Sunday, 4 September 2011
Let's all grow up and enjoy Gaelic games
OK, they could maybe use a voice coach so the victory speech of the winning captain isn't so squirm-inducing; but that aside, what a game hurling is! What. A. Game. A grown-up kind of game where, judging by Tipperary vs Kilkenny at Croker today, no quarter is given or asked for. And the skill. My God - the skill! There were guys in Croke Park today doing flicks and turns and scores and interceptions that made me wonder if it was actually possible that I'd seen what I'd seen.
A grown-up sport indeed. Which is good, because for a long time the GAA wasn't grown-up. It was an Association that felt itself under siege: rules forbidding certain people playing Gaelic games, other rules forbidding Gaelic games players from playing other games. No more. The GAA is all growed-up. Just as Croke Park has opened its gates to rugby and other sports, so the GAA mentality has broadened, extended its horizons, and the Association is thriving as never before.
Which is why it's a near-sinful shame that over half the population in the North won't watch it, never mind play it. Years ago there was (allegedly) a headline in the VO: "Catholic Dog Wins Greyhound Derby". Today, there are tens of thousands of people shutting their eyes to an exhilarating source of sporting enjoyment because they think of it as a Catholic Game. Oh dear. Time to grow up, guys.