Tuesday 24 October 2017


Rugby hatred not justified

Eamonn Sweeney's article [Dec 15] on the 1981 rugby tour to South Africa was yet another example of the said journalist continually berating and bad-mouthing the sport of rugby.

Rugby indeed has been very much a uniting force during dark times on this island, unlike the GAA or Northern Ireland soccer, both where bigotry was deeply enshrined. Or what about our own apartheid of the sporting variety over many decades which was far more shameful than any daft rugby tour?

Nowhere in his article on Celtic FC did he once mention the racism and naked sectarianism at the core of that club's support.

Rugby folk usually just shrug their shoulders and move on. Perhaps Mr Sweeney do likewise.

John Delaney

Time for IRFU to say sorry . . .

Great article by Eamonn Sweeney on that tour of South Africa. I was wondering when someone would bring it up and now maybe it is time at last that the IRFU says sorry.

Bill Kelly

Time for FAI to say sorry?

In light of Eamonn Sweeney's article ['Answering Apartheid's Call', Dec 15], I wonder is he aware of the Irish Free State soccer team's visit to Bremen to play The Third Reich in May 1939. To use his own logic, and to paraphrase his words, there can be no doubt that the FAI supported National Socialism by despatching a football team to visit Nazi Germany at a time when the regime left nobody in doubt as to their and their leader, Adolf Hitler's, policies.

He questioned whether the IRFU would now offer an apology (presumably to the people of South Africa who suffered under Apartheid). I wonder will the FAI make a similar apology to the Jewish, 'Slavic', Romany, Jehovah's Witnesses, gay, handicapped, political dissenter etc, etc people of Germany and Europe and I wonder if Mr Sweeney will call out the FAI on that.

And I wonder if Mr Sweeney will name the members of the Irish soccer team who played in that game to take a 'belated bow', just as he named the travelling members of the Irish rugby squad to South Africa.

Robert Barrett

Mean-spirited act spoiled day

While watching Leinster v Northampton I witnessed a gentleman seated near me who was vocal in his support for Leinster. No doubt he had a few taken, but to my mind nothing he said was in any way offensive. As a regular attendee at rugby matches I can say that his vociferous support amounted to nothing more than mischievous banter.

Not everyone thought so. A few rows in front of me a gentleman drew the attention of a steward who then proceeded to have the supporter unceremoniously frogmarched from the stadium. This mean-spirited act marred the remainder of day for me.

John Bellew

FRC proposals will hit crowds

The recent proposals of the FRC to potentially free up four weekends for club activity, will in my opinion never get off the ground, for the following reasons.

Firstly, the fact that there would be eight football matches, two in each of the four provinces, played on two successive weekends, would drastically affect attendances, given that many GAA supporters are anxious to attend all championship matches in their own province (Ulster and Connacht never have more than one match over a weekend) and in some cases matches in adjoining provinces.

In this regard, historically, the attendances at provincial championship matches far exceed those attending the qualifiers, the majority of which are played on Saturdays and presently the maximum of football championship matches over any weekend is about three. In the past, very few provincial championship matches have been played on a Saturday, so we are looking at Sunday clashes.

Secondly, live television coverage would be drastically reduced with so many matches taking place over the same weekends and it is difficult to envisage any television stations paying top dollar for delayed coverage or highlights.

Thirdly, the proposals make no provision for replays, even after extra-time, which more than likely would have to be played over some of the four free weekends envisaged for club activity and while such replays might alleviate the problems outlined above, they would impinge on the free weekends for club activity, which from the outset the FRC set out to provide for.

James Healy

Irish Independent

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