Monday, February 12, 2007


Croke Park musings...

Well, it finally happened. Croke Park was opened up to rugby for the first time. Thankfully the world didn't end and it didn't signal the demise of Irishness as we know it. Unfortunately, it did signal the demise of Ireland's Grand Slam hopes as the team slipped to an agonising 20-17 defeat.

It's been a long time since a sporting result has knocked the stuffing out of me quite like that. I think I'd have to go back to Ireland's penalty shoot-out defeat to Spain at the 2002 World Cup for a defeat that was as gut-wrenching as this one. I suppose it's because we were so close to beating the French.

I thought they were supposed to be "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"? Not cheese-eating never-say-die bastards!

Who knew the French could be so annoying?

Having said all that, I am a Dubliner therefore losing at Croke Park is something I'm quite used to.

As for the occasion itself, I thought it was brilliant. I'm only sorry I wasn't able to see it in person but tickets were hard to come by. Still, from watching it on TV there was clearly a great atmosphere and I think all those in attendance were in admiration of the stadium. I just think it's a shame we had to wait so long to open it up but there's no point in dwelling on that.

Staying with Croke Park, I've heard reports that Peter Hain, NI's Secretary of State, could wind up laying a wreath in memorial to 13 fans shot dead on the first Bloody Sunday in 1920.

On this day, British forces opened fire on the crowd attending a Dublin vs Tipperary match causing the deaths of civilians including two boys aged 10 and 11, as well as Tipperary captain Michael Hogan.

Now as horrible as that incident was, and I don't wish to belittle it, I don't see what the point is of having Peter Hain do this, particularly on the eve of the England match. Doesn't that send out a rather worrying implication? That the English team are in some way connected to this monstrous incident? Forget the sins of the father, this is more like the sins of the grandfather.

Keep politics out of sport. The match against England at Croke Park shouldn't be made into this big political moment. The English anthem will be played yes (big deal) but the big issue here is beating them and retaining the Triple Crown.

To me this wreath-laying idea is a load of political posturing rather than a genuine feeling of remorse over the deaths of those innocents. Not only that but I feel this will serve no other purpose than to portray all of us here in Ireland as bitter individuals, still consumed by the past.

It's time to look forward. Leave that stuff for another day. Young Irish kids in attendance for the match should be asking which players are playing, not asking why innocent people were murdered.

God knows they've plenty of depressing stuff from our past to occupy themselves with at other times. How about giving them a day off from all that and letting them enjoy a sporting occasion?

Or is that too much to ask?


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.