyn's example a vote very nearly went pear-shaped with Kevin Sinfield almost winning.

Q is for Quiz: Sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Okay, who is the World Snooker Champion? No peeking, get off the Google. No, it's not Ronnie O'Sullivan. No, Stephen Hendry has retired. No, not that other Scottish fella, or the Aussie one either. Give up? It's Stuart Bingham. No, really.

R is for Rory: Quite a year for Mr McIlroy, a broken ankle playing footy with his pals, another engagement and a wee bit of golf thrown in for good measure. More ups and downs than a day at Barry's, which will be good practice for The Open in a few years' time.

S is for Spieth: Two Majors and he looked to be unstoppable, but Jordan proved he is human by missing out on the Grand Slam and his hair also looks a bit daft when he takes his hat off, thus taking another of Rory's crowns off him.

T is for Tyson: A boxing champion named after a boxing champion with a less than palatable past, what could go wrong? Let's keep this sporting though, Fury should have won Sports Personality of the Year hands down, or up, but on the bright side he is standing for the TUV at the next Assembly elections.

U is for UFC: And talking of men who should be kept in cages, Conor McGregor won whatever he was fighting for in the UFC thingymajig in all of 13 seconds, which is about as much as I can take of something that resembles Black Friday in Lidl.

V is for Van: A late entry this one, very late, as RVB took on MVG at the PDC with neither Van needing an HGV licence. They had a licence to thrill though as Raymond van Barneveld turned back the years to defeat fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen in a classic darting encounter. Watch him lose in the next round.

W is for Whoops: Ah, who could forget the fastest-moving man at the Rugby World Cup, referee Craig Joubert who hot-footed it out of Twickenham faster than a scalded Springbok after denying Scotland victory over Australia and a place in the semi-final. Still, they'll get over it, the Scottish don't hold a grudge. I mean, Culloden was in 1746 and they hardly mention it…

X is for X-rated: I can hardly wait for the Australian Open tennis when home-town bad-boy Nick Kyrgios will be back in action. After his antics of 2015 with throwing of games, tantrums and expletives there won't have been as much fun in Melbourne since Mrs Mangel caught herself in the mangle.

Y is for Yellow: The jersey of that hue became all too real for Chris Froome as he won a second Tour de France title and got covered in something not just as welcome as champagne.

Z is for Johnson: Yippee, Zach won The Open which means I didn't have to make up something tenuous about zebras, Zinedine Zidane or Zimmer frames to fill that awkward 26th spot.

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