Victor ‘Mature’

Apparently yesterday’s spectacle at Croke Park was an indication that Ireland had grown up as a nation. The word was ‘mature’, like cheese. Whereas until yesterday a pubescent and acne’d Ireland had been far too snotty and resentful of its neighbour and former occupier, an adult Ireland emerged yesterday evening, all hairy-chested and broad-shouldered, and all right-thinking people were satisfied that it had finally reached maturity, as it stood in respectful silence to God Save The Queen.

Ireland, apparently, is the people who stood yesterday at Croke Park cheering on the team in green. These people are the nation, and under no circumstances should they be mistaken for the ruling classes.

For all the pre-match talk of the possibility of foul irruptions from anti-English troglodytes, it emerged that few, if any such creatures had bothered making any attempt to buy a ticket for the rugby match. Many people thought that the fact England was playing at Croke Park would be enough in itself for these antidiluvian rapscallions to shell out a pile of cash for a ticket for a sport in which they had no interest, then set aside their Saturday evenings in order to go and be offended by God Save The Queen. Or, in what would have been an equally unwelcome event, some lifelong attendees of rugby matches at Lansdowne Road, 4×4 drivers to a man, might have succumbed to the temptation to go native from the heights of the Cusack Stand, and started roaring beastly insults as soon as the band struck up Her Majesty’s Anthem. In the end, no such embarrassment occurred, perhaps in part a tribute to the money spent on policing the event in such a way that the barbarians were kept well outside the gates.

Bobby Conn – You’ve Come A Long Way

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