independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

'Joy of sport

• Reading of Niall Quinn's participation in a football match in Castlerea Prison yesterday reminded me of an unusual fixture that I participated in over a decade ago. I played for a team called Mendel, made up of a combination of scientists, a couple of medics and the occasional barman from the nearby Lincoln Inn, which competed in the Trinity Mega League.

A chance meeting between the college chaplain and his counterpart in Mountjoy Prison led to a fixture being set up in the 'Joy. As we togged out in the chapel of the prison, we discovered that the match would be played outdoors on tarmac, in front of the inmates. A number of the younger members of our team who might not have been used to the rough and tumble of football matches on such a surface paled visibly, but us elder lemons said we would do the hard tackling.

However, our callow young students were completely thrown by the mind games of the local chaplain, who chimed in with the following contribution that has stayed with me long after other matches have faded from the memory. "You might think you're good, but our lads are unbeaten at home," he said, followed by the killer line "and they don't get to play away that much!"

However, even though their chaplain had clearly won the psychological battle, the Lord was not on his side, as a flash thunderstorm flooded the venue and we avoided the prospect of a humiliating (and probably painful) defeat. Pity – sticking the ball in the back of the net in the 'Joy would have been some story to embellish with my friends.

M Lawler
Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Irish Independent

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