Saturday 16 December 2017

Off The Ball: Bitterness of online trolls hard to take after Irish loss

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip reacts after losing to Argentina
Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip reacts after losing to Argentina

Michael McCarthy

Sunday afternoon wasn't a pleasant one. We were emotional, we were wounded, we were raw.

What better time for the internet trolls to stir the pot and get everyone arguing about something other than the game?

I've written before about the petty jealously that exists between fans of different sports in Ireland. As someone who supports teams rather than codes, I have to say I found it baffling when Twitter exploded in vitriol and a certain smug delight when Ireland lost.

If you don't like rugby, I understand. Don't watch it. I'm not sure why every time there's a game on, you feel forced to comment on something other people are enjoying. Why does its popularity annoy you so much?


This isn't a defence of rugby over soccer. It works across the board. "We don't want to become soccer" is a familiar mantra in rugby and GAA. Getting a dig in at soccer is a perfect way to talk down about your own sport. What's the point?

"The Irish football team - why can't they be more like the rugby players?" is another regular one. Needlessly comparing apples and oranges.

That some of the points being made on Sunday are quite valid isn't the point. Yes, the rugby team get a relatively easy ride in the press, compared to the footballers. There's plenty of ways to look at this.

Are journalists too close to the players? Maybe. Are the same journalists less sensationalist? Maybe.

There's been plenty of talking heads over the years who are only too keen to cut down Irish rugby. They get plenty of air time. We don't need the Twitter Mafia to tell journalists what to write.

We certainly don't need to make this the narrative straight after a loss. It's bringing yourself into a conversation that's nothing to do with you.

Nobody is forcing you to watch. Nobody is forcing you to care. There's no need to attack those of us who do. It's just sport. Let it go.

Indo Sport

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