Getting tangled up in Rory and other mishaps

Ha ha haha haaaaaa! Pardon me while I split some sides. I’ve been listening to BBC Radio Ulster/Raidio Uladh  and I’ve just had the best two laughs I’ve had in weeks.

The first was from, I think, sports reporter Stephen Watson, and I think – pardon me Stephen if I’m wrong – but I think he was saying that the southern media didn’t report on players this side of the border who were competing in the colours of Team GB. ‘Strewth!  He’s probably right. But has he thought about the fact that Radio Ulster/Raidio Uladh and BBC Northern Ireland reported on Irish players only if  they’re from this side of the border? What’s more,  when they do report on athletes north of the border,  they sorta gliiiide past the fact that these athletes are competing in the colours of Ireland.  A passing Martian might be forgiven for thinking there was a Team NI competing in the Paralympic Games and that they were being very successful. Mind you, that doesn’t excuse RTÉ if what Watson says is true; but it’s still a hilarious case of the pot getting all hot and bothered about the kettle’s blackness.

The other laugh I had? Again, step forward Stephen Watson, although you were merely repeating the words of Pádraig Harrington (who I remember years ago on BBC Radio 4  being described as a ‘crazy guy with a crazy name’).  Stephen was coping this time with what is pretty obviously Rory McIlroy’s intention to move from Team Ireland to Team GB for the Rio Olympics four years down the line, because Rory says “he has always felt more British than Irish”. Fair enough – it’s his choice not to answer Ireland’s Call. (Sorry, I had to get that one in. And btw, wasn’t it kind of awful  watching Phil Coulter at that celebration for John Hume, urging the audience to join him in singing his absurd replacement for the Irish national anthem?) Where was I? Oh yes. Stephen Watson was quoting approvingly Padraig Harrington’s interpretation of Rory’s switch of allegiances: it was actually great, apparently, because it meant there was another place for someone from Ireland to compete in the Rio Olympics. So from being a cheers-lads-I’m-with-the-Brits thing,  it became a it’s-a-far-far-better-thing-I-do-now thing. Which meant that those Irish people who might feel pissed off with Rory’s switch of allegiance were misreading the situation, cos Rory was actually leaving the Irish golf team for the good of Team Ireland.  Oh God, stop, would you, Stephen, I think I’m finding it hard to breathe.  Who said sport and laughing your arse off don’t mix? Jimmy Magee?

11 Responses to Getting tangled up in Rory and other mishaps

  1. Anonymous September 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Mike Nesbit holds Rory up as an icon for the 'new N. Ireland'. He commended Rory's school for the excellent job they had done in producing him as an example of our shared future. So what education did Rory have that made him feel more British than Irish? Is this the way forward for us all? Should we be like Stephen Watson and cram as many 'Northern Irelands' into a sentence as we can. Or am I watching a real life episode of the Borg?

  2. Anonymous September 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Sullivan Upper the same school Dermot Murnaghan went to.

  3. dave dexheimer September 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I worked alongside many Catholics who lived in East Belfast and North Down through the worst of the Troubles. I was dumbstruck by their affinity with all things British, often adorning their office desks with little union flags, drinking from cups with royal insignia, wearing their poppy's, and vocally supportive of the UDR, RUC and British Army. To paraphrase, they often appeared more British than the British themselves. I always assumed they were merely social and career climbers trying to ingratiate themselves with the Unionists, saying and doing anything that will give them leverage and a step up on another rung on the promotional ladder. On reflection, perhaps I was naive,and much like Rory McIlroy, who if born in West Belfast, might have been named Ruairi McIlroy, they were simply products of their environment; comfortable with God Save The Queen, the flying of Union Jacks and Ulster Flags, BBC, the English Language, soccer, cricket, rugby, golf, hot tea and paris buns. Quite simply, it is what they were used to. Shame on them, right?
    Curiously, it seems that more and more nationalists I encounter from the six counties are getting more and more comfortable with the six counties. Good Lord, is it possible that when parading gets sorted out that the 6 counties ceases being a failed political entity and becomes a successful functioning entity? Say it aint so, Jude.

  4. Mick Fealty September 12, 2012 at 10:34 am #


    What's this 'they' thing you've got going on? You make North Down sound like some kind of a cultural desert and West Belfast the quintessence of 'normal'. Neither is the case.

    GAA was never big in Holywood, but it was always bigger than anywhere else in North Down; not least thanks to a 'chap' called Eamon McElroy who kept things rolling. It mush be the only GAA pitch that shared it's ground (and had its grass cut) by the local Cricket Club.

    There's a branch of Conradh na Gaeilge in the town, and Irish language lessons have been publicly available to all members of the local population for most of the last 20-30 years.

    I won't argue these things are a significant part of the local landscape – as they clearly are in West Belfast. Nor would I dispute the claim that many Catholics there see themselves part of the British rather than the Irish polity.

    But I also don't know where else you could hear the Sash sung in mixed company in Irish, along with Kevin Barry or the bold Fenian men.

    When I grew up, Holywood was politically Unionist. And I mean big 'U' not little 'u'. Now, I would argue it is little 'u'. And for at least fifty years the local brand of big 'U' has been unremittingly 'liberal' from Nixon to Kilfedder, McCartney and Hermon.

    Hell, even the DUP have turned out the most liberal constituency team on their Stormont Benches. And any examination of recent ballot boxes shows that Holywood is largely an Alliance town these days.

    Communities in Holywood are integrated, the communities of west Belfast are not. Unlike west, people don't have to move to get.

    The long term effect is that it certainly makes you less fundamentalist about your own politics (though it does not necessarily shape the nature of your convictions).

    It opens you out to other possibilities, even if they are not immediately available to you.

    For instance some Prod friends did play GAA but you could usually spot them since they generally asked to join from the crowd when a regular player was late or hadn't shown. They were the ones trying to dribble past their opponents.

    Very few Catholics in my day played rugby or cricket since we didn't play those codes at school. But they weren't alien either.

    Judging north Down by west Belfast standards and you get that old normative throw away phrase so beloved of 1970s westies “Orange Hole”. And west seen from Holywood looked and felt like a hot house of communal madness, where just 'one more push' and the Brits would done.

    It never looked that simple when viewed from North Down, were we could not only see the men, machine, and ordinance, but we understood why the majority the population felt the way they felt and just how determined they were to see through whatever the Provos threw at them.

    Those of us familiar with both could also see how awful life was getting for those stuck inside the war zone, and relatively speaking, how easy life was for those living on the outside.

    The end result is that North Down Catholics are not so soft that they have gone completely native in the fawning way you suggest. But nor do they live in a hot house where it is not possible to break out and do your own thing.

    It's the mixed nature of communal life there that makes the political veil so thin in such places.

    Now that religion (you know that thing that many modern Republicans disparage with such casual contempt) no longer governs cultural choices in the way it once did, I suspect we are going to see more Catholics (providing they live areas that free of political or social coercion) take their own path through life rather than one dictated them by the Priest, or the new equivalent, the Community.

  5. Anonymous September 12, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    I seen his statement the other day about playing for Ireland but he was also a proud Ulster man and citizen of the UK.

    Did Rory not study geography at school? He does realise Ulster is a province of Ireland with 3 of these counties being in the southern state.

    How can you be Brit if you don't live in GB? For godsake Rory your a paddy to the Brits.


  6. Anonymous September 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Rory and his management team have handled this ridiculously badly for ages, why does he even feel the need to mention he feels more British than Irish, why as a golfer mention something like that only to back track with a letter covering all basis the next day. Compare this nonsense to McDowell who is also a major winner and currently in the world top 20 – he seems to have handled things way better and just for the recored is a protestant with a catholic mother and is nailed on to represent Ireland!!

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