When I am at a loss to describe something related to sport -- or even something that is unrelated to sport -- I sometimes imagine what the late Con Houlihan would have said about it.
About the profoundly sad story of the Spence family, and of Nevin Spence the rugby player in particular, I think Con would ultimately have felt that he had lost a kindred spirit -- "A decent man," he'd have said. "A farmer like myself."
Much of the human race would be simply speechless, and rightly so, in the face of this event, and yet there is still a need to say something, to do something. Which is what Ian Buckley did.
Buckley, secretary of the Munster Rugby Supporters' Club (MRSC), wrote on its Twitter and Facebook sites that there would be a minute's silence for the Spences before the Munster match against the Dragons at Thomond Park, and that after, fans were invited to join in a chorus of: 'Stand Up for the Ulstermen'.
Supporters also sang the song before the Leinster v Edinburgh game. The tune and some of the words are not unique to the Ulstermen. 'Stand Up for the Ulstermen' becomes 'One-Nil to the Arsenal' at the Emirates Stadium, or 'Stand Up for the Champions' at Old Trafford, or 'Go West Bromwich Albion' at the Hawthorns -- probably the smartest version, as the tune is that of Go West by the Village People. Maybe you know it now.
Nevin Spence was also a football man who had played for the Northern Ireland U-16 schools side, and might well have known it first as a football song rather than the anthem of the Ulstermen.
So, Buckley's suggestion for the Thomond Park game was something anyone could sing.
'Stand Up for the Ulstermen' -- in fairness, the Ulstermen had been standing up for a long time at Lansdowne Road, listening to our anthem.
Not being partial to rugby myself, I can still marvel at those men of the North, some of whom were implacably opposed to almost everything that this republic represented -- wearing the green shirt as they watched the tricolour fluttering in the breeze, listening to 'Amhran na bhFiann' without flinching, anxious only that these Gaelic festivities were keeping them from the game during which they would ideally be kicking lumps out of some English chap.
That would be the English who, completely bizarrely, were the only team from these islands to ignore threats from the IRA and to turn up for the game against Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 1973.
No doubt the men of Ulster in the green shirts responded on the day to that grand gesture by giving their fellow royalists a particularly good kicking. Like Con Houlihan playing rugby in his bare feet, there is a sort of a high and deeply admirable eccentricity at work there, that transcends all other considerations. Stand up for the Ulstermen indeed.
Respect to Ian Buckley too, whose idea was not just something that was well intentioned, it was something doable. But the main thing is that it was something. Just something.