The Irish #cwc2011 gloating begins

I’m trying to work out whether Geoff Boycott’s use of the word “leprechauns” constitutes some kind of racist slur or whether it’s the self-adopted nickname of the mighty Irish cricket team following their historic victory over England in the #cwc2011 Cricket World Cup. Perhaps one follows the other?

In the meantime, Philosophy Football (who diversified into Cricket for The Ashes) have a t-shirt already for the burgeoning market of Irish cricket aficionados. They’re offering £5 off for orders placed in the first 48 hours.

Ireland needs all the good news it can get at the moment and I’m wondering if the combination of new found Cricketing superiority and financial austerity will result in a spike in the sales of Howzat kits – surely one of the cheapest entertainment-for-all-the-family options?

Update: Philosophy Football are sending Mick a free shirt for having a well-read blog that mentions their t-shirt, and they’re sending Pete one for having the foresight to liveblog a fixture that – to be honest – was probably only promising in hindsight.


  • Gloat all you what lads, everyone deserves their day in the Sun. Good game, good game as the ageing comic might say 😉

  • Paul “the word “leprechauns” constitutes some kind of racist slur or whether it’s the self-adopted nickname of the mighty Irish cricket team.”

    Referring to the Irish as leprechauns is not a racist slur but accepted as intended as an ethnic insult. If the Irish Cricket Team have adopted the term –then it could be a matter for any newly appointed Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport to tell them not to.

  • It seems some folks don’t know their Irish cricketing history:

    “[Bowlby] felt that Irish cricket was not played in the right spirit and in 1948 he founded a club called Leprechauns, modelled on the Free Foresters in England, to play touring sides and to visit schools and country clubs. It took off and has been a force in Irish cricket ever since.”

    I wonder if Boycott ever guested for the Leprechauns.

  • PaulT

    Calm down everyone.
    As any follower of Irish Cricket (not the fair weather kind that show up at World Cups) Wearing fancy dress outfits is a feature of Cricket, Irish fans have a habit of dressing as “leprechauns” probably because of amble silly hats handed out by Guiness on St Patricks day being available.

    After the last World Cup, there was an attempt to label Irish fans as the “Blarney Army” a subset of the Barmy Army, however it didn’t stick.

    Well done the Irish, I wonder how long before England&Wales pinch another few of our players.

    Keep staring at the table to see how we get to the Quarters and it all comes back to beating the Windies

    Incidently for the *newer* fans does a cracking text commentary and all the graphs a cricket fan loves

  • Boycott: “Many times people bandy the word “great” around loosely but this was one of the great one-day innings. Not only did O’Brien score his hundred off 50 balls with clean striking, he did it from a position when Ireland were losing the game at 106 for four and he finished up taking them to victory. That is an exceptional performance.”

  • juggernaut

    Whats wrong with being called Leprechauns? Ireland were magic! There is nothing more racist than seeing racism where it does not exist.

  • juggernaut “Whats wrong with being called Leprechauns?” Whats wrong about calling anyone a Gollywog? There might be no wrong in calling anyone an Arab in one context but it could be intended to be demeaning in another. In most circumstances I could not call a black man a nigger but black people can and do call each other that all the time.

    As Nevin points out some cricket club called themselves “the Leprechans” maybe that is fine in certain context but anti irish sentiment has often manifested itself in terms of references of the irish being perpetually drunken or leprechauns (denoting the irish to be feble minded simpletons)

    Now is the Irish Cricket Team’s current success a spring board for any anti Irish sentiment toward Irish people (not mystical creatures) as being leprechauns. Maybe it is not without good reason that most Irish never have been keen on cricket.

  • iluvni

    …more than anything, lets hope the Ireland cricket team remains one which we can all cheer on, and the administrators are more than careful not to pull the same strokes the IRFU did.

  • Rory Carr

    Don’t talk to me about gloating.

    When I broke the news to my (English) wife and she responded that I was gloating and I replied that surely she could at least find cheer in the triumph of the underdog she then came back with,

    “What like Birmingham’s defeat of Arsenal ?”

    I have instructed my solicitor accordingly.

  • majormyles

    As a lifelong (and often disappointed) supporter of the English cricket team , I think it was an excellent Irish performance which any cricket lover could and should applaud without being patronising.

    Good for the London “Times” (03/03/11) which devoted four pages , not just to England’s many failings but mostly to Ireland’s strengths and particularly to those of Kevin O’Brien.

  • Mark

    It’s a pity for Geoffrey Boycott that he’ll be remembered as that bitter overated ex England captain who bashes everyone and everything especially women ….Beefy on the other hand has a great reputation and why not as England were 500 / 1 at one stage in the Headingley test of 81 and the guy has raised millions for charity .

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I love Boycott but he is a bit racist. When I was in New Zealand at the time of the 1992 World Cup, I heard him on the radio talking about visiting (the black England bowler) Chris Lewis in his room, where he was recovering from a bad headache with the curtains drawn. I remember Boycott said to the local NZ radio interviewer: “If it hadn’t been for his eyes and his teeth, I wouldn’t have known he was there.”

  • Mark

    He’d know all about black eyes would his ex girfriend .

  • “It’s a pity for Geoffrey Boycott that he’ll be remembered as that bitter overated ex England captain”

    Overrated by whom?

    With ex cricketers, there is very little over-rating or under-rating of any player because statistics (whether about runs, wickets, runs per wicket etc) speak more or less about the player than almost any other sport.

    Boycott’s overall character is a separate point. For better or worse, his ‘conceited Yorkshireman personality disorder’ has made him into a sort of popular cricket cult figure. Cricket fans have got so used to him to the extent that they would miss his outspokeness if he was not there.

  • Mark

    Statistics and a thing called an assault conviction .The fans for starters Seymour .. and my Grandad ( ex army man from Leeds … a real Yorkshireman – didn’t thump the Dollies ) .. and really if you asked the fans what they thought of him , they’d probably give you a honest answer .

    And I’d imagine the likes of David Gower , Michael Atherton etc wouldn’t like their daughters marrying a man like Boycott . Us lepruchauns have a long memory Seymour .

  • Mark

    Who won the bleedin the match anyway Seymour ? lol …

    Are we still on for that pint ?

  • Mark


    IMO Boycott was bitter because he has missed out on the big contracts that Sky / Murdoch were handing out back then . He’d had a taste of money with Kerry Packer but when that went belly up,so did the chances for a lot of the cricketers to cash in .

    The age of the superstar in English Cricket had just arrive and with the court case , he wasn’t PC enough to sit in the Sky sports / Channel 4 studios …

    As with all captains, they sneakly don’t want they next guy to ” do better ” ( it’s all about the politics ) ..well kind off . He always struck (the Dollies) me as a little jealous that future Englans teams under Botham , Gatting won Ashes series . He seemed a little too happy whenever England didn’t do well esp against the Aussies ( We have one called George Hook )…

    Anyway , Seymour I didn’t want you to think that what I said was just for the sake of it ….. remember Dallaglio …

  • Mark, it also seems that not following Ray Illingworth as England Captain sent him into an extended huff! However, a test average adjacent to 50 as an opening bat isn’t to be sneezed at.

    Christy, are you going to to take exception to GB’s ‘exceptional’ too? 😉 You could well be right about his use of Leprechaun as a put down; he probably has a similar epithet for Lancastrians. On the other hand, if folks run around on St Patrick’s Day drinking green beer and pretending to be leprechauns they can expect a bit of stick. The ‘anyone but England/Ireland’ gloating following the thrashing of England/Ireland is often much more malicious.

  • Mark

    Nevin , no sneezing here re his stats , but you wouldn’t be on the edge of your seat watching him bat . Like Paul , I’m still trying to figure out whether or not he intended it as a racist slur . The lepruchaun in me doesn’t want to give him the benefit of the doubt ..

  • Mark,

    Boycott comments for BBC Test Match special. He also has a few column inches in the Dailty Telegraph. He has a past which has involved controversy both on and off the field, certainly, but that is what it is or was – the past.

    Boycott has not brushed swords for a long time now.
    He is certainly eccentric and opinionated and sounds like a stubborn yorkshireman but he is part of the scenery. Listening to him, I never got the impression he was bitter. I dont think he would stay in the job if he was.

    BTW, I dont beleive there was any racist slur, as long as you take racism as subjective. The vast majority of Englishmen would not understand that a reference to a leprechaun, could possibly amount to a racist slur. Also, it is highly likely that Boycott will have heard of the Leprechauns cricket club in North Dublin. He may even have played there. The cricket clubs in Dublin have been host to many English touring cricket clubs over the years.

    I’ve looked at the quote. I believe Boycott was using the word as a term of endearment.

  • A little googling produced this from Boycott’s blog in September 2010:

    “Whilst at the K Club Bill Donald, the Director of Golf, introduced me to the Society of Leprechauns, from Belfast, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary. I was delighted to accept an invitation to say a few words to their gathering…….. and try on their garb!”

    Other references to such a society appear to be mainly US based.

  • Mark


    Would French frogs be a term of endearment as well ? .

    He has more than likely mellowed over the years . I’m sure as an Englishman and a cricket fan , he was a little miffed at the result and reacted accordingly .

    Looks like the BBC are paying him a few quid if he can afford to stay at the K club for a week ..

  • paddywhack

    OMG, since when did we start taking each other as seriously as this??? I’m sure we have all been called a lot worse than a leprechaun!