Let's applaud Rory for being honest
I would like to congratulate Dion Fanning [Jan 6] on having the guts to print what the vast majority of our people are afraid to admit. I recall during the summer when the English media was derided for mistakenly claiming Katie Taylor as British.
I, as a proud Irish golfer and football fan, find the way that Rory McIlroy is being treated as laughable. The list of British football players who changed allegiance because they felt more Irish is a long one. Also the recent trend of Northern footballers declaring for the south is growing every year. Yet, and rightly so, nobody seems to have a problem cheering these guys on.
Perhaps we need to take a little of the rough with the smooth and applaud this young man for having the conviction for stating what he believes and just sit back and enjoy watching his genius unfold.
If only the majority of the media were not wrapped up in the sensational angle and viewed the situation logically as Dion Fanning has done we could begin to bury the bigotry and move on.
Name and address with editor
North should go it alone in Olympics
I read three different and interesting pieces in the Sunday Independent [Jan 6] on Rory McIlroy's problems with the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Fortunately, the world's No 1 golfer from Holywood, Co Down is not short of advice. He will be reassured to know from Tommy Conlon that the question of national identity is a trivial matter (a message unlikely to fall on receptive ears at this moment in Belfast). Should he raise the white flag as an individual competitor? A 'no-brainer' in the words of Fergus McDonnell, citing compelling analogies from the Netherland Antilles and South Sudan. Or might he represent Britain? Or Ireland? Or not compete at all? Let him follow his own heart, as Dion Fanning suggests, in an open-minded and dispassionate piece.
It is not Rory McIlroy's problem and it is deeply unreasonable for anyone to expect him to resolve it at the same time as winning Major championships by a mere eight shots or so. The British partitioned Ireland in 1921 and thus consolidated differences of national identity. It is their problem (studiously ignored by them whilst cheering on Team GB to success in London). And there is a simple solution to hand. Rory McIlroy himself prefers to represent Northern Ireland (as did George Best in his day). The six counties would certainly be able to put out a strong golf team with their triple array of Major golf champions (unmatched by the English). Their three rowing Olympic medalists from the Bann Rowing Club, Coleraine, were submerged in British success at Eton Dorney.
So, as in the Commonwealth Games, let England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales compete independently of the British juggernaut. There were, after all, much smaller nations than these competing in the London Olympics. And let us leave the problems of national identity to the British politicians who produced it in the first place. It is time for them to sort it out so that we can all live on this beautiful island with its wonderful golf courses from Portrush to Portmarnock to Kenmare in a spirit of friendship, peace and co-operation.
From League of Ireland to the NFL
Further to last week's piece in From the Stands about players from other codes playing NFL, there is at least one ex-League of Ireland player who played American football. Cornelius O'Donoghue played for Drumcondra, Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne in the 1970s. He was known as 'Con' here but in American they called him 'Neil' and he played with Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St Louis Cardinals. He is featured in Seán Fitzpatrick's recent book Shelbourne Cult Heroes and Fitzpatrick says that O'Donoghue would have played alongside OJ Simpson at the Bills.
Don't forget Con's successful switch
I enjoyed From the Stands but it omitted one serious success story. Con O'Donoghue from Clondalkin played League of Ireland soccer for Shamrock Rovers in the late 1960s and went to the USA to play American football as a kicker and became a big success playing for the St Louis Cardinals. He still lives there.
Spelling out the truth about Sam
The Sam Maguire Cup in place at present is supposed to be an exact replica of the previous cup. However, it is not as the word 'chorn' is on the new cup and 'corn', with a séimhiú, is on the old one.