THE bravura performance of the Irish rugby world cup squad has restored no small measure of pride to our bruised and battered national consiousness. Ireland continued and accelerated their momentum last Sunday in a powerhouse encounter against the Italians.
One of the most notable aspects of the game was the large contingent of Irish fans present. To raise the roof with The Fields of Athenry in a stadium in New Zealand is no small thing. On perhaps a more emotive note, it has been much commented on that a large number of these supporters are young emigrants, whose native country can no longer provide for them.
While this may well be the case, what is blindingly apparent is the huge joy these supporters take in their national team. Even if they many of them are economic exiles, the devotion and good cheer in national success survives.
It denotes once again the galvanising and positive effect of sport. Occasions like this have never been more important to us. We are a huge sporting nation, and in terms of our population and size, have frequently punched well above our weight on the international stage.
And now its on to Wellington and what is likely to be a showstopper against Wales. Let’s hope for a few more early mornings.