Let Joy Be Unconfined
Deaglán de Bréadún
This is not a sports blog but moments of great national emotion and pride tend to have political overtones too. It was entirely appropriate that our head of state, President Mary McAleese from Belfast should have been in Cardiff this evening to celebrate Ireland’s historic Grand Slam victory over Wales.
It was a tough contest with no quarter asked and none given but to my untutored eye there was a high level of sportsmanship on both sides. The bravery and grit of Brian O’Driscoll are awesome to behold and it was entirely fitting that Ronan O’Gara should take the final score that sealed the result.
As it happened, I watched the game in a bar close to Kilmainham Gaol and, without indulging in maudlin sentiment, one couldn’t help feeling afterwards that the 1916 leaders would have been proud of our boys today and that the kind of Ireland they fought for was one where sporting contests would ultimately take the place of armed hostilities between us and our nearest neighbours.
A great day, a day of national celebration, a day for ignoring the recession and all the gloom and doom that goes with it. Naysayers be damned, there’s life in the old country yet. This was the sort of event that makes life worth living.