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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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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Rugby Sport

Munster 25 – Leinster 11

Well, there you go.

About 500 of their supporters made the arduous two-hour journey from Mount Merrion to Limerick, where they were promptly stuffed 25 – 11. What do you think was the best chant these intrepid supporters could could come up with? Would you believe Boring Boring Munster!

In reply, you had about 12,000 Munster people chanting Eh, like, hello? Who’s fuckin winning here?

They’re incredible really. A few of them found their way into our pub later, and one guy remarked to me that we were like Millwall supporters.

Really? I said. In what sense?

You’re so aggressive, he said.

Really?? I said again. The only gurriers I saw were your supporters who couldn’t stay quiet during a penalty. Do they not know about good manners above there in Dublin?

God, it’s always sweet when we beat those fuckers.