Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ireland, Ireland... (Or, Going For A Song)

Taking our minds off Blackpool for a few minutes...

I love being a journalist. You're always seeing new or interesting things, or meeting new and interesting people on a day to day basis. And this week, I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview people about Ireland's chances in Euro 2012 next summer.

In my interviews, I came across a few football anoraks. Yet no one actually mentioned Sean St. Ledger. Now, truth be told, he's not the most popular player among Boro fans (indeed, one fan told me that he had "heart attacks" when the ball came into our penalty area), but, lest we forget, he was more than capable of the odd moment of magic when coming forward. Remember his important goals against Coventry and Reading, and his defence splitting pass in that 5-1 win over QPR? Not to mention his first ever Ireland goal against the Italians, which, but for an even later equaliser, would have given him a perfect Ray Houghton moment?

Admittedly, I'm probably being a bit myopic, in that I prefer to remember his forward play rather than his defensive prowess, or lack of it. But I think the real problem was this - he's the kind of ball playing centre half that needs a defensive strongman, like Robert Huth or Richard Dunne, to get the best out of him. And David Wheater just wasn't the answer.

Anyway, we will surely be seeing him at the Euros next summer - and we will also be hearing no end of the team's official song! After all, what's an international tournament without one? A local girl I interviewed said that was probably what she was looking forward to most. And we could do no worse than ask Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh to pen it. After all, they've already penned a remarkable Alternative Irish National Anthem:

(Lyrics courtesy of The Irish Times.)

Ireland, Ireland, damp sod of earth
Lost on the surf of the North Atlantic.
Ireland, Ireland, mountains and mist,
Vodka and chips, it’s so romantic.

Joyce and Heaney, Beckett and Wilde,
Bill O’Herlihy, Dunphy and Giles,
Evans, Hewson, Mullen and Clayton,
Westlife and Jedward the pride of our nation!

Ireland, Ireland, once we were poor,
Then we were wealthy; now we are poor again.
Cows and horses, donkeys and sheep,
Munster and Leinster, Connacht and ******.

Chinese, Polish, Africans too,
Doing the jobs we don’t want to do.
An Irish stew, a nation of nations,
Working for peanuts in petrol stations.

Ireland, Ireland, you are the best
Place to the west of Wales and Scotland.
Sometimes it’s heaven, sometimes it’s hell,
But I’d rather be Irish than anything else!

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