Sporting anthems


Sir, – Like the letter that marks the first hearing of the corncrake of spring, the first grumbling letter about Ireland’s Call of late summer arrives to mark the start of silly season (Letters, July 27th).

How nice that some traditions never change. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – I note James Connolly Heron’s concerns (Letters, July 27th) regarding the playing of the national anthem at away games involving the Irish rugby team. This practice has been established for many years primarily due to the fact that the Irish rugby team does not represent the Republic of Ireland but the island of Ireland. It is right and proper that as the host country for home games in Dublin, the national anthem is played. However as the correspondent notes, the IRFU being “a bastion of all thing inclusive”, the adopted anthem of Ireland’s Call is also played out of respect for those players from Northern Ireland and indeed is the sole anthem played at away games.

This practice dates back to the embarrassment of the inaugural World Cup in 1987 when Ireland had no anthem, which precipitated the commissioning of Ireland’s Call by Phil Coulter which has served us well since. Additionally, those supporters who bring the Irish Tricolour to games should also reflect on that fact it is not a Republic of Ireland team and that the IRFU international teams play under a flag incorporating the four provinces, therefore representative of both jurisdictions and all players.

If Ireland were to play a home game in Belfast, then the Ulster flag would be flown instead of the Tricolour; however, whether “ God save the Queen” would be played is best left for another day! – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.

Sir, – At a recent international cricket match between Ireland and South Africa at Malahide, which was covered extensively on television, an announcement was made before the start that the teams would line up for “the national anthems”. At the conclusion of the South African anthem, the spectators and television viewers were treated to something called Ireland’s Call. Have Cricket Ireland now officially elevated Ireland’s Call to be our new national anthem? We should be told. – Yours, etc,