Monday 27 February 2017

Have your say

Let's keep politics out of Irish sport

Ireland's marvellous World Cup Italia '90 odyssey was tainted by the appearance of a small man who saw himself as our leader. Charlie Haughey robbed a precious moment from those of us who love sport.

Stephen Roche's historic Tour de France was thieved by the same little man. An opportunist who foisted his grand opinion of himself on to the cameras of the watching world.

So I waited with bated breath to see who from the political arena would crawl into the sunshine and get reflected heat from Ireland's magnificent win over Australia. Unwittingly, it was a descendant of the diaspora we pay false homage to who pulled the pin.

Tim Horan, the name could not be more Irish, opined that perhaps Ireland may have resorted to some dark arts with their victory over Tim's new land. Instead of clapping ourselves on the back quietly and revelling in what from Tim was actual praise and a welcome to the real world of sport, a few took umbrage and insult.

Enda Kenny used the rugby team as a parable to show the nation's stomach for a fight and our love of the underdog title. The nation, he inferred, was like the rugby team; fighting great odds was Enda's take on it.

Stop there. The Irish rugby team is managed by a man who knows what he is doing. A man who achieved great success in Europe at club level and a Grand Slam at international level. Declan Kidney's an unassuming man who sets out a plan, follows it and achieves something from that plan. In doing so he surrounds himself with leaders and players who follow that plan. Our politicians are polar opposites.

Sports men perform on the altar of the public eye. Their boasts, brags and aspirations can be reduced to a pile of ashes in a second and the opprobrium and mockery will follow them to their grave. Politicians promise a lot but deliver little.

A poor manager or a poorly performing player will be sacked or dropped. A poor politician will limp on until he draws the wad he feels he has earned from the natives. He will then take his seat on the big sporting occasion with similar cronies who did the state some service. Shame or embarrassment would never enter their heads as their arses fill the soft seats.

So please, keep politics out of sport and leave the tattered remains of our enjoyment to ourselves. Monday mornings come around too quick and the disasters created by inept politicos will be aired for one and all to cry about.

John Cuffe

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