History happens twice

A few years back I found myself in the surprising position of having to account for something that I had written, surprising because normally no sod reads any of it. This came about when I wrote a rather snotty report on the experience of watching Waterford United take on Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town in a friendly. While it was easy to be dismissive of the offensive comments and the abuse I got on BTID at the time, it was more difficult to do so with the response of FootballPress, a League of Ireland blogger around the time (his site is no longer accessible). He noted that the gist of my argument was that I’d have enjoyed myself had the surroundings been as plush as Anfield and the passing ability on show been to the level of Xabi Alonso. Harsh, but fair.

Now I find myself in a similar position after my thoughts on the abandonment of the Tramore v Bonmahon game on Friday evening seemed to strike a chord on Twitter. Unlike with the aforementioned Blues article, nobody went into meltdown at some event junkie blow-in passing comment on what was happening at a level of sport where everyone, unlike the ponces used to games at Anfield/Croke Park, was dedicated to keeping it real. The objections centred on two issues:

  • The ref, who turned up fifteen minutes late, completely lost the plot. Abandoning any game after only three minutes is crazy.

It would have been helpful for the purposes of full disclosure had I noted that the game had started late. When the game threw in at 7.45pm, I immediately discounted it as the kind of thing that happens all the time at games not shackled by the need to satisfy television advertisers. I overheard after the game that he had been late because he had not finished an underage match taking place on the lower field. Whatever it was, you could conceivably make the argument that players were frustrated waiting for the throw-in, so the ref should have shown more discretion when the game erupted as it did. On balance, I don’t find this convincing. Players were not hanging around shivering in driving wind and rain. This was a reasonably pleasant early summer evening, ideal for hurling. They hadn’t been sitting in the dressing room getting increasingly agitated or whipped into a frenzy by a hostile crowd. There was no excuse for the instant outbreak of hostilities at the throw-in and the players would do well to accept responsibility for their own actions rather than deflecting it onto the beleaguered official. The radio silence from both clubs – at the time of writing there is no reference to the truncated game on the website or Twitter feed of either club – suggests they’re not comfortable talking about it either.

  • These kind of bust-ups happen at Senior level too, so why pick on Junior hurling?

I had made the observation at the start of the post that I was fancying myself as Mr Waterford Sport for schlepping around venues as diverse as the RSC, Fraher Field, and now Tramore. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but in the few paragraphs it took to get to the bottom of the post I think I was starting to believe my own rhetoric, haughtily sneering at the contrast between the elan displayed by the likes of John Mullane and Kevin Moran the previous weekend and the club-wielding Neanderthals at Junior level. This was unfair. Brawls are hardly unheard of at the upper echelons of the game, a point reinforced by scenes at the Ballygunner-Roanmore game the following evening:

In short, I’m not sorry for thinking the antics of the two teams at the Tramore-Bonmahon game were ridiculous. I am sorry for thinking this was somehow endemic to the Junior game. Now can we all be friends, like I am with the Blue ‘Til I Die crew?