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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 5, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

    Sporting Antidote to Gloom and Doom

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Your humble scribe was fortunate to be among the 82,000 attendance at today’s thrilling All-Ireland Hurling Final where Tipperary overcame Kilkenny despite the latter’s hopes of making it five Liam McCarthy titles in a row.

    It was a refreshing break from all the gloom and doom over the economy, Anglo-Irish Bank, etc., etc. Croke Park really is a Field of  Dreams and it was wonderful to see the huge effort and massive skill displayed by these two teams.

    No doubt Kilkenny team manager Brian Cody is disappointed not to make it five in a row but it has to be said that such a level of dominance by one county is not good for the game in general. Cody has many great achievements to his credit and can hold his head high – some would say the man should be running the country. Incidentally, I noticed Taoiseach Brian Cowen and one of his predecessors, Liam Cosgrave, in attendance.

    It was a near-perfect sporting occasion and another triumph for the Gaelic Athletic  Association which contributes so much to our national life. But I have two quibbles: 1) When the minor match concluded with a Kilkenny victory, the public address system blared out a distracting and unnecessary pop music track from the Black-Eyed Peas. We couldn’t hear speeches or applause or cheering as a result. Why?

    2) Secondly, the Artane Band was – no pun intended – badly sidelined. Instead, there was some sort of  banner display on the field involving children and balloons that looked like sliotars (hurling-balls). They held big sheets with the colours of the two counties and there didn’t seem to be much point to the exercise.

    The Artane Band used to play tunes from the competing counties, e.g.,  Slievenamon for Tipperary and Rose of Mooncoin for Kilkenny. It contributed greatly to the occasion and the sense of county identity. Not today, at least not after I arrived, which was during the second  half of the minor match. The only tune I heard them play was the National Anthem. What a pity. Bring the Artane Band back centre-stage, I say.

    • jo blogs says:

      ‘Tipp Tipp Hooray’…Most exhilirating match and one of best days out I ever had was Tipp vs Cork Hurling semi final…Was that ‘Let’s Get it Started’…by BEP? It’s now a well established hi energy toon so not pointless at all…and as for those little kids it was probably a day in their lives they will never forget…’No disrespect to ABB but ‘The past is another Country’ as they say…

    • minxinnit says:

      At the grass roots of it all, men are really such tribal savages. Perhaps because I’m female, I don’t really get it – all that tribal inter-county-warring savagery; or at least I get it in so far as I want to get the things of men and how they remain civilized. My father (RIP) from Cork and Army Officer was full of the joys of a GAA match but my mother (RIP) from Louth preferred to stay way above what she considered to be all that “rough stuff” – which is not to say that my father was not of the most erudite of men. Since I am very much mother-identified, I tend to feel the same as my mother in this regard; but of course, one loves one’s father. However, any attempt on my part to cheer for such things doesn’t really ring true. I’m from Meath btw and yes, one does realize there is skill involved but I cannot understand those females in the cheering crowd jumping up and down frantically like feverish baboons in anticipation of their savage sons and husbands trashing the savage sons and husbands of the other side – But for crying-out-loud (as my father used to say) a Black Eyed Peas tune at one of these events is just sooooooooooo wrong. Those guys wouldn’t know a hurley stick from a boomerang – different kind of savagery altogether, the BEP

    • jo blogs says:

      I always thought there was something a bit ‘iffy’ about the Artane Boys Band being paraded out to entertain the crowds at All Irelands…I don’t know why it just felt a bit like patronising the underprivileged…tho’ I suppose for the boys it was an honour to play in Croke Parke on Final Days…I don’t suppose the band is made up of orphans and unwanted children anymore but it still has an archaic Dickensian air (no pun etc) about it…I like the traditions and the Military Bands in full uniform adds to the sense of occasion but I fear it may eventually be replaced by ‘Pop’ anthems…

    • jo blogs says:

      I am probably biased as my handsome witty fabYOOlous father was an accomplished footballer, having played GAA at County and Provincial level. He also played for Dublin and the Army when they won the Minor Final in Croke Park. Two of my cousins are the GAA poster boys for the County. I don’t know if the saying that ‘Football is a game for gentlemen played by ruffians and Rugby a game for ruffians played by gentleman’ translates to GAA but hurling is a thrilling game. What it must be like to take part in such a skillful game played at breakneck speed I cannot imagine. The semi final match I attended was Offaly vs Cork IN Tipp…The apres-match in a hotel in Birr was almost as good as the match…I think!…Brilliant!

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