Newspaper headlines: The two Rorys and 'Gerry Adams Day'

By Caroline McClatchey

Image source, News Letter

It's a day when news usually reserved for the back pages makes the front pages.

But be warned, there's a big helping of sporting hyperbole in Monday's papers after Ireland thrashed England in the Six Nations to win their third Grand Slam (they won every game for the uninitiated).

Captain Rory Best is the focus for the Belfast Telegraph and News Letter. He is pictured in both, celebrating the silverware with his two young children.

The Telegraph, in its viewpoint, says Ireland last won the Grand Slam in 2009 and only two players were part of both squads - Rob Kearney and Ulsterman Rory Best.

"Rory is looking forward to the next World Cup and turning in some of the best performances of his life," it says.

"This team could be the greatest ever to represent Ireland and Rory is its leader and talisman - and a great example to every kid wanting to play the game."

'Growth spurt'

After the match on England's home turf, Best was asked to compare his two Grand Slam victories.

"This feels more special, not only because I have started every game but also because of captaining the side," he said.

"Every kid grows up dreaming of playing for Ireland, but to win something while captaining in that special green jersey is the stuff that dreams are made of. It's the biggest highlight of my career."

Image source, PA
Image caption, That was some growth spurt - Ireland's JacoB Stockdale celebrating his try

The News Letter also says it was the "best of times" for Jacob Stockdale.

Calling him Ireland's "latest rugby sensation", the paper says the former Wallace High School pupil almost walked away from the game as a "dejected teenager".

Derek Suffern, coach at the Lisburn school, said Stockdale was small but strong and struggled to make the first team "but he had a growth spurt one summer and then he never really looked back".

The Daily Mirror has a double-page spread of the "heroes' return" to Irish soil.

The red carpet was rolled out at the Sherbourne Hotel in Dublin for the victors but a larger-scale homecoming at the Aviva Stadium, with thousands of fans expected, was cancelled due to the snow.

Feast or famine

Another Rory is also making headlines and it's none other than Holywood golfing superstar Rory McIlroy.

Image source, All Sport/Getty Images
Image caption, Luck of the Irish. Rory hit the green and lifted the Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy

The Belfast Telegraph declares the 18-month famine over after his "feast of birdies" to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the US.

It was celebrations galore over the weekend and the Irish News has rounded-up the various St Patrick's Day events with a colourful photo gallery under the headline "Saints, shamrocks and a little beast from the east".

It says thousands of revellers wrapped up warm against the cold weather to celebrate the day in Belfast, where a 20-ft snake kicked off celebrations.

On a more serious note, it says there were 23 arrests around the city centre and Holylands area but the paper comments that "there were thankfully no reports of large-scale confrontations with the police".

As with all the other papers, the Irish News carries the story of another arrest - Londonderry-born footballer Darron Gibson has been suspended by his club Sunderland after being charged with drink driving.

The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international was arrested after an incident in Sunderland on St Patrick's Day.


Another story which features heavily in the papers is the honour bestowed on Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams by New York mayor Bill De Blasio.

During a St Patrick's Day breakfast in the US on Saturday, the mayor declared 17 March should be renamed "Gerry Adams Day" and this has, unsurprisingly, sparked some strong reaction.

The Belfast Telegraph, News Letter and Irish News carry numerous condemnations from unionists.

Image source, PA
Image caption, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed this year's St Patrick's Day as Gerry Adams Day

In its viewpoint, the Telegraph says while the people of NI "owe a great debt to Americans like former President Bill Clinton and special envoy George Mitchell", there are many more Americans whose "simplistic, green-tinted vision of the bitter and sordid conflict we call the Troubles only added to its toxic legacy".

It says St Patrick is one of the "few shared symbols of this divided community" and calls for St Patrick's Day to be above politics.

And finally, the best place to live in Northern Ireland?

It's Ballyhackamore in Belfast, according to research by the Sunday Times newspaper.

The Daily Mirror reports that the area has become known as "Ballysnackamore" thanks to the "brunching, dining and sipping of cocktails that are enjoyed along the Upper Newtownards Road".