Have your say
Who will pay for Shortall shortfall?
It's a noble cause, isn't it? This moral crusade to ban the sponsorship of sporting events by alcohol companies.
How magnanimous of our betters to, once more, mount their lofty steeds and charge fearlessly into battle, on behalf of all of us dim-witted sports fans who, to paraphrase The Great Fawlty, can't tell the difference between a bordeaux and a claret.
Sports sponsorship is a complicated issue, Minister Reilly says so repeatedly, as he puts another cushion on the fence. Do you know, he's not wrong, though? I'm here to tell you it's a really difficult concept to get your head around when you're just plain, ordinary folk, like little old me. Why, only yesterday as the great yellow thingy appeared in the sky and me got thirsty, I was tearing my hair out in confusion as to whether to have a single glass of milk, as sponsored by Paul O'Connell via the NDC or a bottle of Heineken (who sponsor a competition that he plays in).
Luckily, I was able to defer to the wisdom of another great man. Someone whom I believe to be an inspiration of this campaign, a man who long ago demanded that we all "stay classy". Yup, in the immortal words of Will Ferrell's Anchorman, "milk was a bad choice!"
Not that I like to boast but I manage to make this sort of decision all the time. It's not that I have any great intelligence, I'm given to understand. No, it's more of a native cunning, so often found in the aboriginal Irishman such as myself. For example, as my children stare down the barrel of emigration, I have no idea whether to buy them one-way tickets with City's sponsors, Etihad, or Arsenal's sponsors, Emirates. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, why hasn't anybody bought the film rights to this great dilemma. Forget Sophie, we could call it Paddy's Choice. Rizzo the Rat from The Muppets could play me, whilst the brainbox Carol Vorderman is an obvious choice to play the crusading Róisín Shortall.
In the dénoument, I could decide to keep the kids here and raise them as alcoholic sportsmen, just before the heroic Róisín steps in and saves me from myself. Minister Reilly could tut-tut in a closing scene reminiscent of Citizen Kane's Rosebud moment. We could even premiere at the Quorn and Dried Muesli Dublin Film Festival!
Sorry, am I getting carried away again? I do that you see.
You'll be kind enough to forgive me? You see, I'm a bit thick, really. I'm just a sports fan. Everybody knows that we can't tell the difference between advertising and instruction, let alone reality and fantasy.
So God bless you Róisín Shortall for seeking to ban alcohol sponsorship of sport! Truly, your campaign shall be recorded as a triumph of selfless heroism over selfish hedonism! And not just some silly season attention-seeking, as a variety of sporting organisations have suggested.
How dare those involved in sport object? What do those who give up several hours a week for ten months of the year to coach our nation's children for nothing more than the love of doing it know about this? What sort of sick politicians would allow such contemptibles to have a say in our society? No, you keep them at arm's length and Minister Reilly, you remain stoically inscrutable on the matter (mind the splinters).
Róisín, oh Róisín, may you continue to intercede on behalf of all those of us who are so stupid that we couldn't organise a knees up at an Ard Fheis. Oh, and that reminds me: when next the lads and lassies are a bit squiffy at the Dáil Bar, it night be a good time to hit them up for the €30m shortfall in revenue that your selfless heroism would leave in Irish sport.
Allow Trapattoni to get on with it
As very much a non-drinker, it doesn't bother me one way or the other that drinks companies want to finance our sporting occasions. But then I come from a house whose father spent a lot of time with three others trying to set up 'The Carrolls All Stars' which worked great only to see it all pulled down by the 'do-gooders'. I don't smoke either, I'm a real bore, but I've been involved in sport all my life and I don't think the drink or smoking has had SFA to do with it.
But that wasn't really what I wanted to get off my chest. We should have all known what Trapattoni was about long before we placed him in charge of our national team, so why are we now complaining about the way he runs the team? I think we should all just let him get on with it and if at the end of his contract we are not happy then look for somebody else but don't do an Eamon Dunphy and be an endless hurler on the ditch.