Monday 20 October 2014

Response to vandalism of Liam Whelan Bridge gives us hope

Donny Mahoney

Published 16/04/2014 | 02:30

The Liam Whelan Bridge adorned with jerseys today
Fans hold up scarves during a memorial service to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples   (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER ANNIVERSARY DISASTER)
Fans hold up scarves during a memorial service to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster at Anfield in Liverpool
The graffiti that defaced the Liam Whelan bridge in Dublin was quickly replaced with football jerseys

Two incidents this week, roughly 24 hours apart, captured the power of sport to inspire profound feelings and offensive idiocy in mankind. Both were related to Liverpool FC.

For 60 seconds, starting at 13.36 on Sunday, 45,522 people in the stands at Anfield said nothing and remembered the 96 people who lost their lives while attending an FA Cup semi-final 25 years ago. There was something raw and magisterial in that silence which made the howls of joy that would accompany the full-time whistle sounder even louder.

And then hours later, someone, presumably a Dubliner, felt entitled to march onto the Liam Whelan bridge in Phibsboro, named for the Busby Babe from Cabra who died in the Munich Air Disaster, the legend of Irish football who scored 52 goals for Manchester United before his 23rd birthday, and deface it with moronic graffiti which read 'Munich Bastard LFC'.

It is a great, and perhaps depressing, aspect of sport that it inspires such volatile emotions in those who love it.

That the graffiti on Liam Whelan bridge was quickly painted over by Bohemians supporters, and on Tuesday covered in football jerseys, give one hope that sport is ultimately a force that unites us.

Irish Independent

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