Sunday 17 December 2017

Kevin Myers: Hurrah for Henry -- he has spared us a double dose of southern hemisphere humiliation

Kevin Myers

YES, indeed, the Irish rugby tour in the Southern Hemisphere is going rather like Paraguay's armed attack on Texas. But only the visionary generosity of Thierry Henry's hand has prevented a far worse catastrophe: of our having to endure, alternately, both rugby and soccer news from the southern hemisphere, as the shallows of our sporting talent were ruthlessly plumbed -- by the Maoris one day, the Uruguayans the next, the Mexicans on another day, and one-legged Aborigines the day afterwards.

Now, we all know that Ronan O'Gara can't tackle. If you play him at out-half away to teams like France or New Zealand, his selection is more probably for reasons of squad-politics or some strange subconscious renal urges than for a desire to win. When this column criticised his selection after the French debacle, he wrote a letter of complaint to this newspaper. This triggered off an internet storm of the usual infantile vapidity.

Irish soccer has its own Ronan O'Gara, by the name of Robbie Keane: spot-on at the spot-kicks, and quite outstanding in the Sunday morning pub-league. Put Mr Keane up against The Red Lion, Crewe, or The Palsied Bishop, Lincoln, and he will score goals galore, followed by some neat forward-rolls in celebration. But put him up against a well-drilled defence, and he will wander round, baffled, like David Norris at an orgy of Catholic lesbian nuns.

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