Mixed Blessings

Quickly rushing past Ulster’s 6th defeat on French soil, Congratulations to teenager Mark Allen, reigning European Amateur Champion from Antrim, on becoming Northern Ireland’s first World Amateur snooker champion!

  • George

    Willowfield,
    there are paragraphs. Do you mean inserting a line space?

    Davros,
    I wouldn’t think there is much support for the English rugby team alright.

  • Steve

    Just to make two points on the Irish team and procedure for rugby games both home and away.

    1) The all-ireland rugby team does not play under the Irish Flag or the union falg. It plays under the IRFU Flag. The Irish flag is only flown at Lansdowne Rd out of respect for the country the game is being played in. The same is true of games played at Ravenhill (u-21 or A internationals). In neither ground is the flag of another nation flown apart from the IRFU flag, the host nation’s flag and the away team’s flag. For any game outside the UK and Ireland the only flag flown is the IRFU flag.

    2) Again the national anthem is played out of respect for the nation in which the game is being played. Ireland – Irish national anthem. The UK (Ulster) – GSTQ. For any game outside these countries it is only the IRFU anthem which is played.

    So lets not make this into a sectarian issue when it claerly is not.

  • Davros

    Cheers George.

  • willowfield

    Steve

    The same is true of games played at Ravenhill (u-21 or A internationals).

    Is the Union Flag flown at these matches??

    Again the national anthem is played out of respect for the nation in which the game is being played. Ireland – Irish national anthem. The UK (Ulster) – GSTQ.

    GSTQ is not played at Ireland B internationals at Ravenhill.

  • chunkyguy

    yes willowfield agree- the union flag is displayed at ravenhill for b internatinals and other levels when ireland is playing and and similiarly the tricolour in dublin-
    alos the irfu did respond to the thorny issue of natinal anthems and has adopted a neatral one for the past 10 years- “Irelands call” i think- heard it afew times- not bad- the “soldiers song” i think is only played as a presedential courtesy in dublin now-
    Please also note that when ulster played the final in 1999 dublin was festooned with red hand of ulsters- while southern supporters would not wishoffend by bringing any tricolours to games in belfast! say for example when ulster is playing munster

  • George

    The IRFU flag is the Cross of St. Patrick, which is flown abroad.

    The tricolour is flown in Dublin because it is the national flag of the territory.

    I would assume at Ravenhill it would be the union flag and the IRFU flag.

  • willowfield

    Everyone seems to accept that GSTQ is not played at Ireland B internationals at Ravenhill, thus giving the lie to the claim that the policy is even-handed.

    Regarding Ireland’s Call, this was a very welcome development and should have happened years before.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    why don’t you pop down and play it yourself at the next game. Nothing like direct action.

  • CavanMan

    People we cannot let this issue divide us.the English are THE ENEMY in rugby terms,we must unite and quash the big headed ones. 🙂

  • Steve

    Willowfield,

    GSTQ was played at Ireland’s A international with SA in Dec 1998. Which is how it should be. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    I attended that game and was pleasently surprised when it was played.

  • Steve

    Willowfield,

    GSTQ was played at Ireland’s A international with SA in Dec 1998. Which is how it should be. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    I attended that game and was pleasently surprised when it was played.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    I take it in light of this new information you will accept that the Irish rugby team is even-handed.

  • CavanMan

    In all honesty GSTQ and the soldiers song have no place in irish rugby.A neutral Song must be found..the only time a version of the soldiers song should be used is to welcome the President when she meets the teams.

  • willowfield

    Steve

    What about other matches? That is one match. (And how could it have been an A match, when no full internationals have been played at Ravenhill since the 50s?)

    If what you say is true and applies to all matches, then that is good and even-handed. (I am also surprised.) But Ireland’s Call is only a recent innovation and NI has had to suffer decades of insulting IRFU policy.

    If NI ever gets a national stadium, it will be interesting to see whether the Southerners will appreciate GSTQ bellowing out live on TV across the British Isles.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    I see you aren’t the type to withdraw comments.

    I don’t think any “national” stadium for NI will be large enough to host a full rugby international so it won’t happen.

  • willowfield

    How come they can host them at Limerick, then?

  • George

    You’ve got me there Willowfield,
    When was the last full international in Limerick? I have never heard of one being held there.

  • willowfield

    Think they’ve played the odd international – against Romania and the likes – at Limerick.

  • CavanMan

    Limerick eh
    perhaps they believe the staging of a rugby game will quell the crime level in stab city 😉

  • George

    Willowfield,
    having gone to a rugby school and having received tickets to all internationals as a result, I still say I have never heard of a full international in Limerick, not even against Romania (I remember when they gave us tough games in Lansdowne alright).

    Do you or do you not have facts about games being played in Limerick or are at best are you just guessing and at worst making things up?

  • CavanMan

    willowfield
    you will find that Thomond Park had a greater capacity than Ravenhill
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/northern_ireland/1767753.stm this link mentions Ravenhill has a capacity of only 12,000(even games against Romania or USA would get more).Thomond Park holds approximetely 22,500.according to.
    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/11/24/spage_3.htm

  • willowfield

    CavanMan

    Of what relevance is that?

  • George

    Well Willowfield?
    When was the last full rugby international played in Limerick or did you just make your last post up?

  • CavanMan

    a reason why N Ireland could not hold any rugby internationals,they have no stadia fit to stage games.The only Stadium which has the capabilities in N Ireland to hold a rugby international is Casement Park.And that cant happen yet.

  • willowfield

    I don’t know. I’ve been told by others that the odd minor international has been held there. Might be wrong, though.

  • George

    Fair enough. Thanks.

  • George

    FYI on Thomond Park, Limerick Willowfield.

    It hosted the United States and Australia group game in the 1999 World Cup.

    It was due to host its first ever Ireland game in 2001 against Canada but the match was cancelled due to Heineken Cup committments. I don’t think one has been held since although it is to get a new upgrade.

  • willowfield

    That backs up my point, then. If Thomond Park was to be used for an international (albeit it was cancelled), then there’s no reason why a national stadium in NI shouldn’t also be used.

  • George

    I had a feeling you’d notice how that piece of info would back up your point.

    Perhaps a match of Canada’s prestige could be held in this stadium but no way a six nations game, for which even 50,000 at Lansdowne is too small.

    Either way, I’m afraid there will never be a “national” stadium for Northern Ireland.

    All that has been agreed is that if there is one, it should be at the Maze. There isn’t the critical mass of events to warrant one bigger than 25,000 and if the GAA isn’t on board, which it won’t be (no need), and the IRFU decides it can also play small ties at the home of rugby – Limerick – then it’s basically just for the IFA.

    And the IFA don’t have the cash or the support to afford such a stadium.

  • James

    Limerick eh
    perhaps they believe the staging of a rugby game will quell the crime level in stab city 😉

    May the Matre de park your car in Moyross.

    I have a friend, an Irish language and culture enthusiast, from Limerick who turned down the GAA in favor of Rugby. The reason?: The GAA skinflints only served sodas while the evil purveyors of that foreign game served stew.

  • Mike

    George –

    A few points on the NI stadium – firstly it is a government project so won’t be funded by the IFA, IRFU or any other association. Secondly, the main issue with regards rugby is not whether Ireland internationals will be played there, but Ulster playing there. And thirdly, the inside track is that the IFA, IRFU Ulster Branch, and GAA are all on board for the project.

    On the article you posted about levels of support in NI for the England football team – 18% is way too high. Yes there are a few idiotic loyalists who ‘support’ England in a knckle headed attmpt to be “ultra-British” (and quite frankly England are welcome to them), and also a few middle-class bandwagon jumpers whose idea of supporting a team is watching them on TV and operate under the delusion that because they grew up watching Man Utd or Liverpool on tV, that they’re from England.

    Dr Shirlow’s comments were inaccurate, disappointing for any academic, particularly one who professes an interest in football. Apart from the aforementioned handful (and it’s worth bearing in mind many of those referred to in the article may have supported England in Euro 2004 not as permanent England fans, but because NI didn’t qualify and England were the only UK representatives), there has been no ‘transferring of allegiances’. In the last couple of years support for NI has undergone a remarkable renaissance – no longer do we see the poor crowds of the early and mid 90s.

  • George

    Mike,
    there has been virtually nothing agreed on this “national” stadium, least of all whether the GAA is on board for playing games there. Did this inside track of yours talk about Ulster paying rent to play at the Maze instead of at Ravenhill, which they own?

    True it is a British government project, but it will only be funded if it is economically viable.

    My inside track tells me the GAA won’t play games there, the IRFU will only offer very few if any and Ulster Rugby won’t bring money to the party.

    This leaves just the IFA, who will use it at most 5 times a year. Hardly economically viable in my view.

    As for supporting Northern Ireland, I agree that they are getting more support now but that has a lot to do with trying to remove the Billy Boy loyalists, who are now supporting England.

  • CavanMan

    The GAA wont have much need for using a new Northern Ireland stadium,nearly every game is played in either Casement Park or Clones..and i cant see this changing in the near future.(Plus i want games in the NEWLY developed Kingspan Breffini Park)If you havent been already..visit as soon as possible.

  • Steve

    Willowfield,

    There have been numberous A internationals held in Ravenhill down through the years. Traditionally A internationals are divided out between Thomond, Ravenhill and Donnybrook.

    Check out the IRFU’s website where they have a record of the numberous A internationals held at Ravenhill (among other places) since 1978.

    http://www.irishrugby.ie/history/arch_history/css/arch_history.htm

  • willowfield

    Steve

    What on earth are “A internationals”?

  • Steve

    Willowfield,

    A Internationals are used to give international experience to players on the fringes of the full international side. Up until a couple of years ago A internationals had their own six nations that was played on a Friday night before the full international on the Saturday. I believe they are bringing them back this year.

  • George

    Peace and Justice,
    throwing phrases like ethnic cleansing around without producing any evidence is pretty lame.

    Maybe you could tell me how many Protestants were forced out of their homes in the County of Cavan between 1918 and say 1925.

    I can tell you 25% of Belfast Catholics, 23,000 people, were forced out of theirs in 1921.

    I await your reply with interest but I invariably challenge unionists on this issue all I get is census results, which says how many left not how many were forced out, and bluster.

    How many house burnings in Cavan, how many forced out of their homes?

  • willowfield

    Steve

    A Internationals are used to give international experience to players on the fringes of the full international side.

    What you mean, then, is that they are actually B internationals!

  • Lafcadio

    Playing catch up as well here..

    Steve et al – interested to hear that about the A match against SA in ’98. I attended two Ireland A matches in Ravenhill when I was still living in Belfast, Canada and NZ (can’t remember when exactly but within the last 5 years) and on neither occasion was GSTQ played, and the Union flag was not flown.

    I don’t believe the IRFU’s position is sinister, some kind of slur on NI; but it is inconsistent, and could do with being sorted out – e.g. by flying the IRFU flag and the 4 provinces flag alone, or the tricolour and the union flag side by side, and playing Ireland’s Call alone, with the Presidential Salute where the president is present. Apart from anything, the formalities before each home match are ludicrously protracted, sometimes with three anthems and a presidential salute being played!

    I do seem to remember a full Ireland match being played at Thomond Park in the last few years – against Fiji perhaps? I’ll check.. It’s unlikely that any Ireland internationals, except b-list friendlies, would be played in the new National Stadium, as its capacity will only be about 30k.

    CavanMan, you mustn’t be much of a die hard rugby supporter if you can’t name any other Connacht players! They aren’t a “drain on resources” on the contrary they do astonishingly well given their restricted resources – Bernard Jackman (hooker) is currently on the international squad (although he’s yet to win a cap) and John O’Sullivan (young no.8) would probably have had a call-up against the USA had he not been injured. A Connacht man, Johnny O’Connor made his debut at no.7 against SA, although he moved to Wasps a couple of seasons back – and they have provided Ulster with Ronan McCormack and Rowan Frost in the last couple of years.

  • Lafcadio

    Ireland played Italy in a World Cup warm-up match at Thomond Park in August 2003 – they won 61-6.

  • RuggerBugger

    Gentlemen,

    I can see that many here haven’t got a clue about rugby football ….

    Let me shed some light on a few of your queries ;

    – There is no such thing as a ‘B’ international. There are ‘full’ internationals (test side = best players of the country) and sometimes ‘A’ internationals (sort of reserve side, good players, but not quite ready for test rugby, returning from injury etc).

    – matches in Thomond Park – (friendly) Ireland v Romania (7 Sep 2002) / Ireland v Italy (30 Aug 2003)
    Real rugby fans accept that Limerick is the home of irish rugby … even Dubs !

    – Connacht have some outstanding players at the moment apart from Elwood. Think of Johnny O’Connor (now at Wasps), Darren Yapp, Matt Mostyn, Peter Bracken, Bernard Jackman and Matt Lacey to name but a few.

    – when the national side play away from home only “Ireland’s Call” is played and a neutral flag used to represent the team. At the World Cup last year it was a white flag with the IRFU logo (fancy shamrock thing), in Paris it is often the 4 provincial flags or a flag with the 4 provinces on it. I have also seen the tricolour and white NI flag as well as tricolour and yellow Ulster flag (I know that doesn’t make sense).
    Last year’s VI Nations match in Paris, the only flag on show was the European flag (Irl had the presidency at that moment) and the ‘Ode to Joy’ was played after ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘La Marseillaise’.

    – St Patrick’s cross flag was NEVER used by Ireland or Ulster.

    – when the national side play in the republic you get the tricolour + 4 provincial flags + visiting team af course. AnF + Ireland’s call always (dublin or limerick). Presidential salute only if she’s there … (obviously !).

    – when the national side plays in Belfast … irrelevant as it hasn’t happened in yonks and that’s not about to change soon.

    – anyone who would suggest that there should be 2 separate teams (NI & ROI) proves that they know absolutely feck all about the game. Especially if it’s someone from the north … the only NI players anywhere near the national side today are David Humphreys (too old now), Tyrone Howe (even older) and Tommy Bowe (one for the future … but would play for RoI instead if a choice needed to be made … see how he proudly bellowed out AnF before his first cap v USA). We won’t mention Kevin Maggs as he’s irish via his granny or something so could in theory qualify for either of the national teams (hypothetically). Humphreys’ younger brother (forget his name now) is doing well for the 7-a-side team. It’s fair to say that the current team would survive just fine without the NI guys, whereas NI couldn’t field a team capable of beating any of the other provinces … let alone another nation. This year Ulster have lost to all the other provinces … despite having a rake of ‘foreigners’ added to the ‘natives’. I doubt a ‘NI team’ would beat Canada or USA. Also it’s clear that NI would be incapable of sustaining a professional outfit and the players would have to play abroad.

    Bottom line is the idea of a NI team separate from the rest is plain barking mad !

    – the flag of the Ulster branch (of the IRFU) is the provincial one (yellow with red cross). The crest is the red hand on a red cross on a white background … on white shirt. The NI flag is NOT the flag of Ulster rugby, although many supporters in Ravenhill bring along their NI flag (without or without crown, David’s star etc).

    Hope that cleared up a few things ….

    C’mon Ireland !!! World Cup winners 2007

  • RuggerBugger

    Gentlemen,

    I can see that many here haven’t got a clue about rugby football ….

    Let me shed some light on a few of your queries ;

    – There is no such thing as a ‘B’ international. There are ‘full’ internationals (test side = best players of the country) and sometimes ‘A’ internationals (sort of reserve side, good players, but not quite ready for test rugby, returning from injury etc).

    – matches in Thomond Park – (friendly) Ireland v Romania (7 Sep 2002) / Ireland v Italy (30 Aug 2003)
    Real rugby fans accept that Limerick is the home of irish rugby … even Dubs !

    – Connacht have some outstanding players at the moment apart from Elwood. Think of Johnny O’Connor (now at Wasps), Darren Yapp, Matt Mostyn, Peter Bracken, Bernard Jackman and Matt Lacey to name but a few.

    – when the national side play away from home only “Ireland’s Call” is played and a neutral flag used to represent the team. At the World Cup last year it was a white flag with the IRFU logo (fancy shamrock thing), in Paris it is often the 4 provincial flags or a flag with the 4 provinces on it. I have also seen the tricolour and white NI flag as well as tricolour and yellow Ulster flag (I know that doesn’t make sense).
    Last year’s VI Nations match in Paris, the only flag on show was the European flag (Irl had the presidency at that moment) and the ‘Ode to Joy’ was played after ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘La Marseillaise’.

    – St Patrick’s cross flag was NEVER used by Ireland or Ulster.

    – when the national side play in the republic you get the tricolour + 4 provincial flags + visiting team af course. AnF + Ireland’s call always (dublin or limerick). Presidential salute only if she’s there … (obviously !).

    – when the national side plays in Belfast … irrelevant as it hasn’t happened in yonks and that’s not about to change soon.

    – anyone who would suggest that there should be 2 separate teams (NI & ROI) proves that they know absolutely feck all about the game. Especially if it’s someone from the north … the only NI players anywhere near the national side today are David Humphreys (too old now), Tyrone Howe (even older) and Tommy Bowe (one for the future … but would play for RoI instead if a choice needed to be made … see how he proudly bellowed out AnF before his first cap v USA). We won’t mention Kevin Maggs as he’s irish via his granny or something so could in theory qualify for either of the national teams (hypothetically). Humphreys’ younger brother (forget his name now) is doing well for the 7-a-side team. It’s fair to say that the current team would survive just fine without the NI guys, whereas NI couldn’t field a team capable of beating any of the other provinces … let alone another nation. This year Ulster have lost to all the other provinces … despite having a rake of ‘foreigners’ added to the ‘natives’. I doubt a ‘NI team’ would beat Canada or USA. Also it’s clear that NI would be incapable of sustaining a professional outfit and the players would have to play abroad.

    Bottom line is the idea of a NI team separate from the rest is plain barking mad !

    – the flag of the Ulster branch (of the IRFU) is the provincial one (yellow with red cross). The crest is the red hand on a red cross on a white background … on white shirt. The NI flag is NOT the flag of Ulster rugby, although many supporters in Ravenhill bring along their NI flag (without or without crown, David’s star etc).

    Hope that cleared up a few things ….

    C’mon Ireland !!! World Cup winners 2007

  • Lafcadio

    RuggerBugger – most of your post is broadly factually accurate, but you waffle a bit about Ulster – we are going through an appalling run of form, and have found the transition to a new coaching set-up difficult; and the first-choice Ireland team would not have a single Ulsterman on it. But as well as the three players you mention on the fringes of the Ireland set-up, Eddie O’Sullivan listed Roger Wilson, Neil McMillan and Neil Best as “Unavailable due to injury” for the USA game – the implication being that had they been fit, they would have been selected, and deservedly so, as in my opinion certainly the first two are potential Ireland players (if they can avoid injury in the next couple of years!)

    I think the idea of a NI rugby team is preposterous – however you shouldn’t extrapolate from the current situation and say that NI could never produce a decent team – Ulster was the powerhouse province for a long time, and everything in sport ebbs and flows; and with Ulster’s continuing excellence at schools and youth level, we will be back! (e.g. in the schools trial match this weekend in Blackrock, there are 6 Ulster players in the “Probables”, 6 in the “Possibles” and 6 in the “Reserves” so Ulster provide 40% of the panel..)

    As for “foreigners” and “natives” (brushing over the terminology before someone starts talking about planters and gaels..) there are only three members of the Ulster squad who are not Irish-qualified: Paul Steinmetz (NZ), Rod Moore (Aus) and Campbell Feather (NZ).

  • Lafcadio

    RuggerBugger – most of your post is broadly factually accurate, but you waffle a bit about Ulster – we are going through an appalling run of form, and have found the transition to a new coaching set-up difficult; and the first-choice Ireland team would not have a single Ulsterman on it. But as well as the three players you mention on the fringes of the Ireland set-up, Eddie O’Sullivan listed Roger Wilson, Neil McMillan and Neil Best as “Unavailable due to injury” for the USA game – the implication being that had they been fit, they would have been selected, and deservedly so, as in my opinion certainly the first two are potential Ireland players (if they can avoid injury in the next couple of years!)

    I think the idea of a NI rugby team is preposterous – however you shouldn’t extrapolate from the current situation and say that NI could never produce a decent team – Ulster was the powerhouse province for a long time, and everything in sport ebbs and flows; and with Ulster’s continuing excellence at schools and youth level, we will be back! (e.g. in the schools trial match this weekend in Blackrock, there are 6 Ulster players in the “Probables”, 6 in the “Possibles” and 6 in the “Reserves” so Ulster provide 40% of the panel..)

    As for “foreigners” and “natives” (brushing over the terminology before someone starts talking about planters and gaels..) there are only three members of the Ulster squad who are not Irish-qualified: Paul Steinmetz (NZ), Rod Moore (Aus) and Campbell Feather (NZ).

  • RuggerBugger

    Lafcadio,

    indeed let’s not get involved in the ‘natives’ v ‘foreigners’ debate … you understood exactly what I was saying (thank God ! … forgot about the different sensitivities for a moment).

    Re Ulster rugby, I agree fully with what you say in so far as Ulster has given Ireland numerous outstanding player sover the years and decades (the great Willie John for example) and I am sure that the Northern Star will rise again … but at the moment it’s poor. Possibly out of the H Cup next year which is something I would have thought impossible only a few years ago.

    The amount of ‘foreigners’ has thankfully diminished as it was becoming ridiculous at one stage (must have been the ‘Stade Français’ effect :o)).

    However, no matter how good Ulster will become in the future, it will never be good enough to produce a full national squad. It(s a simple case of maths … to few players to have a real elite. Ireland is finding it hard enough to find strength in depth, so NI by itself hasn’t got a hope (nor would Leinster, Connacht or munster for that matter).

    Anyway, we agree that the idea of a NI rugby team is an idea that does not come from a rugby fan …

    ps : Munster for Heineken glory this year !!!!!

  • CavanMan

    I cannot wait to see this Roger Wilson in action,I have heard rave reviews about the guy,and we could use a successor to Foley,and use Eric Miller as blindside flanker.Miller,O’Connor,and Wilson,what a selection of back row forwards when you also add in the likes of Wallace,Easterbury,Quinlan.Nobody in world rugby has that talent available
    the Future of Irish Rugby is looking brighter by the moment 🙂

  • barnshee

    “can tell you 25% of Belfast Catholics, 23,000 people, were forced out of theirs in 1921”

    We have had 17,000 Protestants forced out of (London)Derry,10,000 banished from the Shankill to north down, the continued attcaks on protestants in N Belfast and now Glengormley estimates of 7000 decline amongst protestants in N Belfast

    and incidentally I am descendant of people intimaded out of Cork (bullets in the post threats and cousin shot dead) -no one ever questioned let alone convicted. Other ancestor shopkeeper in Ballina intimidated, boycotted out.

    There has been an ongoing campaign against the protestant/unionist in Ireland for generations. (The changes in the ROI have been as a result of EC membership nothing to do with changes of heart.)

  • CavanMan

    Banshee
    This is a rugby tread..not one on ethnic cleansing.

  • CavanMan

    barnshee*** my apologies on the mispelling of your name

  • Lafcadio

    Wilson’s a fantastic player, unfortunately our richness in the back row comes at a time when Irish rugby is awash with quality back row men… Foley is having a fantastic season – my MOTM against SA – and the fact that it’s taken O’Connor so long to get a cap says a lot, given that England were sniffing around him.. And Quinlan and Wallace weren’t getting a game at Munster behind Williams, Foley and Leamy.. We also have credible international prospects in O’Sullivan at Connacht, Jennings and McCullen at Leinster, as well as Miller and Easterby, with Gleeson to return!

    If only we had a few quality props or half-backs coming through at any of the provinces..

    RB – Given that we’re probably unlikely to progress in the HC, I’d like to see another Irish province win it, but I reckon Leinster will be the one, if any will – not getting carried away by the circus against Bourgoin, but just think they are starting to look tight and professional at the right time.. Munster still have a great team, but I think they don’t have enough behind the scrum to win it, I read they’re even thinking about playing David Wallace at 12!

  • Mike

    George –
    “there has been virtually nothing agreed on this “national” stadium, least of all whether the GAA is on board for playing games there. Did this inside track of yours talk about Ulster paying rent to play at the Maze instead of at Ravenhill, which they own?

    True it is a British government project, but it will only be funded if it is economically viable.

    My inside track tells me the GAA won’t play games there, the IRFU will only offer very few if any and Ulster Rugby won’t bring money to the party.

    This leaves just the IFA, who will use it at most 5 times a year. Hardly economically viable in my view.”

    The incentive for the Ulster Branch is that if they sell Ravenhill, which is a prime location for housing developement, and play at a new NI stadium, it will release a large amount of capital for them.

    As far as I’m told the GAA will be signing up, though as my source is a journalist…

    On the ‘viability’ issue – what I’m told is that the Maze site provides the opportunity for a large compex of shops, hotels, bars, restaurants, conference centres etc as well as the stadium (that said I’d still prefer a stadium to be sited at the Titanic Quarter). Although rumour has it that this bit may have been due to be announced as part of the £1 billion ‘peace dividend’…

  • George

    Barnshee,
    do you believe more people were forced out of their homes north or south of the border because bar Cork, which I don’t hold much truck with, all those cases you mention are in Northern Ireland.

    Still waiting on Cavan but don’t want to disturb the rugby….

  • willowfield

    Steve et al – interested to hear that about the A match against SA in ’98. I attended two Ireland A matches in Ravenhill when I was still living in Belfast, Canada and NZ (can’t remember when exactly but within the last 5 years) and on neither occasion was GSTQ played, and the Union flag was not flown.

    That was my understanding too. So the IRFU policy is not even-handed. (Unless “A” matches in the South are played without any flag or anthem?)

    RuggerBugger

    There is no such thing as a ‘B’ international. There are ‘full’ internationals (test side = best players of the country) and sometimes ‘A’ internationals (sort of reserve side, good players, but not quite ready for test rugby, returning from injury etc).

    That doesn’t make sense. How can a “reserve” team be an “A” team? By definition, it is a “B” team.

  • CavanMan

    willowfield
    RuggerBugger is correct,unlike the former B internationals in Soccer.The international rugby ”reserve teams” are called the A team.They are played on the Fridays before the six nations games.

  • CavanMan

    http://irish.rugbynow.net/archives/2004/11/ireland_a_squad_to_return.php
    a link about the return of the A team in 2005.a welcome announcement in my opinion.

  • Lafcadio

    Yes willow, the second teams in rugby are indeed called the “A” team – a bit counter-intuitive I suppose, but you get used to it! Ireland A was disbanded a couple of years ago for cost-cutting, but it’s good to see they will be reurning next year.

  • willowfield

    Ridiculous.

    How can a second team be an A team? It’s a complete contradiction.

    Is it supposed to deceive the players into thinking they’re playing on the first team?

  • George

    Willowfield,
    This thread is certainly putting paid to Davidbrew’s assertion that you are Trevor Ringland.

  • CavanMan

    George
    Trevor Ringland was an irish international Rugby Player.Would an ex Irish player not show a greater knowledge of the game than willowfield has shown?

  • Davros

    WF: That doesn’t make sense. How can a “reserve” team be an “A” team? By definition, it is a “B” team.

    Think back WF. Originally the first reserves of the RUC were the A Specials. Then the B Spceials, then the C Specials.

  • Lafcadio

    You may well have a point, willow, but be that as it may, that’s the way it is! More broadly, things are often given misnomers for no good reason – only the other day I heard Graham Norton being described as an “entertainer”!!

    Re the proposed new stadium – economic viability is unlikely to have been a big factor, if the noises about locating it at the Maze are true; a shocking decision, reeking of political expedience – who the hell wants to travel to a depressing windswept plain half an hour plus away from the region’s main population centre to watch sports?

  • Davros
  • CavanMan

    Hurrah indeed Davros
    Mr Humphries has just shown us why he is the best fly half in this country..can you imagine Ronan O’Gara scoring that Try.I do not think so.a Fantastic performance overall.

  • George

    Cavanman,
    that is why I said “put paid”.

  • CavanMan

    Ok george point accepted.

  • Fraggle

    willowfield, regarding the ‘ridiculous’ title of ‘A’ for the reserve team, what do you make of the english football leagues. ‘Premiership’, ‘Championship’ and finally, in third position, the 1st division. Now that is ridiculous. They have a similar nonsense in scotland i believe.

  • Fraggle

    whoops, the FAI do too.

  • barnshee

    “i stated i disagree with the usage of the name ulster,when all the counties of ulster are not represented with the flag,its the same as ulster unionists rejecting the irish national anthem/and flag..which in my opinion they have every right to do.”

    Irish Rugby is organised via the provinces Ulster Leinster etc.

    The Ulster Branch of the IRFU includes Monaghan Cavan Donegal- every week ther are games between clubs across the province eg Letterkenny (Donegal) (ROI) v Coleraine Co Derry (NI).

    Teams from the republic have featured in Ravenhill Finals (Monaghan)on more than one occasion. The Ulster Branch of the IRFU is thus entitled to the flag. If there are no Monaghan/Cavan/Donegal players on the Ulster team its because they are not good enough.

  • George

    Davros,
    well British and Catholic hegemony are just distant painful memories where I come from.

    Bertie says he expects movement on a deal in the next 10 hours. I wonder if this is the unilateral act of complete decommissioning that will get the IRA off the photo hook?

  • Davros

    Have you posted on the wrong thread George ?

  • George

    Looks like it,
    have one eye on the football.

  • Davros

    LOL. Who’s playing ?

  • George

    Borusssia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen 🙂

  • Davros

    Ah, I remember someone saying they had a dish 🙂

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    willowfield, regarding the ‘ridiculous’ title of ‘A’ for the reserve team, what do you make of the english football leagues. ‘Premiership’, ‘Championship’ and finally, in third position, the 1st division. Now that is ridiculous. They have a similar nonsense in scotland i believe.

    Of course it is ridiculous.

    barnshee

    If there are no Monaghan/Cavan/Donegal players on the Ulster team its because they are not good enough.

    Not necessarily. The Ulster rugby team is no longer a representative team, so it is possible that there could be players from these counties who ARE good enough, but just aren’t signed to Ulster.

  • RuggerBugger

    CavanMan :

    Mr Humphries has just shown us why he is the best fly half in this country..can you imagine Ronan O’Gara scoring that Try.I do not think so.a Fantastic performance overall.

    You must be joking friend ? Although DH is clearly a very capable out-half and played very well last Saturday, there is no way you can rate him above ROG … except with provincial biais. Did you see Munster’s performance v Castres ? ROG has now become the highest scoring points-scorer in the history of the European Cup. No mean feat methinks.

    Of course DH is a top class understudy …

    On another note, not wanting to count my chickens, but it looks like there will be two quarter-finals in Lansdowne Road on the same weekend. The place will be crazy !!!

  • Lafcadio

    An excellent performance and great match, with two of the tries of the weekend!

    RB – Dr Humphries is more than a “capable understudy” – despite his unremarkable form over the past while, on his game he’s still one of the finest no 10s in NH rugby, and if he had only been born a decade later and grown up in the professional era, I really believe he would have been one of the all-time greats of world rugby – he is without a doubt one of the most naturally gifted Irish footballers of his era.

    And while I’m delighted to see O’Gara performing so well for Ireland, and long may it continue, there is no way he would have scored that try – firstly he’s unlikely to have found himself in that position out wide where Humph actually pops up quite regularly, secondly if he hadn’t been downed by the first tackler, who Humph stepped away from, the second or third would have nailed him – he doesn’t have anything like Humph’s pace, and certainly not that sidestep!

    Re Lansdowne, certainly looks that way! A good victory for Munster, and I would make them and Leinster favourites now for top spot finishes. And you never, know, if our results are right… maybe I’m just succumbing to some wishful thinking…