Tuesday 12 December 2017

McGregor fulfills the pathetic need we have to follow a hero... any hero

Why have we become so excited about one of our own inflicting savage mindless violence, asks Willie Kealy

conor McGregor and Dee Devlin
conor McGregor and Dee Devlin
ICON: Muhammad Ali had an appeal beyond boxing
Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

Everyone loves a winner. And we love an Irish winner more than most. It's as if we need the success of the few to validate ourselves; whether it's the soccer team in Italia 90 or Johnny Logan winning Eurovision, we are not especially fussy, so long as we can bask in the reflected glory.

We get very jealous of our winners, especially if someone else - i.e. the British - tries to claim them. And look how worked up we got when Rory McIlroy struggled with his national identity - was he Irish, was he British or was he Northern Irish?

Last weekend, we celebrated once again, this time because Conor McGregor beat a last-minute substitute opponent in a mixed martial arts fight in Las Vegas. This sort of savagery, in which two men basically punch and kick and wrestle each other into submission, leaving the ring a pool of blood, is not what most Irish people would normally call sport.

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