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When the great communal gatherings of sporting life begin to reassemble, we will know that the healing has begun

Tommy Conlon



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Photo: Ramsey Cardy

Photo: Ramsey Cardy

SPORTSFILE

Photo: Ramsey Cardy

Greetings from the deserted circus, we trust that you still have some bread. Indeed one hopes that we will always have a crust to eat for sustenance and comfort. As long as there's a loaf on the table and a drop of tea in your cup, all is not lost. Things would be a whole lot worse if there were plenty of circuses and no bread. So, for now, the great global carnival that is organised sport has abandoned ship and left it floating unmoored in its own infinite silence, like the Mary Celeste.

Which therefore begs a question for those of us labouring in the sawdust of this particular circus floor: why would you have sports pages at all, when things are falling apart and mere anarchy is being loosed upon the world.

Yes, we are reaching again for that old standby line from Mr Yeats, those doom-laden words that can be quoted on barstools by fellas who can barely remember their own name. But, pondering this question brought us back to another poem from his visionary canon that haunted our Leaving Cert days. Its title alone triggered a connection: 'The Circus Animals' Desertion'. "I sought a theme and sought for it in vain," is its opening line.