Sunday 17 December 2017

Laptop reboot proves win-win for Connacht

Robbie Henshaw's stolen lapton was retrieved by his Connacht team mates. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Robbie Henshaw's stolen lapton was retrieved by his Connacht team mates. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Eamonn Sweeney

Did the Connacht rugby players do anything wrong in going off en masse to retrieve Robbie Henshaw’s laptop?

Let’s look at it this way. Did they get the laptop back? Yes. Was anyone hurt? No. So mission accomplished and a good day’s work done. They had to make a quick decision and they got it right. It would be hypocritical to pretend that most of us wouldn’t have acted in the same fashion or at least wanted to.

Being robbed is an awful experience for people not least because of the sense of violation involved. I can remember many moons ago my then girlfriend had her car broken into twice in one week in Dublin.

I happened to be with her on both occasions and can still remember how upset it made her. It’s a lousy thing to happen. The sense of powerlessness is galling.

So I have no sympathy for the guy who found himself face to face with Connacht’s finest on his doorstep. If you’re going to, as he claimed he did, buy goods of dubious provenance you can’t get too upset if the owners of said goods arrive seeking their return. I’m sure that on reflection the man involved will have been delighted to play his part in justice being done.

Some of the wilder macho talk about the incident overlooks one of its salient points, which is that the Connacht players didn’t lay a finger on anyone. They simply turned up, asked for the laptop and got it. It wasn’t a remake of Deathwish. In fact it wasn’t very different from what happened to our Olympic Modern Pentathlete Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe recently. The Dubliner had his phone taken on O’Connell Street but sprinted after the thief and retrieved it.

There are famous stories too about a Cork footballer and a Limerick rugby player, both noted for their extreme ruggedness, who secured the return of stolen cars by the threat of retribution. People find these tales a comfort, I think, because we wish we could all act in the same way.

A couple of decades ago I used my athletic prowess to combat crime. When two guys attempted to rob me on the North Circular Road I ran like the hammers of hell. I hadn’t moved that fast since my BLOE days.

It’s been suggested that the incident is a tribute to the esprit de corps of professional rugby players. But it’s likely that any group of lads working at a job which requires physical strength would have reacted in the same way. It’s also been suggested that public reaction would have been more censorious if GAA rather than rugby players had been involved. I’m not sure about that one either; I think this would have been a popular move with the public no matter who made it.

The lesson for the Connacht rugby players is to be very wary of possible theft. It might, for example, be wise to put a homing device on Robbie Henshaw himself so that if anyone steals him they’ll be able to track down the culprits. Apparently, there’s an address in Dublin 4 which is notorious for this sort of thing.

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