Real sport loses out as Ve­gas farce steals head­lines

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE -

DUBLIN’S quest to touch upon true great­ness and take a vi­tally im­por­tant step to­wards a his­toric three All-Ire­land foot­ball ti­tles in-a-row should have been the sin­gle great­est sports story oc­cu­py­ing our minds for the last few days. Cer­tainly it’s a real story, and one that we can be­lieve in – and a story that did not need man­u­fac­tur­ing or a blitzkrieg of hype, like the busi­ness in the TMo­bile Arena in Las Ve­gas last night, in or­der to en­sure that it was fully no­ticed.

There is a view among some sports fans that Conor McGre­gor’s fight with Floyd May­weather in to­day’s early hours was a cir­cus, plain and sim­ple.

Ther is a view that the hun­dreds of mil­lions of eu­ros and dol­lars spent at­tend­ing and view­ing the spec­ta­cle were sucked out of the pock­ets of fans by busi­ness peo­ple far more adept at three-card tricks than the stag­ing of sport­ing events that de­servedly take their place amongst the great­est of per­for­mances in his­tory.

What we got in the T-Mo­bile Arena was wall-to-wall show­biz.

This af­ter­noon in Croke Park, as Jim Gavin’s men set about break­ing down the bril­liant de­fen­sive walls erected by Mickey Harte’s Ty­rone, we will see hon­esty at work. We’ll see two teams that can not be doubted, what­ever the re­sult.

At the end, same as at the be­gin­ning of the game, there will be no sec­ond-guess­ing the merit of ei­ther team — or any ques­tion­ing of ei­ther their wor­thi­ness or in­ten­tions. Croke Park is in­deed far, far re­moved from the T-Mo­bile Arena, but to­day (as it was yes­ter­day) it will be a place where real sport­ing he­roes will put on a bril­liant day’s en­ter­tain­ment, not for money, but glory. Only glory. Dublin, of course, have it all to lose. They are the great­est foot­ball team of the last decade, and win­ning against Ty­rone, and mak­ing it a hat-trick of All-Ire­land ti­tles next month, will fur­ther strengthen their stand­ing and make them one of the great­est teams of the modern era. Maybe even the great­est.

In a box­ing ring, the last man who could carry the la­bel of the ‘The Great­est’ with­out fear of any­one dout­ing him or his fight­ing record was the late Muham­mad Ali. There have been none since. In the T-Mo­bile Arena this morn­ing the over­hwelm­ing im­pres­sion, re­gard­less of what took place in the ring, was of a man­u­fac­tured event de­signed to gen­er­ate a record sum of money for one night’s work.

SHOW­BIZ: Conor McGre­gor (right)

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