Tuesday, March 24, 2009


23 Marta 2009

0h me, oh my, what a weekend! GRANDSLAM. GRAND BLOODY MAGNIFICENT GRAND SLAM. And then Bernard Dunne. SLAM. SLAM !!!

What a weekend for Irish sport.

I only got interested in rugby this last ten years or so and even now I don’t entirely understand all the rules. But I don’t understand Tiddley Winks either and if Ireland was in the Tiddley Wink Final I would be out there, my country right or wrong, supporting our team. So it was with that I settled down before the TV on Saturday last to cheer on the lads.

Of course rugby isn’t Tiddley Winks. At the risk of offending Tiddleywinkers, it’s much more exciting that that. I’m a Gaelic sports fan myself, though I believe all sports are good.

Soccer, with the honourable exception of Geordie Best, and Ireland under Jack Charlton’s leadership, is a bit pedestrian for my taste. Hurling or Camogie is your only man; with football a close second, and handball bringing up the rear. But rugby? Well rugby gets my vote and Saturday’s game in particular.

What a match! What a team! It was brilliant, brave, sporting drama of the finest kind. And to top it all we won!

This blog thanks everyone involved with our team. You did us proud.


I’m not a great supporter of boxing. It’s too rough for me. When I was a wee lad one of my cousins, Dominic Begley, was a fine amateur boxer. He took me with him some times. I wasn’t much good. I was always worried about getting my glasses broken. I need not have worried. They got broken anyway. We boxed on the Shankill Road where I learned to keep my guard up and how to say tsss tsss tssss in a sort of a hiss as you shadow boxed your way around the gym.

Boxers like Sugar Ray Robinson and Floyd Patterson, and closer to home, John Caldwell and Freddie Gilroy were my heroes. I was delighted to meet Rinty Monaghan one day when I was a teenager and I love Mohammed Ali to this day and Cassius Clay before him.

It was Long Kesh put me off boxing. Somebody organised a tournament one time. Just the once. Whether it was the prison or the day that was in it but the sight of normally friendly sensible guys trying to seriously hurt each other – or taking all their frustrations out on each other in a very serious way – that was me and boxing finished.

Of course real boxers learn discipline and rules of the game. Real boxers aren’t like my friends, the Long Kesh maulers I suppose……. Are they?

Big Rogie, Martin Rogan to his friends, is certainly not like that. Rogie is a Commonwealth Champion, heavy weight division, and a fine Irish gentleman to boot.

So is Bernard Dunne. Rogie is from West Belfast. Bernard is from Dublin. He trains here. And on Saturday night all that training paid off when he became Super Bantam-Weight World Champion in the 11th round of a really hard fought, indeed a savage bout against Ricardo Cordoba the plucky defender from Panama.

In fairness to the Long Kesh tournament if they had been Long Kesh pugilists their battle would have been called off before its eventual rip roaring and bloody finish. But they weren’t in Long Kesh.

And Bernard won. As he said himself he won for all of us. And so he did.

So thank you Bernard and the Irish Rugby squad. And big Rogie.


pablo said...

i agree, was a great match, and for all of us that are in love with ireland or have close links with that land was great to see ireland winning.
pitty we couldnt be there for the craic but we did our best here.

from paddy shorts taberna in the basque country well done ireland.

Linda Coleman said...

When I was logging on to watch Ceol ón gCroí, I caught the tail end of Scéalta ón Ríocht; they were running a documentary about a Muhammad Ali fight in Croke Park.

With all due respect to boxing fans, though, I just don't understand why boxing is a sport. It's fun to strap on gloves and hit a bag--I enjoy doing that at the health club after a particularly stressful day--but I can't imagine hitting another person on purpose. That's just totally outside my realm of experience. Now, sometimes, a person can get accidentally hit by another person in pursuit of a ball, a goal, or whatever the athletes are pursuing, but when the object of the game is to hit another person, with the winner being the person who isn't knocked out cold...I just don't get it.

You won't believe what's classified as a "sport" in the States--poker. I'm not kidding; our sports cable channel ESPN actually shows people sitting around a table playing poker, with a golf-style announcer quietly telling the audience what cards each player is holding and predicting how the game might play out. Tiddley Winks would be more exciting than that!

Paul Doran said...

I used to box for the All Blacks Club in Glassdrumman in the great County of Down, Paddy Quinn was the the trainer, former Ulster Champion I Think.It was great for the disipline.and the fitness, I re call once being brought to Jonesboro Market and bringing My Da along ,I was about 15 at the time, thinking I was another Sugar Ray and what a hiding I got, best think ever happenned to me. Sín e
If in doubt stick it out

Tim said...

Gerry, you have a eye and humor that is rare. I am sure your mind is overlooked in a this not so dull world,you do shine with brightness.
Being a sports fan is a complex matter, in part irrational but not unworthy a relief from the seriousness of the real world, with its unending pressures and often grave obligations. I do find the Arts of more interest especially in the wrappings.You have the trait of appreciating the humorous.thank-you for you post

Anonymous said...

Gerry, when are you going to respond to Richard O'Rawes claims and give us an insight into the mountain climber negotiations and in particular the claim against you on overturning the acceptance by the prisoners of an offer from Thatcher.