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Grand Slam won on school playing fields


I COULD not agree more with Sean Diffley's view (Irish Independent, January 30) regarding the schools rugby game in Ireland.

Schools rugby is the single most consequential reason why Ireland is currently the second strongest (and counting) rugby nation on earth after New Zealand.

As Mr Diffley astutely points out, more adults play rugby in Greater Manchester than on the whole island of Ireland. Yet Ireland can achieve internationally because the unrivalled nurseries that are the rugby schools continue to make so much out of our relatively minuscule playing pool.

The necessarily exalted status of schools cup rugby has been, through the years, on the receiving end of begrudgery, ignorance and jealousy. Yet, this has never shaken it. The desire of so many boys attending rugby schools to play for their school in the provincial cups only grows every year.

Their passion has been matched and stoked by their teacher-coaches, parents and, most crucially, by the religious orders who have built the schools game into the indispensable force that it is today.

Irish rugby should never forget where the golden eggs are laid, and bear in mind that if schools cup rugby declines, Irish rugby would soon follow.

John B Reid
Dun Laoghaire

YOUR readers at home and overseas look forward to the Six Nations tournament.

Those who have read articles about Declan Kidney and Brian O'Driscoll realise that these men wish to achieve more. Deccie highlighted the fact that our support would be vital to the continued success of the Irish team.

Here's a thought. The legend of Cuchulainn holds huge significance for all Irish people.

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When the Irish players take the pitch, I wonder what effect being met by shouts of "Cuchulainn, Cuchulainn, Cuchulainn. . ." would have on them.

Would that constitute the support Deccie has asked of us? Would it be a good way to voice our appreciation, respect and gratitude?

Supporters may be nervous to be the first to chant "Cuchulainn", but they will share that feeling with those of the 15 Irishmen as they emerge from the tunnel to put their bodies on the line.

Conor Geraghty

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