Sunday, February 25, 2007

Croke Park

A genuine moment of goosebumps yesterday.

Ireland walloped England at rugby but for once I really didn't mind. Because of redevelopment work at usual rugby venue Lansdowne Road, the game was hosted at Croke Park, scene of the 1920 massacre on Bloody Sunday and still focal point of anti-English sentiment.

Pre-match, there was controversy about whether God Save the Queen could be played in the stadium. Minutes before the anthem, I had some horrible premonitions. These turned out to be quite wrong, as the Irish fans heard it in respectful silence, then applauded. If there can be a pointed round of applause, this was it.

We talk about 'vital' matches and heroic performances, and those who dislike sport scoff at the pomposity. And rightly so, to a degree. In itself, sport is trivial, but this triviality allows it to reflect the important. TV debates and poltical forums are, in the short term anyway, platforms for argument and division. Sporting occasions afford a unique opportunity for populations to unite, to express the sentiment of the majority and the spirit of the age.



12 comments:

erp said...

Brit, thanks for posting this. What an inspiring sight. Brought a tear to my eye. I recognized the flag of Ireland, but what were the two flags flanking it and why no Union Jack?

erp said...
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M Ali said...

Didn't recognise the yellow flag but the white one is the St George's Cross, England's flag. The Union Jack is the UK flag (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

erp said...

Yikes, I can't believe I've lived this long and never knew that the Union Jack wasn't the flag of England. Thanks.

Duck said...

What happened to the flower?

Mike Beversluis said...

We talk about 'vital' matches and heroic performances, and those who dislike sport scoff at the pomposity. And rightly so, to a degree. In itself, sport is trivial, but this triviality allows it to reflect the important.

People who can't care intensely about sports probably have a hard time caring intensely about anything.

Brit said...

The yellow flag is Ulster, one of the four traditional provinces of Ireland - and what unionists call Northern Ireland.

Rugby is a sport played by a united Ireland team, which is in itself remarkable.

The white flag looks like the St George's Cross (the English flag), but it is curled so you can't see whether it is actually the similar Northern Ireland flag. I suspect it might be.

erp said...

Duck, I thought this picture was a better likeness.

o/t We just came back from seeing "Amazing Grace." It was fantastic, inspirational and entertaining. Ioan Gruffudd who played the lead is adorable and has beautiful teeth. Dare I ask, is he a Brit?

Brit said...

A welshman (the clue's in the name).

He was Hornblower in the ITV series.

Julia Buckley said...

Nice post Brit. Enjoyed it.

Julia Buckley said...

Ioan Gruffudd.

*sigh*

erp said...

Ditto on the sigh.