Saturday 16 December 2017

Did O'Duffy set sport in motion?

Madam -- I refer to a very interesting article 'Glory days of a true Olympian' (Sunday Independent, July 15, 2012). There is an accompanying picture of a dapper General Eoin O'Duffy congratulating Denis Cussen on his record 100-yard dash in Croke Park in 1928.

General O'Duffy has an unenviable place in history as a promulgator of facism. A provocative parade of his Blueshirts in Kells was routed by a rabble of De Valera's Fianna Fail sycophants, resulting in injuries and social cataclysm. In my youth, the story of the encounter put Brian Boru's victory at Clontarf in the shade!

The General's concern to promote athleticism is well-known. Two friends of mine, long deceased, were exceptional athletes, one was an All-Ireland champion handballer, the other a permanent player on the Meath Senior Gaelic football team. Both were invited by the General to join An Garda Siochana. Neither took up the offer because their friends and relations advised them that there were serious risks and perils involved.

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