Ireland’s last chance

At the minute France are punishing Georgia for daring to think they might have a had a chance at an upset, although the Georgians have had only 4 days since their previous game. Adds France win 64 – 7. Oh, and Ireland are getting ready [hopefully – Ed] to face those Pumas. Kick-off 4pm at the Parc des Princes. As I may have mentioned, a win by 8 points and at least 4 tries are required against Argentina for Ireland to go through to join England and Scotland in the quarter-finals.. against a side that has yet to concede a try.. But here’s some, probably misplaced, optimism. And the Guardian’s Scott Murray, who’s less optimistic, predicts “Argentinian fly half Juani Hernandez is going to hoof Garryowen after Garryowen towards his opposite number Ronan O’Gara..” Half-time Ireland 10 – 18 Argentina. Ireland have 1 try.. but Argentina have 2.. Full-time Ireland 15 – 30 Argentina. A better performance from Ireland, but too many turnovers and just not good enough. The Pumas, deservedly, go through to play Scotland in the quarter-final in Paris. Leaving France to play the All-Blacks.. in Cardiff. Ireland, deservedly, go home.

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  • Harry

    The point is that you are only 15% of the population and the name of the team is ‘Ireland’. The majority of the people of the island know what this means to them – your 15% are trying to cut across this, undo it to an extreme degree (even to the point of them not having their own flag at international sporting events) and assert a meaning and political effect that is far in excess of your right do so. It is a drain on our nation, which should rightfully think and act clearly about these things and in its own self-interests without being lashed mercilessly to the enervating influence of unionism upon it.

    Unionism is a poison to this island. It is the source of all the main problems faced across this society and this island.

  • congal claen

    Hi Harry,

    GSTQ at Croke Park was for England. What else did you want them to play? Or do you want to take the backward step to the time when the IRFU didn’t play the anthem of the visiting team? Which incidentally, is unheard of anywhere else in the world…

  • congal claen

    Hi Harry,

    Less than 10% of the people of the British Isles brought about the partition of these islands. So, one could equally say

    “Nationalism is a poison to these islands. It is the source of all the main problems faced across this society and these islands.”

    And what good would that do?

  • snakebrain

    Unionism is really just a form of nationalism, and it’s probably fair to say Nationalism has a lot to answer for, both here and further afield…..

  • George

    Congal,
    you could equally say that less than 1% of the population of these islands brought about the 1801 Union if you want to start down that road.

    By the way, on when the IRFU policy came in regarding GSTQ, I fear that the IRFU will say it was 1995 and the issue only came to the fore last year when games were played in Ravenhill.

    That of course not to say that is the case. It But nobody from Ulster Rugby has said otherwise.

    I have been unable to find any evidence to prove the contrary or to prove it conclusively.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    CC

    “The 9 county Ulster you’re talking about was an administrative unit setup under British rule in Elizabethan times. As you know things have changed since then. So, I find it somwehat bemusing your adherence to the construct of a British monarch.”

    A good idea is a good idea. Fair dues. What, you think that if there was a united Ireland, republicans would rip up the M1 just because the British treasury paid for it?

    “I din’t think I needed to but if you want examples – myself, practically every single Unionist I know, the Ulster Unionist Party, Ulster Television, Radio Ulster, The Ulster Hospital, etc, etc…”

    What, you would argue that Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are NOT in Ulster? What province are they in then?

    (I’ve already, at length, acknowledged the existence of a bizarre, parallel definition. But you have to admit, even those who hold that parallel definition don’t deny that Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, (London)Derry, Down, Donegal, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone are all in Ulster.)

    Darth

    “Actually I want NI to have its own cricekt , hockey, boxing and tiddlywinks teams”

    Is this because you think these sports would derive benefit from such a set-up? Here’s the really interesting question: If indeed you were persuaded they would actually suffer from such a change, would you still advocate it?

    “Beats all that nationalist politics didn’t intrude into the Royal Dublin Society’s horse show, or the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s bases in RoI, or the Royal irish Automobile Association etc etc.”

    In fairness, it would be rather petty if they were to do so. As I’ve frequently said, context is everything, so while a bit of de-royalising was understandable in the 1920s, it’d be childish today. Same as the rugby, I guess.

    “And you may well be a republican-shock! ….- in the form of government you prefer, but your selective use of pedantry to excise the hated London from the name of the county is a terminological twisting that is classic nationalism- not just Irish nationalism.”

    Who says I hate anything? To tell you the truth, I’ve just been brought up calling it Derry. I don’t mean to offend anyone. In fairness, it is probably more historically accurate to call it Londonderry. (Doesn’t mean there isn’t a compelling case to change it though!) But don’t over-egg the pudding Darth.

    “Which is why republicans will never have the breadth of vision to unify Ireland. Deep joy.”

    There’ll never be a united Ireland because someone on a website said Derry rather than Londonderry? Jesus, I’m glad you only have one vote Darth!

  • BonarLaw

    Harry

    reality check- unionists don’t want anything to do with your nation. We have no desire to drain it, lash it or even exercise a “enervating influence” over it. Perhaps you should advocate a big ditch be dug to keep things free from our perfidy. In fact that’s my kind of N/S cooperation project. thanks for the idea.

  • congal claen

    Hi George,

    I agree with you. I was replying to Harry. At the end of my post you’ll notice I had written…

    “And what good would that do?”

    PS I spent about an hour last night looking for the 95 statement. Like yourself – I found nothing.

  • Harry

    Sorry BonarLaw no can do. It’s in our national interests to reintegrate the territory – it’s in our interests economically, strategically, politically, culturally and psychologically. There’s also the small matter that 800,000 Irish nationalists live there, contiguous with the rest of our nation.

  • “Harry

    reality check- unionists don’t want anything to do with your nation.”

    Including the 600,000 IRISH Nationalists in the North? Who are part of the Irish nation and I daresay some small “u” unionists who have Irish passports, which is their birthright? What are you going to do about all those fifth columnists? Drop them over your newly constructed frontier battlements onto the moat and let them swim to the free state? Ah the good old days when the Tims doffed their caps to their loyal betters eh.

    By the way, most Brits don’t want you as part of their “nation”. They see you as a Mick or Paddy obsessed with battles of the 1690s and the wars of religion and still fighting them today in your mind. Tims under the bed indeed.

  • congal claen

    Hi BillyP,

    “What, you would argue that Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are NOT in Ulster? What province are they in then?”

    They’re in the 9 county version of Ulster. I’ve never denied that they are. If you go back to your 11.55pm post yesterday, I had said…

    “If you use Ulster for a 9 county entity that’s your choice. I’m also entitled to use it for NI. Neither of us are right or wrong.”

    To which you replied…

    “No, I’m right, and I’m backed by universal recognition – which is as close to the definition of fact that you’ll get.”

  • George

    Congal,
    If I spent any more time on this I would have to consider myself obsessive.

    I hope it is safe to say that while I can neither prove what I say nor disprove what you say, you can neither disprove what I say nor prove what you say.

  • Realist

    “it’s in our interests economically, strategically, politically, culturally and psychologically”

    Harry,

    Who is “our”?

    “Unionism is a poison to this island”

    Ahh – if only those pesky unionists didn’t feel that they were better served economically, strategically, politically, culturally and psychologically within the union, all our problems would be solved!

    And whose job is it to persuade them they are wrong?

  • BonarLaw

    Dave

    I was merely trying to assist our friend Harry in finding a way to protect his precious nation from my malign influence. The ditch is just one posibility.

    BTW don’t you find the expression “Tims” so 1950’s ?

    Harry

    Ein Reich, ein volk, eh what?

  • Harry

    BonarLaw: “Ein Reich, ein volk, eh what”

    Ironic, considering the demographic make-up of your valued state, one which doesn’t allow the flying of the flag representing 45% of the population from public buildings and still insists on the same treatment of the flag even across the entire island.

    You are a national minority who are damaging the progress of the country and are spcifically primed to do so for the geo-political purposes of your backers the British, without whom none of this antagonism towards Irish people and minority-sponsored secessionist unionism would be allowed to take place.

    I think you should continue speaking German, it seems to suit you.

  • Webb Ellis

    fecking nutters the whole lot of you-I didn’t invent the game for your sort-bugger orf you sad Oiks!!!

  • Realist

    “You are a national minority who are damaging the progress of the country and are spcifically primed to do so for the geo-political purposes of your backers the British, without whom none of this antagonism towards Irish people and minority-sponsored secessionist unionism would be allowed to take place”

    We deal in the present Harry – I would refer you to the GFA…ratified by the people of Ireland, North and South.

    No change, until the majority of people in Northern Ireland decide so.

    Perhaps once the antogonism towards, and demonisation of, the Unionist populace of Northern Ireland ceases, true “unity” might be possible.

  • Harry

    It is not a question of demonisation, it’s a question of justice, political rights and interests. Unionists might feel demonised, put upon, backs to the wall etc. but that is not what this is about. It’s about a country still labouring under the influence of a colonial set-up which endures to this day in its attitudes, its political construction and its effects.
    It suits unionists to cast this as a battle to demonise them or as a battle between protestants and catholics – such characterisations are useful for avoiding entering into discussion upon the real cause of our issues; the undemocratic nature of the current set-up island-wide, the geostrategic intervention of Britain, the Elizabethan attitudes of a minority on the island and the competing identities at every turn which the accomodation of this minority insists upon due to their access to guns and resources above and beyond any rights they may have proportional to their numbers. And all of this at the expense of the development of what could be and should be an exciting culture and energy across Ireland.

    I don’t believe we have to accomodate your political pretensions. To do so is in itself a victory for the maintenance of British political intervention in Ireland. I believe we have the right to win and it is in our interests to do so. The alternative is unending self-questioning and self-immolation over competing identities, rights, culture, language, politcal and strategic aims, which it is not in our interests as the vast majority of the population of the country to engage in.

    Except of course that you threaten to shoot if we don’t.

  • Realist

    Harry,

    “I don’t believe we have to accomodate your political pretensions. To do so is in itself a victory for the maintenance of British political intervention in Ireland. I believe we have the right to win and it is in our interests to do so”

    And how wil you do this?

    By:

    a/ Outbreeding the unionist population of Northern Ireland?

    or,

    b/ Persuading sufficient numbers of them that their future will be better served in a “united” Ireland?

    Beating them isn’t going to work – and well you know it!

    You cannot knock their Britishness out of them.

    They ain’t going away.

    Unlike your goodself, I believe that smart people know that true “unity” must encompass the British tradition on this island.

    You see Harry, either we all win…or we all suffer.

    No victories for any one section.

  • Realist

    I should have added Harry – I don’t know many “pretend” unionists.

    They are all very real unionists – they are not misguided, not deluded and not taking the piss out of our nationalist neighbours for a laugh.

    They believe that the union offers them and their families the better future.

    Convince them otherwise, by all means – but don’t pretend that they are not genuine in their patriotism.

  • BonarLaw

    Harry

    “I don’t believe we have to accomodate your political pretensions”

    But you have, and continue to do so. Look at the map. Specifically the pink bit that shares the same land mass as the Irish Republic. No serious political movement, foreign or domestic, proposes a change from pink to green without the ok of those living within the pink bit. Republican flat earthers may beg to differ but if all they can offer is Omagh and touching 1950s’ rhetoric I think my “political pretensions” (eg my nationality and membership of the UK) are here to stay.

    Happy self-immolation.

  • railist

    Methinks that the boul’ Harry has the whiff of the troll-self-immolation indeed.-back to rugby talk, anyone? No? thought not…..

  • Harry

    You have nothing to offer it would seem other than ‘I’m alright Jack’. There is in this attitude both an inclination towards conservatism and a triumphalism that the victory you enjoy every day is not to be messed with by ‘flat-earthers’, even though your victory is based on corralling 800,000 nationalists within your state to achieve it – a much higher proportion of the northern state than unionists are on the island as a whole.

    Your responses are basically aggressive and marked by a refusal to enter upon even an elementary analysis of the situation or the concepts I have used. No-one is threatening British culture on the island and no-one believes that a future united Ireland will not have an aspect of anglicisation based on its history and demographics. But the political intervention of Britain on this island and its sending about of men with guns wearing british uniforms under british jurisdiction is unacceptable.

    I heard on RTÉ news the other night a report by the economics correspondent about the huge increase in the price of grain worldwide and the historically low stocks globally. The reporter ended his piece by saying, almost in a throwaway manner ‘The era of low food prices may now be over’.
    How do you think Britain views Ireland in the context of food security? The issues relating to food security also encompass questions about the availability and price of oil, both for pesticides and transport. We know what happened in Ireland the last time the british used us as a food basket, what about over the next 20-30 years? What about water resources?

    We have bigger fish to fry than the accomodation of 900,000 people whose molly-coddled history and armed backing give them a false sense of importance and entitlement. We have our strategic interests to consider and our development as a nation to consider, free from influences that have always and continue to pull in a direction that is contrary to our energy. We have more right to pursue our interests in Ireland than the british have to pursue their interests in ireland.

  • railist

    told ya!!

  • snakebrain

    Seriously guys, call it a day, go out and get some fresh air….

  • BonarLaw

    ROTFLM(British)AO!

  • No Dozer

    I have been following this debate for a few days and as a Ulster supporter( I attend most home games) and England supporter( because of the anti unionist I.R.F.U.)I have tried to stay out of the debate as it has become boring. But.. I just want to comment on one point- It took fifty years for “Ireland” to return and play in Belfast and it will be another fifty before they come again. Why you might ask? The answer is really easy. The I.R F.U. and the quislings who run Ulster rugby know that they have got away with insulting the Unionist people at the recent international against Italy but they will never be able to do it again. Not in a million years.

  • pith

    How many Ulstermen play for England?

    And to clarify my prejudices, I have no problem with England and hope they further than anyone expected.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I find it somwehat bemusing your adherence to the construct of a British monarch. ‘

    That particular construct was just an overlay of what existed before from ancient times . I don’t agree with Dean Swift’s advice that we should burn everything English except their coal . The Brits have had a few good ideas . Unfortunately their political involvement in Ireland was not one of them .

    ‘In a rugby context, most people call the Lions the British Lions despite the introduction of Irish into the title. Would you like to see that reversed? ‘

    Would ‘nt bother me ole chap either way .

    ‘ What have majorities got to do with what different people call things’

    If the majority of people call winter -winter and you decide instead to call it summer that’s fine by me . Your business . But just don’t go swimming at Portrush during your summer.

  • Michael Robinson

    No Dozer – the IRFU has played numerous Ireland A and Ireland age-group games at Ravenhill. Only Irelands Call was played for these games. I’ll put money that there will be at least one Ireland A or Ireland age-group game played at Ravenhill by the end of next year. Or do you only care about the anthems played for the full Ireland team?

    The only reason that Ireland v Italy was played at Ravenhill was because Lansdowne Road was unavailable. I would agree that there are unlikely to be any future full internationals at Ravenhill. The redeveloped Thomond Park is likely to have first dibs given it will have twice the capacity of Ravenhill.

    Unless of course, the Maze stadium gets built in which case we will see Ireland return to Ulster for a minor autumn international every couple of years.

  • Realist

    “Unless of course, the Maze stadium gets built in which case we will see Ireland return to Ulster for a minor autumn international every couple of years”

    Michael,

    That’s interesting.

    Would that be the extent of of the IRFU’s commitment to the Maze proposals, in terms of fixtures?

    With news that funding has been agreed to re-develop Ravenhill, Ulster Rugby are not likely to have much need for the Maze.

  • willowfield

    George< .b>

    By the way, on when the IRFU policy came in regarding GSTQ, I fear that the IRFU will say it was 1995 and the issue only came to the fore last year when games were played in Ravenhill. That of course not to say that is the case. It But nobody from Ulster Rugby has said otherwise.

    The IRFU will, of course, say that since they do not wish to admit to that their announcement in 2006 was a policy change. And Ulster Branch has even less reason to admit to it. But the reality is that the policy changed in 2006.

    Harry

    Sorry BonarLaw no can do. It’s in our national interests to reintegrate the territory – it’s in our interests economically, strategically, politically, culturally and psychologically. There’s also the small matter that 800,000 Irish nationalists live there, contiguous with the rest of our nation.

    A bit like Austria and the Sudetenland, Harry?

    You are a national minority who are damaging the progress of the country and are spcifically primed to do so for the geo-political purposes of your backers the British, without whom none of this antagonism towards Irish people and minority-sponsored secessionist unionism would be allowed to take place.

    A bit like the Jews and their American backers, Harry?

  • Michael Robinson

    Would that be the extent of of the IRFU’s commitment to the Maze proposals, in terms of fixtures?

    With news that funding has been agreed to re-develop Ravenhill, Ulster Rugby are not likely to have much need for the Maze.

    Putting aside the likelihood of the Maze actually going ahead, the PWC report on the options for a new stadium said that the IRFU’s minimum committment for a new stadium was:
    – 3 x Ulster European games every year
    – 1 x Ireland international every other year

    My assumption that the Ireland game would be against a “minor” team like the Pacific Islanders or Georgia.

    This was a minimum committment and obviously would not preclude the IRFU using the stadium for other games.

    On the Ravenhill redevelopment, this will actually REDUCE the capacity from approx. 12,300 to 11,000. I understand that the redevelopment will produce “upgraded facilities” (which probably means higher ticket prices…) so the overall revenue will increase, despite the reduction in capacity.

    Last season, Ulster’s average home gate for Magners League and European games was 10,759. Ulster’s performances on the pitch were pretty ordinary as well.

    With Ravenhill’s capacity reduced to 11k, last seasons attendances would mean 6 out of 12 home games sold out and an average attendance of 98% of the ground’s capacity.

    Sell-outs just mean that you aren’t getting the money you could be getting and there is absolutely no room to grow the support base.

    I think this makes it pretty obvious that access to a new stadium is essential to Ulster’s future prospects.

    Looking at Ulster’s competitors, the majority either have, or plan to have, access to stadia larger than Ravenhill.

  • willowfield

    You want to be careful, there, Michael.

    Part of the attraction of watching live sport is the atmosphere – almost as important as the game itself. Optimum atmosphere is achieved by filling (or nearly filling) your stadium (and by covering it so as to retain noise).

    The more empty spaces, the worse the atmosphere and the less appealing the experience for the spectator. So by moving to a stadium that is too big you actually might reduce your support.

    Better to sell out 11,000 with a couple of thousand occasionally disappointed, than to have 13,000 in a 30,000 stadium who will eventually reduce in numbers over time (down to 11,000 again or lower) due to the crap atmosphere.

    Also, having sold out games actually helps to sustain demand as people always want to be part of something that is seen as exclusive.

    In short, then, better to build a stadium that will be filled regularly, rather than one that will rarely or never be filled, even if the latter stadium allows you potentially to exceed the original capacity.

  • Michael Robinson

    I disagree, Willowfield.

    We have only had 5 years of professional rugby in Ulster with a regular home-and-away celtic and European fixture list and you already want to cap attendances at 11k?

    If nothing else, it shows an astonishing lack of ambition – a lack of ambition not present in Ulster’s competitors like the Ospreys or Munster that currently have lower average attendances than Ulster but who will have 20k+ stadia.

    I don’t think that rugby is even close to achieving the attendances that could be achieved.

    The showcase games like the European and inter-pro fixtures are important to attract casual and new supporters who may then be “converted” ( 😉 ) into regular supporters but stand tickets for the Ulster v Leinster game in 3 weeks time are already sold out. If you aren’t a dedicated fan – forget it. There’s no way that Ulster can survive by being that exclusive.

    You are also ignoring the potential for away supporters and the wider benefits for the N Ireland economy. You could certainly expect a few thousand Leinster supporters if tickets were available, and Belfast has a good reputation as an away trip with English and Welsh fans.

    Lastly, the fans and the team make the atmosphere. I saw Ulster win the Celtic League in a hlaf-full Liberty Stadium and Ulster win the Celtic Cup in a third-full Murrayfield and there was certainly no shortage of atmosphere.

  • willowfield

    Michael

    I’ll bow to your superior insight as to what a realistic figure for average attendances might be and will accept that it is reasonable to anticipate average attendances of well over 11,000. If so, increasing the capacity seems like a sensible idea. But the clever thing is in deciding by how much you want to increase the capacity. I suggest that you don’t want to increase it much higher than, say, 10% more than your anticipated potential average attendance.

    Increased attendances of, say, 20,000 in a 40,000 bowl at the Maze would be disastrous in the long term. Better to have 18 or 19,000 sold out every week than a couple of thousand more in soulless experience that won’t retain its appeal over time.

    You say carefully designing your stadium to ensure it is full or nearly-full most of the time shows an astonishing lack of ambition. I say it is the smart thing to do. The full or nearly-full stadium will attract support on a regular and long-term basis. The half-full stadium won’t, even if in absolute terms there are more spectators there initially or occasionally.

    This advice applies no matter where the stadium is to be built, but if you are thinking about the Maze as a possibility, then don’t forget to factor in the annoyance factor of transport as another barrier to attracting regular fans. After a while it’ll be increasingly difficult to persuade people to go through the experience of traffic congestion before and after every game held in a half-full stadium.

    Lastly, of course the fans and team make the atmosphere, but it is constrained by the stadium. I suggest to you that the atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium would have been far better in a tighter stadium, and also that the occasion (at best once-a-season) was a factor – you need to think about every game, not just the championship-deciders.

  • Michael Robinson

    Willowfield – I don’t really want to debate all the various pro- and anti- Maze points as that has been done to death and I don’t think I would be adding anything to this.

    In an ideal world, a 20-something k stadium would probably be best for rugby, but if it comes down to realpolitik and a choice of just Ravenhill or having the option to use a 30k+ stadium at the Maze, I would support the Maze.

    With the worst case, if it flops, then Ulster Rugby won’t be any worse off than they are at the moment as they still have the option of Ravenhill.

    With the best case and a large increase in crowds, Ulster Rugby will be a lot better off than they are at the moment. Also, Ulster Rugby should have the ability to influence the atmosphere anyway, both in terms of stadium design and the match day experience with ticketing, promotions and other activities.

    If it flops, then it will have been a waste of taxpayers money, but you don’t need to look far in N Ireland for other boondoggles wasting even more money.

    This ia a rugby-centric and somewhat selfish perspective but I’d expect other sports to do the same!

    I don’t think an increase of capacity at Ravenhill is on the cards. If you’ve read the press reports of the current redevelopment, it will take 3-4 years from submission to completion and residents and local politicians still have a lot of objections. And this is for a DECREASE in capacity.

    On the subject of atmosphere, I think there are so many variables that focussing just on the stadium is missing the point. I’ve been in plenty of packed, compact stadia and the team performance has been so dire that the atmosphere was as flat as a pancake.

    Rugby atmosphere does tend to be different from football – it tends to ebb and flow more with the game while football tends to be more constant.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    your reality is that the policy changed in 2006 and the IRFU’s and Ulster Rugby’s reality is that it changed in 1995.

    You can’t prove your reality and it seems the IRFU is relucant/can’t prove theirs. In others, we are not dealing with realities here, we are dealing with postulataions. You calling something a reality doesn’t make it one.

    And considering myself and Congal have postulated this particular issue into the ground, I see no reason to start again simply because you want to back to A when the rest of us are at Z.

    Instead, simply read our exchanges that are to be found here and there on this rambling 10-page-long thread.

    Or else, produce a document from the IRFU or Ulster Rugby.

  • willowfield

    Michael

    You are right insofar as, for rugby, Maze won’t be the same disaster as it will for football because rugby will retain its own ground for use (a) for those matches not appropriate for the Maze, and (b) in the event that the Maze goes tits-up.

    Nonetheless, I would suggest that a better option for rugby (than the Maze) would be a stadium in Belfast smaller than the Maze but larger than Ravenhill.

    George

    your reality is that the policy changed in 2006 and the IRFU’s and Ulster Rugby’s reality is that it changed in 1995.

    My conviction is that the policy changed in both 1995 and 2006. The IRFU’s “reality” that it changed in 1995 is not in question – the question is what subsequently happened in 2006.

    You can’t prove your reality and it seems the IRFU is relucant/can’t prove theirs. In others, we are not dealing with realities here, we are dealing with postulataions. You calling something a reality doesn’t make it one.

    No, but that will not stop me saying what I am convinced is correct. (And nor did it stop you asserting that the 1995 policy was unchanged.) I remember clearly when Ireland’s Call was introduced that the explanation was in terms of “home” and “away”. If not, why was there any need for IRFU to make a statement in 2006 in relation to the Italy match? Why was there discussion in the media prior to the 2006 statement?

  • No Dozer

    “How many ulstermen play for England”

    What has that got to do with the price of fish Pith ?

    I also support Ards FC(sometimes) and as far as I know they have no one who plays for N.I. on their team and I am a big N.I. supporter.

    Micheal Robinson- Don’t be holding your breath as it unlikely that the Terrordome at the Maze will be built any tme soon or indeed, if ever.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Just reading down through all the comments and I can’t help but notice the animosity from contributers toward the Ireland rugby team. One can hear the huge sigh of relief now that it is all over from the staunch Unionist type folk who were in despair at the thoughts of the 32 county Irish rugby team do well in the World Cup. For deep down they were desperately wishing and willing the team to do badly because happy scenes of an all-Ireland team winning a trophy in sport is the stuff of nightmares to them. Even though the Ulster boys like Trimble and the Bests could not stop such belligerant and ill-will, for they’d rather cut off their noses to spite their faces. ‘Two seperate teams’ barks one, ‘an all-British team’ barks another. It’s absolutely incredible stuff. The stuff of Lundies!

    (Will staunch Unionists please accept that a substantial proportion of the population of Northern Ireland class themselves as just ‘Irish’.)

  • George

    Willowfield,
    I fully accept it is your conviction and I also fully accept that you are basing your conviction on evidence.

    However, your evidence is circumstantial (however strong) and not conclusive and the IRFU and Ulster Rugby simply say the issue wasn’t discussed until 2006 because that is the first time it arose since 1995.

    And nobody can prove them wrong. It is your word against theirs.

  • willowfield

    Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Just reading down through all the comments on the football threads and I can’t help but notice the animosity from contributors toward the Northern Ireland football team. One can hear the huge sigh of relief now that it is all over from the staunch Nationalist type folk who were in despair at the thoughts of the 6 county Irish football team doing well in the European Championship. For deep down they were desperately wishing and willing the team to do badly because happy scenes of a Northern Ireland team qualifying for a major international tournament in sport is the stuff of nightmares to them. Even though the nationalist boys like Baird and Clingan could not stop such belligerent and ill-will, for they’d rather cut off their noses to spite their faces. ‘One single team’ barks one, ‘an all-nationalist team’ barks another. It’s absolutely incredible stuff. The stuff of Lundies!

    (Will staunch Nationalists please accept that a substantial proportion of the population of Ireland class themselves as ‘Northern Irish’.)

    George

    Indeed, but, as you admit, the evidence for my contention is strong, and also it is to IRFU’s advantage to pass off its 2006 statement as a reiteration of the 1995 policy rather than as a change to it.

  • DavidD

    There is no sense in sacking EOS after the WC failure. Six months ago, around when Ireland peaked, it was quite reasonable to think that all that was needed was some fine-tuning. Great teams, and especially in rugby, can decline to mediocrity in a very short time. Even had EOS sensed a decline a few months ago there was little he could have done at that stage. The time to start rebuilding the squad is now and recriminations won’t help.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    or it could simply be the case that this was the position since 1995 and some people only became aware of it in 2006.

    You can’t prove it wasn’t, even though Congal and yourself make a strong and cogent argument.

    I can’t prove the contrary either, by the way.

    That is the whole point.

  • Michael Robinson

    There is no sense in sacking EOS after the WC failure.

    … but just wait to see how his support team get a right royal shafting!!

    I predict that the IRFU will do something similar to the RFU preceding Andy Robinson’s sacking. First thing will be a cull of EOS’s coaching staff (forwards coach etc.). If Ireland flop in next year’s 6 nations, then EOS really will be vulnerable.

    My take on Ireland’s RWC flop is:

    – preparation… the team didn’t peak at the right time. They were possibly over-trained, sick of the sight of each over given weeks together in camp, lethargic and lacking the spark needed to play well.

    – EOS’s coaching plan. EOS comes up with a gameplan, picks players to play with game plan and expects players to stick to it rigorously. EOS doesn’t do “impact subtitutions” as that would imply the gameplan isn’t working. He only does like-for-like replacements or meaningless substitutions with 30 seconds to go. Players like Boss and Paddy Wallace don’t really figure because their strengths don’t fit in with EOS’s gameplan. Unfortunately the opposition didn’t really fit into the EOS gameplan either.

  • DavidD

    Michael

    Not sure about your first point. If Ireland had reached the semis then EOS would have been a good guy for ensuring that the team had gelled together well, knew each other instinctively etc. etc. The second point is spot on though. There was a rigidity about the tactics as evidenced by the fact that, after a poor start, Ireland didn’t really get any better. Even the Welsh played with more flair. EOS should certainly factor in more flexibility for the future.

  • DerryCityFan

    Yawn willowfield at it again,what a suprise!!!!

    just create a Northern Ireland Rugby team for unionists and be done with it then if you dont like it.

    Like Football i know who i will be supporting though.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    you can come out now from behind the settee – a Welsh rugby team have put in a performance to proud of. Llanelli have just smashed Leinster.
    Leinster could do worse than seek the services of Gareth Jenkins as the present Leinster incumbent does not appear to be able to organise or motivate the team. EOS to stay Michael Cheika to go.

  • Dewi

    Sammy – still sobbing I’m sorry

  • Michael Robinson

    More good news for you Dewi… Cardiff won away at Munster as well…

  • Dewi

    Been great in Cardiff tonight – piles of french and kiwis – wonderful – should be a great game tomorrow….I got a feeling that France might do it…but as I have been wrong about everything I’ll keep my mouth shut.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I can’t help but notice the animosity from contributers toward the Ireland rugby team. One can hear the huge sigh of relief now that it is all over from the staunch Unionist type folk who were in despair at the thoughts of the 32 county Irish rugby team do well in the World Cup. For deep down they were desperately wishing and willing the team to do badly because happy scenes of an all-Ireland team winning a trophy in sport is the stuff of nightmares to them.”

    OK Greg there’s an element of truth in that. Though anyone who thinks there’s any chance of an Irish team winning a trophy is not a follower of sport. Sometimes- and usually when they play England- even Unionists are Irish supporters- just as we’re virtually all for Scotland in the Calcutta cup. It’s partly the underdog thing.

    In my experience there’s no antipathy to those few Ulstermen who O’Sullivan picks because he mistakenly thinks they’re from North-east Connacht. Though would you have called Davy Tweed a Lundy to his face?

    Older generations generally support Ireland, in the way that they supported Ireland the football team (the one that played at Windsor park)and had no issue with self-describing as Irish. One effect of the polarisation of the past 40 years made that less likely, but perhaps our recent history is changing that back.

    Without wanting to start this whole thing up again, we know the GSTQ issue was handled hypocritically by the IRFU, and brought to the fore other feelings of grievance in many northern rugby fans like me. So you bet I laughed when their team got stuffed- as did very many of my circle of acquaintances, who included one former under 21 Ireland player, and who are almost entirely of the north Down garden centre post-Protestant professional middle class.

    Perhaps they’re being a bit too precious- not a unique flaw when we see people wanting memorials to the victims of the Enniskillen bombing being taken down to avoid causing offence, or councillors not wanting the perpetrators of the Omagh bomb being identified as republicans, or squandering thousands on futile attempts to change the name of our second city.

    But the reason isn’t the one you advance. It’s because nationalists touch the same old raw nerve- the total lack of respect for another vision of Irishness-and as people who have in the past occasionally had legitimate grounds for a mirror complaint ( which most Unionists recognise) you ought to recognise it as a concern to be addressed, not to be dismissed.

  • Dewi

    What are you supposed to do between England v Australia and All Blacks v France ???

    Piles of Irish over here..amonsgt the stunning French beauties and burly New Zealanders…. .are they lost ???

  • Leave them have their 6 county rugby team with a union jack and the mrs von hohenzollern saxe-coburg gotha’s head superimposed on it and let them sing the sash for the 80 minutes and have king billy as the official mascot. Like football, any catholic (or prod, if he wants)from the north can play for the team called Ireland.

    Small tiny little island still squabbling and fighting like rabid dogs (look at the crap posted here, full of barely concealed loathing for anything different). Pathetic sad creatures we all are. A plague on all our houses, let the two islands sink to the bottom of the sea and do the world a favour.

    What a depressing country/island. And the whole notion of 60% of a province trying to call itself a nation, when 40% of the people of six tenths of a province have zero interest in that place calling itself a nation. Sad, sad.

  • twtwtw

    The whinging on her has been monumental. Over representation under representation no representation.

    Chantelle Houghton had to leave here champange and clubbing lifestyle behind when she married ordinary boy Preston and moved to ordinary Brighton where they went out to ordinary pubs which served ordinary drinks like lager. Think of how far Brighton is from Essex.

    Surely Chantelle Houghton is the
    Most
    Oppressed
    Person
    Ever

    and you people do not realise that you are born.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Willowfield, sorry but the play on words doesn’t work. Why not use the Republic of Ireland soccer team there, as well and anything associated with Ireland which is always the case with hardline hardnosed Unionists. You are obviously very ignorant of the fact that many people from the south supported Northern Ireland in their last World Cup outing in Spain in 1982 and were happy for their tremendous success. And sorry to disappoint but Irish folk particularly from the south would’nt hold the same belligerent attitude toward the NI soccer team as those Unionists of the north toward the south’s. (The antics at Windsor Park over a decade ago when the 2 teams played, springs to mind, and I’m sure you remember well Alan McLoughlin’s goal).

    Regarding the rugby world cup, even the First Minister Big Ian (as well as the Deputy) managed to wish the Ireland rugby team well against the Argies. But you probably missed that on TV.

    Just as well Ulster wasn’t planted with vineyards for the vines would yield a very sour wine!

  • willowfield

    Dear me, Greg

    Willowfield, sorry but the play on words doesn’t work.

    The whole point of my throwing in the suggestion of separate rugby teams after Ireland’s poor performance on the field, was in response to the continuing suggestions of an all-Ireland football team after NI’s (and/or ROI’s) poor performances on the field. That was obviously lost on you.

    And I’m not ignorant of the fact that many Southerners supported NI in 1982 (although you’re obviously ignorant of the fact that NI’s last World Cup outing was not 1982 – check your facts). Nor am I ignorant of the fact that most northerners (myself included) support the Ireland rugby team.

    Ironically, given your sweeping generalisations, I – and the vast majority of unionists – are happy for all-Ireland sporting structures in rugby to continue – it is the whingeing nationalists who want them changed. Funny, though, how we don’t see you commenting in disparaging tones about anti-NI sentiment on football threads! Your post served my purposes very well, thanks very much.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    So you reckon an Northern Ireland rugby team would do better all round….well fair play to ye!

    BTW I’m well aware of Northern Ireland’s 1986 World Cup outing in Mexico, pardon me for overlooking this and boiling your blood a little bit more.

    I have commented many a time on the Northern Ireland soccer threads and I strongly advocate that all Irish Nationalists living in Northern Ireland should support the Northern Ireland soccer team wholeheartedly. After all, with such fine players as Jennings, O’Neill and Lennon playing their hearts out over the years for their country, it is only right that they get 100% support from everyone. And with this support it is only right that the Northern Ireland flag and GSTQ anthem should be changed. Anyhow, the Northern Ireland soccer team just doesn’t belong solely to the Unionist community and after all the population ratio of Unionist/Nationalist in Northen Ireland is not that much really, so lets have both communities represented and no one offended!

    Sure maybe the FAI will join ranks again with the IFA, who knows what the future will bring. No doubt you will be very vexed!

  • willowfield

    I have commented many a time on the Northern Ireland soccer threads and I strongly advocate that all Irish Nationalists living in Northern Ireland should support the Northern Ireland soccer team wholeheartedly.

    But did you attack nationalists for their animosity and belligerent ill-will? For considering NI success to be the stuff of nightmares? For cutting off their noses to spite their faces? For barking “incredible” demands like an all-Ireland team?