Jonathan Drennan

Author's posts

Feb 20

Carl Frampton: ‘I never feel any fear but that doesn’t mean my family don’t’

The boxer talks about postponing his retirement, fighting in front of his kids and how Thomas Hearns kept him humbleBy Jonathan Drennan for Behind the LinesThe first day of training camp is over for featherweight boxer Carl Frampton and he finally has …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2018/feb/20/carl-frampton-boxing-nonito-donaire-fear

Jan 30

The Glaswegian BMX rider whose redemptive story has hit Hollywood

John Buultjens fell in love with cycling when he saw ET as a kid. Now he hopes a film about his life will inspire a new generationBy Jonathan Drennan for Behind the LinesJohn Buultjens, a Glaswegian who made his name and fame by riding and designing BM…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2018/jan/30/john-buultjens-bmx-rider-hollywood-et-cycling

Oct 03

What is 2,011km long, lasts 82 days and takes 20,093 shots? Golf’s longest hole

Two retired rugby players needed a fresh challenge, so they set off for Mongolia, fell in with a stray dog and completed the longest hole of golf ever played

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Adam Rolston squatted and measured his putt. The early evening sun at Mt Bogd Golf Club in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia still hadn’t quite dried the moisture off the green, and he approached the ball tentatively. Two hundred spectators surrounded the green, including locals, close friends and family as he holed a seven-foot putt perfectly. The longest hole in golf had finished after 82 days and 20,093 shots across Mongolia.

Rolston has played many rounds of golf in his life, but he knows he will never complete a more satisfying scorecard. A former rugby international for Hong Kong, Rolston and his caddie Ron Rutland played the longest hole ever completed across Mongolia, covering 2,011km of difficult terrain, playing through the desert, icy water, rocky ground and glaciers. The most obvious question remains: why?

Related: The boy whose commentary for his blind friend inspired his sporting heroes

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2017/oct/03/longest-hole-golf-ever-mongolia

Sep 13

The boy whose commentary for his blind friend inspired his sporting heroes

When Sydney Swans players heard a 12-year-old boy had been commentating for his mate at one of their matches, they wanted to meet the two youngsters

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

“Mateship” is an Australian expression that stands for friendship and equality, even in times of great challenge. Mark Smith and Jarryd Haines, two young boys from Sydney, embody this ethos of close friendship. The pair have known each other for most of their lives and always enjoyed playing sport together. If there was a ball involved, they would be in the backyard, acting out a crucial Ashes test or taking a spectacular mark in the Australian Rules Grand Final for their beloved Sydney Swans.

A few years ago, when Mark was only nine, he was diagnosed with cancer of the brain and spine. It robbed the young boy of many things: his sight, part of his hearing and his ability to play the sports he loves. Throughout the gruelling medical treatment that left Mark nauseous and exhausted, Jarryd remained his close friend, sharing their continued love of sport, particularly the Sydney Swans.

Related: How do retired athletes find work? A footballer has set up a careers site to help

Heard a beautiful thing at @sydneyswans game tonight. A boy was giving his blind brother a brilliant play by play commentary all game long.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2017/sep/13/boy-commentate-blind-friend-inspired-sydney-swans

Jun 22

Jack Kyle: the student who skipped class to play for the Lions against the All Blacks

Jack Kyle’s parents weren’t happy when he ditched his exams for a four-month tour but he paid them back with tries against the All Blacks and the Wallabies

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Dr Jack Kyle was voted Ireland’s greatest ever rugby player in 2002, more than four decades after he has last represented his country. He first played for Ireland during the second world war in a friendly against a British Army XV but made his official international debut in 1947, the year before he helped Ireland win their first ever grand slam. He went on to represent the newly named British Lions in New Zealand and Australia but, regardless of what he achieved as a fly-half, he was most proud of his 34-year career working as a surgeon in Zambia.

Related: Jack Kyle, one of Ireland’s all-time rugby greats, dies aged 88

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2017/jun/22/jack-kyle-lions-new-zealand-all-blacks-australia