Weekend events at Croke Park – a reaction February 27, 2007Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
The recent hype, controversy and in some areas, downright madness that surrounded the recent Ireland v England rugby game at Croke Park, has come and gone in a wave of celebration and hindsight analysis.
It was a significant event in our history, sporting and otherwise but I think the majority of the hype and bumf that surrounded the game and the occasion was a poor reflection on the Ireland of today’s way of thinking. I’d be interested to hear how the build up went in other areas of the country but down here in the south east, a lot of what I came across was positive towards the event, its participants and so on ….
A notable exception was our bin-money-collection-man, who hails from across the water and although he has been here for 30+ years, is still an ardent follower of the men in white. He shocked me at the door the other night when we were chatting, saying that he had given back his ticket for fear of a riot ! It was only then that I began to realise that there were people who thought that something might actually kick off and Ireland would be seen as the first country ever in the world to have trouble at a rugby match !
Having listened to Republican Sinn Fein and their get-out that “they couldn’t help it if people turned up and caused trouble”, I am glad that their paltry protests were drowned out by the 80,000 fans who turned out intent on nothing but a good time. There is a saying that “water will always find its level”, and I feel that these people and their rivers of ignorant thinking have firmly found their level at the bottom of the barrel of Irish society.
At Croke Park itself, I was heartened to see the England team and anthem get the respect they deserved and equally delighted in the fact that we thumped them on the pitch. In the pub where I was watching the match, there was none of the tomfoolery (booing the anthem or otherwise) that was expected.
That however, was almost a secondary for me. The whole occasion showed that the vast majority of law abiding and non-rioters on this island would not be made afraid or controlled by the narrow minded thoughts of the few … It showed the world that, despite past events, modern Ireland has moved on and would no more be seen as passionately anti-English or anti anyone. It showed the great pride we take in sport and whatever our political leanings may be, that we can act as a mature society. I am proud it was such a great occasion.
In this day and age, hatred and violence and intimidation and past bygones are the cause of too many deaths, too many miserable lives and too much sadness … I’m glad we’ve moved on.