Catholics vs. Convicts: The Old El Paso throwback

 One for the Diaspora…..Tonight in El Paso, Texas, Brian Kelly’s University of Notre Dame side renew their once bitter rivalry with the Hurricanes of the University of Miami,Fla. in the much anticipated Sun Bowl.

It’s a season finale which Fighting Irish fans could not have dared for just seven weeks ago, when successive defeats to Navy and Tulsa had left the South Bend team requiring victory against a ranked Utah side, Army and, of course, the aul’ enemy, University of Southern California (USC) just to put the Fighting Irish in a position to qualify for a semi-decent bowl.

Of course, the Sun Bowl ain’t no BCS game, and Kelly will know that Year 2 of the new era must deliver a major improvement if he is to avoid facing a barrage of calls for his head from an as ever impatient Fighting Irish support base which has grown weary of harking back to yesteryear.

Even the title to this blog- Catholics v Convicts– recalls a pivotal encounter during Notre Dame’s last National title winning season, during a period of years from 1988- 1990 when these two former heavyweight collegiate sides regularly did battle with one team or both in contention for National title glory. Alas, sitting with 7-5 records going into tonight’s contest, those days look as distant as ever.

But enough gloom. Kelly has already begun to make an impact in the recruitment stakes, and retaining the services of Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph, whilst continuing the maturation process for a defensive unit which had finally begun to deliver in November will be key to lifting the aspirations of Notre Dame in 2011. But most important will be getting the quarterback decision right, and Tommy Rees will have a chance to take a giant stride towards filling that position with a solid performance tonight.

Go Irish!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Sport” obliges us to take sides. And with Celtic (Hibernian & Dundee United), Boston Celtics, Hibernian of Malta, Valez Sarsfields (actually no Irish connexion) in Argentina and Deportivo Chivas (the MLS soccer team who have adopted los San Patricios).
    Of course nothing quite says it like Notre Dame or “Fightin Irish” although the link to Father William Corby chaplain to the Northern Civil War Irish Brigade has really little to do with the nickname.
    The “good” myth is that it is from a game changing half-time team talk.
    The “bad” myth….a punch up between students and Ku Klux one I prefer.
    Although a friend insists it was originally applied as a form of abuse by supporters of more waspish colleges.
    Either way a good excuse to wear the sweat shirt (if Mrs FJH can find it).

  • john

    Some of the teams you mention have quite obvoius Irish connections but I cant seem to find any relative info on Hibernia Malta, Valez sarsfields or Deportivo Chivas. Got any links? Cheers.
    Ps no mention of the mighty Man Utd and its humble beginings or London Irish for that matter amongst many others

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well actually my beloved Manchester United has a very contradictory history in respect of the “Irish” as pre war Manchester was not necessarily a good place to be Irish. (and yes Newton Heath was founded by railway workers many of whom were Irish and Manchester Celtic was considered and rejected as a name).
    The Manchester Irish were associated with illegal gambling and the pre-war United directors had obsession with respectability (in the early 20th century the team had been involved in bookmakers scams).
    Its only really in the Busby era (Johnny Carey)and even post Munich (Whelan, Cantwell, Brennan, Best, Dunne etc ) that theres an Irish connexion.
    I only mention Hibernian of Malta because they drew 0-0 with Man United in 1966-67 European Cup.
    Velez Sarsfields is actually a district in Buenos Aires but the Sarsfield for whom its named was Argentinian but his mother was a descendant of Patrick Sarsfield.
    Chivas is the second club in Los Angeles and rivals to LA Galaxy.
    I only learned about this connexion thru my interest in Los San Patricios Regiment when my guestbook was signed by a supporter of Chivas. As he tells it, Chivas is supported by hispanics in LA while the “yankees” support Galaxy. And Chivas supporters groups name themselves after various Mexican heroes and he happened to be in San Patricio group.

  • Mark

    Fitz ,

    Paul McGrath , Kevin Moran , Frank Stapleton , Ashley Grimes ( sent off in his debut ) Paddy Roche and of course Norman Whiteside all in the 80’s .

    90’s team had Denis Irwin and Roy Keane ( the alfie haaland tackle ) brings it all back ……

  • Mark

    Jimmy Nichol , Sammy McElroy .

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Dont get the beloved Manchester United, Celtic et al malarkey over indulged in by the plain People of Ireland.

    You get the same nonsense now amongst the indigenous Plain Peoples of Asia and Africa – all very unfortunate and indeed sad. Perhaps itis time for you to move on Fitzy?

    … but I do quite like the sound of the fighting Irish.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Sammy McIlroy,
    Joe Carolan, Jimmy Shiels, Johnny Giles, Pat Dunne, Jimmy Nicholson, Mick Martin, Gerry Daly, Chris McGrath, Trevor Anderson, Mal Donaghy, Sammy McMillan, Ronnie Briggs, Harry Gregg, Darron Gibson.
    Liam O’Brien was sent off on his debut v Southampton (away). I cant recall Grimes being sent off.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well although you dont get the beloved Manchester United, Celtic etc………many others do. You must have noticed.

  • Mark

    Liam o Brien got sent off not Ashley Grimes your right fitz ,

    You left out Eamon Dunphy , maybe not an oversight ? Didn’t Matt Busby call selling John Giles to Leeds , his biggest mistake in management .

    Did Ronnie Briggs not rob a bank ?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Briggs was third choice keeper who got a few games in about 1962 (Im too lazy to look it up) and let in about 12 goals.
    Eamonn Dunphy……well Id like to overlook him……he refers to himself as ex-United but I dont think he played a first team game.
    According to Dunphys book (and I despise him) Giles being sold to Leeds was Busbys biggest misyake because Giles (in Busbys view) was a troublemaker with a better football brain than Busby.
    But Dunphy spoils it by saying that the experience with Giles convinced him to sell Dunphy (also a footballer brain……yeah right) to York City even though Birmingham City made a better offer.
    Cant seriously think that Busby was worried about Eamonn Dunphy coming back to Old Trafford and haunting him. But then I cant take Dunphy seriously.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “many others do. You must have noticed.”

    Yes, that’s the point – Mancester United et al are the teams of choice in Ballygobackwards, Bankok and Bulawayo.

    It is deeply sad and it must stop NOW .

  • pippakin

    I have vague memories that a football team, either Spurs or Arsenal used to be called London Irish. Just can’t remember which one of the two it was.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Arsenal had Nelson, Morrow, O’Leary, Brady, Stapleton, Neill, Rice were all with Arsenal in the 1970s and/or 1980s

  • Mark

    Paddy Roche wasn’t first choice either as you know and I think he was in goal for a 5-1 drubbing by ?? but one of his folks had died on the eve of the game .

    There are so many Dunphy stories …… One I remember is him saying in mid 90’s that he had received 4 death threats because of articles he’d written . One about the provos , one about politics and two about Man Utd .

    A few taxi drivers gave him a hiding in Spar on Baggot street after Italia 90 over his rows with Jack C.

    There was a very interesting photo of Eamon at a party in 2002 / 2003 which did the rounds among the papers in Dublin but no one would publish the picture . Then he got married and that was that .

    Favorite Man Utd moments – FA Cup Final vs Liverpool 77 . FA Cup semi final vs Arsenal 99 ( what did Fergie say to Steve McClaron after Giggs had scored , I’d love to know ) and premiership vs Norwich 93. ( 3-1 ) .

  • Mark

    I can still picture Tony Adams dropping Stevie Morrow at Wembley .

    That late 70’s Arsenal team were very good . And United nearly signed Brady before he went to Italy . He’s still a legend in Turin .

    Wasn’t President Bartlet a Notre Dame fan ?

  • Mark

    Sammy ,

    Manchester united et al . What do you mean ?

    Is ballygobackwards a country / city thing ?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Roche played about 50 games for United over a space of about 8 years but he had only one good run of about 20 games when he replaced Stepney for about half a season in say 1978ish.
    I saw him play two or three times and to me he always looked a bit “lightweight” for a keeper and not very “in your face” like a keeper should be.
    He made some terrible howlers. I remember Liverpool beat us about 4-1 one time and he was responsible for two or three and that meant the crowd never really got behind him.

    The United crowd is fairer than most on new players but a goalie needs to be special and unfortunately Roche wasnt top drawer. But he was ok on his day.

  • Dec

    I’m pretty sure I remember Ashley Grimes being sent off for putting hands on a referee in the early 80s.

  • Mark

    Fitzy ,

    Yes , look at Peter Cech , never the same after that kick to the head . Schmichel was great but left too soon ( him and keane didn’t get on and he wanted to stay capt after treble ) .

    First saw the Red Devils in april 77 vs Leicester City ( 1-1 Macari for us , Worthington for them ) . I’d met Worthington on day of game in hotel ( i was just a kid ) and he promised to score .

    Can never understand the likes of sammy’s attitude . Sport is such a release . Anyway always love chatting about United , back to the bickering next year , have a good one .

  • Mark

    So can I , I think they were wearing that white away strip . He had that new romantic blonde perm that was all the rage back then .

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not saying Grimes was never sent off but as far as I know O’Brien was the only one sent off in his debut.
    For the record the first time I ever saw United was not even at Old Trafford. Was at Elland Road when United fans caused a riot (January 1969, Leeds won 2-1) and first time I was at Old Trafford was April 1969 (United 3 Forest 1)

  • Brian

    I am in the States now and I tell you what, I do not like Notre Dame. Overrated and always on TV even if they suck. You can always find a sucker to take a bet on their games though, I will give you that.

    Anyway, happy new years

  • Harry Flashman

    Where did I get the impression that United was the team for Manchester Prods whereas City was the Fenians’ team of choice? Liverpool was for the Huns and Everton for the Taigs and am I right that Chelsea was for the True Blues and Arsenal for the London Micks?

    By the way does anyone know why Greek side Panathinaikos wears green and has a shamrock for a crest?

  • Chris Donnelly

    That’s fightin’ talk!

    Hope you didn’t bet against my boys on Friday when they gave the Hurricanes a lashing in El Paso! Roll on 2011, BCS here we come!

  • john

    Harry you have City and United mixed up although nowadays the religous links are non-existent as for Chelsea and Arsenal I dont know but I think a lot of ‘micks’ follow Spurs as well as Arsenal.
    Panathanikos wear green for hope but I dont know why the shamrock( Tριφύλλι- 3 leaf)

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Tottenham Hotspur is allegedly the chosen team of Londons Jewish community. Arsenal supporters reguarly refer to them as the “Yids” and I have myself seen Spurs supporters wearing tshirts with the slogan “The Yid Army”.
    Somewhat oddly Osama Bin Ladin is believed to have followed Arsenal in his London days. He is listed in Arsewebs (sic) Celebrity Gooners Page.
    In Eamonn Dunphy (cant stand him!) book on Matt Busby “A Strange Kind Of Glory” Denis Law is quoted as being amazed at the number of Catholic bishops and priests in the Old Trafford Directors Box.
    Those who remember the early 1970s Granada TV show “The Comedians” will recall that Citeh supporting alleged comedians (Bernard Manning and George Roper) reguarly made fun at Uniteds poor league form and relegation.
    One of Ropers better lines was “theres a new priest at Manchester United…….Father/Farther Down.”
    The shamrock on Panathonaikos shirts dates from the fall of the Ottomon Empire and the movement of peoples between Turkey and Greece. It was actually the emblem of a “greek” team in mainland Turkey. I dont know any details.

  • Mark

    Back in the day , Andy Goram was diagnosed with a slight form of schizophrenia . During an old firm game , the celtic fans started singing ” two Andy Gorams , there’s only two Andy Gorams ……….. there’s only two Andy Gorams ” .

  • lover not a fighter

    Did’nt like Andy Goram but he was a good goalkeeper for Rangers so maybe there was two Andy Gorams afterall.

  • Mark

    I see our own little Pancho Villa has done the bis again tonight Thank you very much …….. .

  • john

    On the subject of teams with Irish roots I just watched the film Alive for the first time in years and was reminded that the rugby team who had to survive by eating their dead friends and relatives were founded by the irish christian brothers