Sport can give us a lift in good times and in bad

Bray People - - View From The Street -

SUN­DAY morn­ings in our town have a fa­mil­iar style to them. The streets qui­eten down and those with a lit­tle bead of re­li­gion still flow­ing through their blood hush their way to­wards the wor­ship­ping halls. The rest of the town’s in­hab­i­tants are at home sleep­ing off the sweet in­dul­gences of the night be­fore. But the first Sun­day in Septem­ber was dif­fer­ent this year.

There was an un­ex­pected air of ex­cite­ment about the place. As the beep­ing horns and stream of cars car­ry­ing Water­ford and Kilkenny flags en route to Croke Park passed by, it could only but make you smile. Those beam­ing and ex­pec­tant faces brought it home how spe­cial an All-Ire­land Fi­nal day is to the peo­ple whose coun­ties have made it there.

It is a unique fea­ture of this coun­try that at the end of a sport­ing sum­mer, four coun­ties out of 32 (un­less there’s a dou­ble up) get to feel spe­cial for a day. But then, there’s more to it than those 24 hours. The build up, those few weeks of cam­paign re­flec­tion and day­dreams of what might hap­pen in the fi­nal are price­less. For a short time each year those coun­ties are united, as every­one shares a com­mon goal.

For Water­ford it may have ended in tears, but that didn’t stop the fans turn­ing out in their thou­sands to wel­come their team back across the River Suir. It was their way of say­ing thank you to th­ese sports­men who have given them the bones of a decade at the pin­na­cle of the game. But Ir­ish fans have im­pres­sive form when it comes to show­ing their ap­pre­ci­a­tion. The more cyn­i­cal will crit­i­cise and say turn­ing up to say thanks for a job not fully done is merely re­ward­ing me­di­ocrity. That is miss­ing the point. All Ir­ish fans want to see are their sport­ing he­roes giv­ing it their best shot. The hun­dreds of thou­sands of fans that turned out to wel­come Jack Charl­ton and the boys home from Italia 90, even though they hadn’t ac­tu­ally won a game, de­fines their cal­i­bre.

Come next Septem­ber, it is highly likely that Kilkenny will reach the hurl­ing sum­mit once again but for the right to be their

AND so the bad weather sto­ries rum­ble on. With the Gov­ern­ment be­ing asked to up the fuel al­lowance for the el­derly, which is a com­pletely fair re­quest, an­other ar­gu­ment has arisen; should they be given the fuel al­lowance all-year round? Of course they should.

With sum­mer in Ire­land gone the way of mo­torists’ man­ners, the el­derly need to be looked af­ter even more care­fully. If ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 deaths each year can be avoided by giv­ing peo­ple an ex­tra bag or two of coal, then do it.

One thing Ire­land is not is a poor coun­try, and deaths of this kind should sim­ply not be hap­pen­ing.

BRIT­NEY’S BACK

GOOD to see Brit­ney back looking her best af­ter the rough and tum­ble few years she’s had. Just imag­ine if you had a mother who was will­ing to pub­lish all the mis­ad­ven­tures you had dur­ing your teenage years so that she could make a few bob of your name.

But then maybe if peo­ple re­fused to buy the book then she mightn’t make any money at all. And leave the lovely Brit­ney to do what she does best.

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