Well-versed and cursed

Sunday Mirror - - FOWLER ROBBIE -

FEW would as­so­ciate North­ern Ir­ish fury over their re­cent 1-0 de­feat in a World Cup play-off first leg with a Ro­man poet from 2,000 years ago.

But the ref­eree, who wrongly awarded the con­tentious penalty against Corry Evans (right), was named Ovidiu Ha­gan. His first name is de­rived from the Latin poet Ovid, ex­iled by the Em­peror Au­gus­tus to Tomis – the mod­ern-day Con­stanza – in Ro­ma­nia.

This cu­ri­ous fact prob­a­bly had lit­tle bear­ing on Corry’s ag­grieved wife Lisa, who, af­ter the er­ro­neous de­ci­sion, called Mr Ha­gan a “Ro­ma­nian gypsy c***”. Corry has since apol­o­gised, on his wife’s be­half, for tweet­ing “com­ments pub­lished in the heat of the mo­ment”. Let’s hope Mrs Evans may be a lit­tle more cir­cum­spect if this evening’s ref has a name de­rived from, say, Cat­ul­lus or Vir­gil. Wouldn’t it be po­etic justice if he were and had an equally

de­ci­sive role – but this time in North­ern Ire­land’s favour against Switzer­land?

The Repub­lic will hope to be sim­i­larly blessed on Tues­day night.

Then nor­mal TV ser­vice will be re­sumed on Satur­day for those of us champ­ing at the bit for the sheer fre­neti­cism of a Premier League pro­gramme – start­ing with a very tasty North Lon­don lunchtime derby.

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