Sport squeezes out bread and butter stuff
What a uniquely mighty and unique small island we are! As I write, and ye read, as the global year turns on its mysterious axis, let’s celebrate that global reality ourselves in our own way. Just like our boxer Katie Taylor proved conclusively in England over last weekend, we don’t truly often celebrate enough how dramatically stylishly we punch above our weight on all the mortal scales by which the nations of the world are judged.
That, with joy and gut satisfaction, is again the purest of truths.
As a small island on the edge of Europe, we should not matter at all on the world scale but, instead, thank Heaven, we are away up there at the top of the tree of satisfaction nationally and indeed globally.
Against that reality, there is no argument that makes any sense at all.
Europe, and especially our nearest neighbours across the Irish Sea, are out of their minds about something called Brexit, which, clearly enough, has economic and social implications for all concerned. The other world is in chaos over Brexit but, here on this special island, we are far more concerned about whether Galway or Clare qualify in their epic hurling semi-final replay, come Sunday, and many of us are concurrently delighted (and surprised, indeed) that Limerick’s hurlers, coming from behind all the way, defeated Cork to book their place in the big Croke Park final of the autumn.
Stuff that is far more viscerally crucial for many of us than the bread and butter issues connected with Brexit’s possible economic consequences.
Let’s face it, we we have been dealing with resilience and fortitude with such issues down all the centuries, when we were dominated and controlled and, indeed, pillaged by our more powerful neighbours, upon whose empire, it was claimed, the sun never set.
To further clarify the situation, I state here and now that I have no blood or genetic connection with any of the three competing hurling counties, except through my adult children, born in Galway to a Clare mother, God rest her now.
Daughter Ciara, based in Ballycotton, clad her dog, Maisie, in a maroon Galway jersey during the recent clashes, and has since been under fire strongly from the rest of her clan who are still based in Connemara and Switzerland but who, for whatever reason beyond my ken, are more inclined to back the county of their late, dear, mother than their current geography. I will sort out the inevitable strains in due time.
For what is is worth, I suspect I will be comforting Ciara and Jason rather than the lads in Connemara and Zurich, when the last sliotar has been struck in the ongoing hurling dramas.
But let us all celebrate, as August arrives with all its attractions across the world of sport, that we own for ourselves the best and most thrillingly and skillfully attractive contact ball code in the world — the game of hurling.
I will not stray too far into the realm of my sports colleagues but, beyond doubt, the hurling semi-finals last weekend were epic demonstrations of the code. Even seasoned experts were left breathless, and that speaks for itself. Magnificent sport at the highest level. Up there, in an amateur code, it is a real pity there are alleged losers, when the last whistle blasts. In real terms, for most of us followers, there are no losers at all. Another pure truth after all the thrills. The best is yet to come, and that is brilliant.
For what it is worth, my personal opinion is that Clare will go all the way to Liam McCarthy this season.
Robbie O’Flynn of Cork tackled by Seán Finn of Limerick in the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final at Croke Park.