Tuesday 6 December 2016

McGregor fulfills the pathetic need we have to follow a hero... any hero

Why have we become so excited about one of our own inflicting savage mindless violence, asks Willie Kealy

Published 19/07/2015 | 02:30

conor McGregor and Dee Devlin
conor McGregor and Dee Devlin
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Everyone loves a winner. And we love an Irish winner more than most. It's as if we need the success of the few to validate ourselves; whether it's the soccer team in Italia 90 or Johnny Logan winning Eurovision, we are not especially fussy, so long as we can bask in the reflected glory.

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We get very jealous of our winners, especially if someone else - i.e. the British - tries to claim them. And look how worked up we got when Rory McIlroy struggled with his national identity - was he Irish, was he British or was he Northern Irish?

Last weekend, we celebrated once again, this time because Conor McGregor beat a last-minute substitute opponent in a mixed martial arts fight in Las Vegas. This sort of savagery, in which two men basically punch and kick and wrestle each other into submission, leaving the ring a pool of blood, is not what most Irish people would normally call sport.

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