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.