Monday 20 November 2017

Petty point-scoring in the North must be replaced by generosity

Andrew Trimble dives in to score Ireland’s second try during the Six Nations match at the Stade de France
Andrew Trimble dives in to score Ireland’s second try during the Six Nations match at the Stade de France
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

WATCHING Andrew Trimble weave his magic with the Irish team last weekend in Paris, I marvelled that our rugby team is an unquestioned all-Ireland fact. With four Ulstermen in the national squad, the Six Nations triumph was a day of joy and pride for the whole island, in all our diversity. It's rare to be united as a people in a shared all-Ireland endeavour.

It may be a quirk of history that the IRFU has represented the whole island since 1879, despite partition and the emergence of two distinct jurisdictions. But even in the 'troubles'-related cold war, rugby was an exception.

I remember Ken Maginnis MP and other unionist politicians happily travelling to Dublin for rugby internationals. All tribal instincts and prejudices were set aside, just for the day. To their credit, even at the height of the conflict, Ulster men and women came south for the game and a tension-free weekend.

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