Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heaven is a Place on Earth

Okay, okay. Look, I won't go on about it. I know everyone's a bit Munstered-out at this stage. Enough already, with the skyscraping prose, the sentences built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The Go-To Guy in these situations, Vincent Hogan in the Indo, marked his territory early doors: "The skeletal, white confection trellising the Limerick sky on Cratloe Road speaks almost of an infidelity to the past. Thomond's cadaverous old face is gone now. The new stadium, half-built and muddily chaotic on Saturday, already bears a discernible vanity." Good old Vince, all his geese are majestic, winged sentries of the grey-dappled skies.

No, fair's fair, we'll keep it simple this time: Munster woz great. It rained. O'Gara woz deadly.

Gosh, I feel strangely liberated.

It's easy, you see, to talk about great sporting phenomenon like Munster in the language of epic poetry, especially on days like Saturday, with their portentous skies and formidable foes.
Sometimes, though, in situations like this, I wonder why we aren't equally drawn to the minutiae of these occasions. The countless quotidian chores that, added up, make great victories generally only get mentioned, if at all, in the more considered pages of the cash-in book.

Clearly, had Munster not put masses of painstaking work into perfecting their own line-out and, in turn, plotting the utter decimation of Wasps', perhaps Saturday would be getting recorded now as another dark, dank evening of failure for Irish sport.

Had Ronan O'Gara not spent much of his waking life putting boot to ball, reaching the standard of expertise that allowed him his 'perfect game' on Saturday, we'd surely be talking of the fine, worthy champions that Wasps still were.

If Shaun Payne wasn't as safe as a Sherman tank at the dodgems under the high ball, would we not be pin-pointing Danny Cipriani's up-an-unders as a key factor in the Wasps victory?

Obviously there are countless other small, unsung tasks that are performed to perfection in a victory such as Munster's on Saturday, and the fact that most of us can't see them is what often makes a sporting victory seem so magical, as if the teams are the playthings of unseen gods.
But forget about Deus ex machina, on these occasions, God is in the detail.


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