Politics Sport

God Save the Queen

Well? What happened? Did some crazed Shinner suicide bomber charge into the crowd and explode in a hail of teeth and bedsprings?


Oh, well perhaps a gang of frothing ideologues harangued the people through ancient megaphones on their way to Croke Park?

No. Not that either.

In that case, there must have been a small huddle of patriots in knitted caps holding placards: Down with this sort of thing!

Eh, no Ted.

So there you have it. The English came to Croke Park. They sang God Save the Queen, and what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened. The people of Ireland stood up in respectful silence while the combined Army and Garda bands quite properly played our visitors’ anthem. When the visitors’ anthem finished, the Irish people applauded them with courtesy and grace. Then the band struck up Amhrán na bhFiann and the people turned into a massed chorus, singing the the loudest and proudest rendition of that song ever heard.

And then the game started and we thumped the shit out of the Brits, 43-13.

I heard an old guy in the toilets at half-time: Christ, would ya believe it? We should be down on our knees thankin’ ’em for learnin’ us this game!

All’s as it should be and the sky didn’t fall.



The Croke Park Trilogy – Part 1

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My Plan for Ireland vs England

I was in my study, contemplating the beingness of nothingness and slugging back a quiet whiskey when a powerful rumbling shook the Bockschloss to its foundations.

What the- I ejaculated as I sprang upright and dashed to the window.

Outside, on the rolling lawn, I could see a familiar little figure gesticulating at me. He seemed agitated and as I flung open the casement, the little tyke leapt into my arms, trembling.

Good God, Ratzo, I gasped. What’s happened to you? You’ve never behaved like this before.

Ach, I have the rounding-ups barely escaped, mein Bockfreund. Die polizei, they are arresting alles hunden in den Strasse und them up are locking! I only the miraculous evasion make by into a paper bag jumping und mit mein kopf only peeping out, you see, and so they are gedenken that I only a midget am.

And not a bull pontiff, I finished for him.


Ja, he gasped. Was ist los mit den Welt, mein Bockfreund?

I don’t know, Ratzo. I think they’re arresting everybody who knows any secrets, and the dogs in the street are the obvious target.

As I spoke, something outside in the grounds of the Bockschloss caught my eye.

Ratzo, I said. That terrible rumbling I heard?

Ja? Ratzo looked shifty.

Was that you driving the giant military transporter I see parked on my lawn?

Ratzo said nothing.

Well – was it?

Ratzo rolled on his back and panted.

Don’t give me that crap Ratzo. You aren’t a dog. For Christ’s sake, you’re half Pope.

I only it to try out vanted, he pleaded pathetically.

That was when the penny dropped. You took the Desecrator again, didn’t you, Ratzo, damn you?

You might remember my design for a mobile Consecrator. The idea came to me when I heard that Mayo County Council were going to bless the roads to cut down road deaths. I felt it could be done more efficiently by machine, and all it would take was a County Council driver instead of a highly-trained killer-priest.

Then, the other possibilities started to take shape. Graves. Multi-denominational graveyards. There you are with your priest or mullah or whatever, and he’s blessing the grave of your loved-one, but he can’t spray this sanctity stuff in an exact right-angled shape, so he accidentally blesses his neighbour with the wrong flavour of religion. Not a nice notion. So I thought, maybe the lads from the Council could just back the Consecrator over the grave, turn the knob to whatever religion you need and just switch it on. Let it run for a few minutes while they’re having their tea, and the whole thing is done.

It was a short step from there to the military version. The Desecrator, capable of cursing your enemy in all known religions simultaneously, would be towed behind an armoured personnel carrier and fire curses horizontally at your opponent, at approximately knee height. No soldier with cursed legs would be able to fight you properly.

So that’s what the little Pontiff-dog was up to!

You were going to launch an attack, weren’t you? Ratzo, you little hound.

No. I promise, I was only to Croke Park mit it going, the earth to bless before the grosse rugger fussball match tomorrow. For the Peace in alles der Weld.

What?? I had an idea. Damn Ratzo. Maybe you’re onto something after all.

Forgetting about the little Papahund, I raced outside to where my Desecrator was housed.

Quick, Ratzo, I said. We must work all night at this. If we can re-balance the sanctity-malevolence matrix generator and reverse the polarity on the inertial prayer-curse dampers, we could fire an evil Delaney-seeking version of Faith of Our Fathers straight through the walls of Croke Park. Take out Delaney with the world’s first military Smart-Curse, and the whole rotten FAI edifice will crumble. Mwoo-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

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The Croke Park Trilogy – Part Six

Some of our overseas readers might be wondering at all the fuss about a rugby match being played at Croke Park, and so I thought maybe a little background would be in order.

The GAA is the Gaelic Athletic Association, which is a vast, nationwide, amateur sporting organisation, with clubs in every tiny village in every corner of Ireland. Its first two official sports are hurling and Gaelic football. Hurling is a traditional game, while Gaelic football was conceived in the late nineteenth century by Michael Cusack, founder of the GAA, combining the rules of rugby and soccer. (Rugby in Ireland pre-dates the GAA). The GAA’s main stadium is the huge Croke Park in Dublin, capable of holding 82,000 people.

Both rugby and soccer have long been viewed as “foreign games” by the GAA (in reality, meaning “English” games) and banned from all GAA facilities. This is, in a certain sense, unsurprising, considering the events of 21st November, 1920, when British forces entered Croke Park and machine-gunned the crowd, killing fourteen civilians. The incident came to be known as Bloody Sunday. Therefore, it was a hugely symbolic gesture when the GAA allowed its flagship stadium to host an international rugby match against – of all people – England. The reason for it was to allow the Lansdowne Road stadium to be redeveloped, for joint use by rugby and soccer.

Imagine: God Save the Queen to be sung in Croke Park!

Now, personally, I don’t see what all the objections were about. After all, the Irish Rugby Football Union didn’t machine-gun the people, and neither did the Football Association of Ireland. In recent times, there has been much talk of a gesture, to mark the occasion when Ireland and England line out against each other, and much speculation of the form this gesture will take. Some speak of laying wreaths. Others talk of an official apology.

I have a great idea.

Instead of wreaths and apologies, why not have a joint detachment of British and Irish soldiers drive onto the pitch in armoured cars, and machine-gun the staff , management and players of the FAI? It would be a great symbol of our new-found solidarity. It would rid us once and for all of the FAI gobshites, and we could move forward with the one international sport we’re any good at: rugby.


FÓGRA SPEISIALTA: Name the third official sport of the GAA.

Part Five
Part Four

Part Three
Part Two

Part One

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