Wednesday 24 August 2016

Cormac Byrne: Why do we need the Guardian’s validation?

Published 03/10/2013 | 13:34

Clare's Shane O'Donnell in action against Cork's Shane O'Neill on the All-Ireland final
Clare's Shane O'Donnell in action against Cork's Shane O'Neill on the All-Ireland final

SO the Guardian thinks hurling is great and Premier League footballers are a bunch of injury-feigning prima donnas... well duh! But why do we delight in their approval?

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Twitter is buzzing with the news that the revered British publication has chosen to praise our humble game in an editorial, and we are chuffed but are we in need of such validation?

The English have condescended to praise our “ancient” game and rightly so. Tell us something we don’t know.

I’m delighted that the editorial highlights that hurling is reaching across borders and inspiring those of non-Irish descent and the fact that the profile of our national game is growing.

It’s growing because feats of human endeavour and endurance that were exemplified in last Saturday’s sporting theatre at Croke Park can’t be ignored.

The skill that the likes of Tony Kelly and Patrick Horgan encapsulate deserve global acclaim and should be held against the exploits of Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafa Nadal and co but instead the Guardian has chosen to contrast hurling with Torres scratching Jan Vertonghen’s face last weekend.

That grown men wielding sticks and flashing a ball made of cork and leather around with abandon and spirit have more sportsmanship than those playing the ‘Beautiful Game’ is not a comparison worth making.

Hurlers do not seek adulation, they do not play to the crowd, they do not go down when grazed by a passing player and they don’t try to get opposition players sent-off.

If you’re going to compare the games compare Shefflin with Cruyff, Keher with Pele or Ring with Beckenbauer, don’t compare hurlers to divers or face-slappers, even if your purpose is to highlight how ridiculous soccer has become... just don’t.

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