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Why on the 24th I will be wearing green.

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Prestwick

Guest
It was 1973 and the British Isles were in turmoil. Bloody Sunday had ignited an already smouldering troubles in Northern Ireland and in Dublin, enraged crowds burnt down the British Embassy.

The situation was tense, frantic diplomacy between London and Dublin was taking place as the political fallout took hold. People on both sides of the Irish sea sat anxious as they thought about the consequences of what was happening in Northern Ireland, and among these people were the ordinary rugby public as what was billed as an exciting Five Nations was about to start.

Then the unexpected happened. The WRU and the SRU announced that their players had received intimidating letters, advising against turning up to play at Lansdowne Road against Ireland, advocating dire consequences if they did have the temerity to do so. With regret, the WRU and SRU pulled out of their matches against Ireland.

The RFU too announced that their players had received threats too, but insisted that their match would go ahead. Surprise and relief gripped European Rugby as it was confirmed: England would play Ireland at Lansdowne Road. England weren't very good, but it was better than nothing.

The English team had nothing but disdain for the absent and Welsh and Scottish teams as they trotted out onto the pitch at Lansdowne that afternoon. Only a world war would stop this international from going ahead.

By the time the final whistle blew, the result was an emphatic Irish victory: 18 - 9 to the emerald isle. However, after coming off, England team captain John Pullin said those words that will go down in Rugby folklore:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE("John Pullin")</div>
"We might not be very good but at least we turned up."[/b]

Nothing more could have healed wounds between the UK and Ireland more than those words. At a time when Ireland's supposed Celtic cousins Wales and Scotland refused to attend matches against Ireland, it took the supposed boogy man, the bad guy, the evil man with the top hat, monocle and moustache who ties virgins to railway tracks to come and give Ireland the respect it deserved on the rugby stage.

Fast forward thirty three years and a completely different Bloody Sunday is remembered, one which emphasised what crazy and desperate days people used to live in and illustrated the obvious follies which people had committed.

And, in two weeks time, at the very place where one of those follies during that dark Sunday took place, England shall trot out once again to give Ireland the respect it deserves on the rugby stage as a deserved member of the Rugby elite.

And I for one, will be wearing a green ribbon on my England shirt to commemorate the efforts of John Pullin and his brave men to heal wounds and build bridges over the divide, that whatever the trauma caused by the misdirection of political and financial greed, xenophobia and religion, that sport can help to change lives and societies for the better.

I have always been disappointed in the GAA's insistence that so called barrack games not be played at Croke Park, it had only served to act as a festering wound, a cause for people to point out the differences between societies and something which could only make people think of the past rather than the future.

Thus, when, on that monumental day in 2005, the GAA voted to drop the rule and allow diveball and Rugby into Croke Park, I was overjoyed because win or lose, the prospect of one of the biggest sports in the world being played in what is the best stadium in Europe (if not the world) was one which was narrowly better than sex.

That is why I look forward to the 24th of February and that is why I will be wearing a green ribbon on my England shirt.
 
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O'Rothlain

Guest
:bravo:
Great article! My hat is off to you, good sir.
istockphoto_512489_hats_off_to_safety.jpg
 
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RoyalBlueStuey

Guest
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Tremendous article. Superbly written.

Check out the PM I just sent ya.
 
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An Tarbh

Guest
great article, a lot of people still bitter about what the Welsh and Scots did, it's funny when people harp on about Ireland not achieving the grand slam since 48 but they always fail to mention 72, when we won in Twickenham and in Stade de Colombes, with the form we'd been showing in those games and even in the Autumn where we stopped the All Blacks getting their grand slam the grand slam was well and truly on, and as has been proven these opportunites don't come around too often for a country of our size and playing base.

You also failed to mention in your article that England got a 10 minute standing ovation when they came onto the pitch that day.
 
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RoyalBlueStuey

Guest
great article, a lot of people still bitter about what the Welsh and Scots did, it's funny when people harp on about Ireland not achieving the grand slam since 48 but they always fail to mention 72, when we won in Twickenham and in Stade de Colombes, with the form we'd been showing in those games and even in the Autumn where we stopped the All Blacks getting their grand slam the grand slam was well and truly on, and as has been proven these opportunites don't come around too often for a country of our size and playing base.

You also failed to mention in your article that England got a 10 minute standing ovation when they came onto the pitch that day.
[/b]

Are the English team going to do anything in regard to Bloody Sunday or has it been decided that it'll be best to keep a lid on the whole thing?
 
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Prestwick

Guest
I think they'll just keep quiet and try and give Ireland a good game of rugby! LOL!
 
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RoyalBlueStuey

Guest
I think they'll just keep quiet and try and give Ireland a good game of rugby! LOL!
[/b]

Amen to that.

For Hogan and Pullin let's hope it's a classic.
 
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RoyalBlueStuey

Guest
Ghosts of Croke

Good piece in The Times about Croke Park....it's heavy going but I particularly liked this bit :

I tell him of another part of Ireland, a different upbringing. Where you went to school in Munster, played rugby and on the morning of the England international at Lansdowne Road, you played against one of the Dublin schools and then went on to the big match in the afternoon. Before the match you found a pub and there, for the first time, you heard the accent of the northern Protestant.

More than that, you talked to him about the game and whether Roger Young was fit and what a loss it was that Ken Goodall went to league, and how we would be depending upon McBride again. But, as long as we beat the English. And as you shared the same team, the same aspiration with your northern friend, you thought of the patriot Wolfe Tone’s hope of Ireland being the country where Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter could all live together. For two Saturdays in Dublin each year, we had the Ireland of Tone’s dreams.[/b]
 

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