2009 recalls a year of sporting highs and lows...

It was the year that the 'Hand of Henry' denied Ireland the chance to go to the soccer World Cup Finals, as a blatant handball by Thierry Henry helped France to a 2-1 aggregate victory in a qualifying playoff.

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RTÉ News reports as Republic of Ireland hopes of World Cup Qualification are dashed on 18 November 2009. (via RTÉ Archives)

Irish rugby celebrated a first Grand Slam in sixty-one years and Leinster won the Heineken Cup for the first time.

'We're gonna be in the Hudson', an American pilot calmly informed air traffic controllers as he crash-landed an airliner onto the freezing waters of the Hudson Bay off Manhattan Island: all 155 passengers and crew were safely rescued and pilot Chesley Sullenberger became a national hero.

Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger

In November, Ireland was hit by heavy flooding; Cork was among the worst affected areas as the River Lee burst its banks and devastated large parts of the city centre.

'Catch It - Kill It - Bin It' was the slogan for a public information campaign in Ireland, as a huge international vaccination programme got underway against the H1N1 'swine flu' virus.

Pat Kenny

Pat Kenny stepped down as host of The Late Late Show, while economics editor George Lee left RTÉ for Fine Gael and won a Dail by-election in Dublin South.

Ireland voted 'Yes' to the Lisbon Treaty in a second referendum.

There was widespread public anger and fury at the conduct of Irish State and Catholic Church authorities as the Ryan and Murphy reports exposed decades of child abuse, neglect, complicity and coverups.

Stephen Gately

The showbusiness world mourned the passing of 'King Of Pop' Michael Jackson, while closer to home the year was also marked by the sudden death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately at the age of 33.

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RTÉ News reports the day following the death of Stephen Gately on 11 October 2009. (via RTÉ Archives)

The showbusiness world mourned the passing of 'King Of Pop' Michael Jackson, while closer to home the year was also marked by the sudden death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately at the age of 33.

Barack and Michelle Obama

Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States: there were celebrations in his ancestral home of Kenya and in Moneygall, Co. Offaly.

Golfer Tiger Woods battled scandal after a string of infidelities was revealed.

As Ireland's government struggled to contain a growing crisis in banking and public debt, 2009 saw the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, a multi-billion euro recapitalisation plan for other banks and the introduction of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

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RTÉ News reports on the establishment of NAMA on 30 July 2009. (RTÉ Archives)

2009 - The Playlist:

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling

Lisa Hannigan - Lille

Westlife - What About Now

Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

 La Roux - Bulletproof

Florence & The Machine - Cosmic Love

The Coronas - Listen Dear

Lady Gaga - Poker Face

Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition