Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some Points For Discussion re. Last Saturday etc.

It's the match that won't die. So, never being one to set the sports discussion agenda when we can slavishly follow the prattle of the masses, here are a few more points for rumination regarding last Saturday.

Would God Save the Queen have been so respectfully observed by 'the soccer crowd'?
Sorry to go on about this, really; just one more question, ma'am - my wife is such a big fan of yours.

One of the Proven Facts established last Saturday is that the Irish people are mature,well-rounded humanists, for whom respect for an opponent's national anthem is a natural part of decent manners. To a man.

Anyone who has spent an evening at Lansdowne Road watching the Irish soccer team, however, will know that the patrons of those occasions like a boo. They'd boo anyone given half a chance. Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy; Peter Lovenkrands and Shota Arveladze (the poor Rangers players who were booed by the naughty Provos on the terraces); Taoisigh, Lord Mayors, councillors, FAI honchos, UEFA dignitaries, overzealous stewards. I've even heard a schoolboy international, part of a team who'd won some tournament or other, get booed because he plied his trade at Manchester United.

Generally, fuelled by gargle and a sense of mischief, the Irish soccer fan sees the opportunity of a good boo as part of the matchday experience. Its a similar subclass of popular culture to that in which pantomime resides, a place where cheering and booing represent a satisfying survey of the gamut of human experience.

So, Mr.Mature and Well-Rounded Irishman, are we to believe that, with the first parpings of the God Save the Queen at an Irish soccer match, respectful silence would be observed?

Is there some sort of magic fairy dust sprinkled on the spot from whence O'Gara launched that cross-kick?
Twice in recent years has a moment of play in Croke Park stolen the breath away. On Saturday, when Ronan O'Gara dinked that cross-kick toward a spot of thin air where he had calculated in a millisecond that Shane Horgan's outstretched arms would soon be.

The other time was in August of 2005, in the drawn All-Ireland Senior Football championship quarter-final between Tyrone and Dublin, when Owen Mulligan caught a long ball around the 45 into his midriff, then turned and set off on a shimmying, jinking run that ended up with the ball exploding off his boot and into the Dublin goal.

Both of these moments had their genesis at around the same spot on the Croke Park turf, give or take a few yards. Was this the former site of a fairy ring? Did druids once meet to sacrifice goats on this turf? Did Vikings offer praise to Thor and Odin at this precise point a millenium ago?

Maybe Buddha once napped there on his way to transcendence. Certainly the two players involved achieved a Zen state of high sporting grace, that place where everything around them slows down and the surroundings bend to their will.

Will Croker 2007 be the new G.P.O 1916?
Gore Vidal, the American author and witty type, once said "every time a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies." Circumstances prevented TSA from being able to join the scavenge for tickets for last Saturday, so every friend or acquaintance that informed me that they had secured a prized brief unknowingly stuck a metaphorical dagger in my jealous heart.

And then the occasion goes on to be this big watershed moment in Irish history blah-de-blah and a bloody good game too. So now its one of these "were you there?" things, and your children will come running home from school because their friends are slagging them because their Dad's such a loser that he wasn't even at the Ireland v England match at Croke Park.

Then in later years your grandchildren will slink sullenly from your knee when you tell them you weren't there unlike bloody Zyborg next door (its the future, people will have names like that then. Well, was anyone called Darren in the1950s?) whose granddad was in the Cusack Stand that day. The incontinent old bastard.

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

and in 50 years time, just like we imagine the Phoenix Park in 1979, we will wonder how did the stewards cope with 4 million people through the gates as we will all claim we were there.

I for one, enjoyed a few pints in Fagans prior to taking my Hogan Stand Lower seat. What a day.

(it's all in my head of course)

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Blogger noel90 said...

WOULD GSTQ have been respected at Celtic Park ?

I don't think so.......

noel.

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