This morning as I left the kids to school a car passed by with two small Irish national flags straining against the breeze. Obviously Trap team supporters, they must have been disappointed by last night’s result. On the rear side window there was a handwritten notice ‘for sale’. I am still not sure if it meant the car or the flags.
My son burst into tears at the end of the game yesterday evening. He had turned out in the full team kit, soccer boots and all. We had to listen to the clunk of his feet as he moved across the wooden floor or stomped it, first in excitement then in rage. Yet for all his disappointment even he had the wit to persistently ask throughout ‘what’s that donkey doing?’
The result against Croatia should inject some reality into the soccer mindset that accompanies the vociferous support behind the Ireland side. Last night’s performance is about the measure of the team, and Croatia had the measure of it.
Now the fallout has started with the RTE pundits leading the charge. Almost overnight we have seen the metamorphosis of the coach: from Trappatoni to Crappy Tony.
For the Glory of St George
Often England seem to play well until they get a goal. Then the team sits back and gets hit with a sucker punch. They did it again this evening in the game against France and scraped by with a draw. Before the Lescott goal it looked as if Roy Hodgson, the newly appointed England coach, had pulled the team into place, made it fit for purpose. Up until they scored.
The goal netted, rather than press forward when they have the advantage, they pull back into the last third of the field and rely on defensive clearances rather than go for aggressive break up play which would seriously disrupt the opponents in midfield. The French know the value of maintaining a creative command in the middle of the park. With that crucially strategic area secured France were able to probe and never looked like losing.
This is a different French side from the one that appeared in South Africa two years ago. A new coach, Laurent Blanc, has added shape and confidence to the side which has now gone 22 matches unbeaten. The discord which for long disintegrated its playing coherence seems to have dissipated. France are once again a good side and in that respect England did well to hold them. Depending on how this evening’s game between Sweden and the Ukraine plays out, the possibility cannot be discounted that both France and England might make it through to the next stage. If they do, the difference between the two is that France could appear in the final. England will not.
Joining the DUP
Not too long ago the leader of the Northern Executive, Peter Robinson, expressed the hope that Catholics would join the DUP. He made the remarks during the inaugural Edward Carson Lecture at Iveagh House, Dublin. Among the Catholics in the audience was one who behaves as if he would be more than comfortable in the DUP, Martin McGuinness. As long as he had a ministry. All the people who died on his say so would have done so in vein were he to end up a pew cleaner in the Martyrs Memorial. A British ministry makes it all worthwhile.
Would other Catholics follow suit? Perhaps if he was to scream ‘traitors’ at any who had the temerity not to want to enlist.
The latest survey in the Belfast Telegraph shows why Robinson is so confident and can make such overtures to those Catholics Ulster Resistance was determined to kill not so many years ago. The union with Britain is absolutely secure. The irony is that it is secured by the very Catholic who advocated endless war to bring it to an end and who taunted with the comments ‘shame, shame, shame’ those he felt wanted to halt the killing of British police officers and soldiers.
All those lives wasted by a waster.