I’m not a regular reader of the sensationalist fascist rag known as the Sunday Independent (the Irish paper that is – not to be confused with the English Independent on Sunday which is almost at the opposite end of the spectrum even though they share a common owner). However one of my local pubs has complimentary copies – useful if the toilets run out of paper. Anyway I was in one particular establishment watching Tyrone beat Armagh in the Ulster Championship. I will concede that its GAA coverage is good – rather ironic considering that certain columnists on other pages have an aversion to the association and view it in a similar way to which the Ku Klux Klan view people of dark skin pigmentation.
One particular columnist Eoghan Harris churns out the usual bullshit. I don’t pay much attention to what he says as it’s mostly arrogant, self-opinionated bollocks anyway, but if it’s factually inaccurate it’s worth noting. He’s been called many things over the years by other bloggers, such as Infactah, Cedar Lounge, Maman Poulet, Green Ink, Associate Notes, Tangents and Adam Maguire – most of them fairly accurate.
In the wake of the Ryan Report detailing cases of abuse of children in the care of various institutions of the Irish Catholic church, Harris touches on Fianna Fáil’s (at worst) alleged complicity with the church or at best its failure to come down on the church harshly enough. He cites a story from the 1950s which would seem to contradict this notion. A certain bishop had urged football supporters to boycott a match between the Republic of Ireland and Yugoslavia because of a cardinal imprisoned by Tito for alledgedlt being a wartime collaborator. It seems however that the cute hoors of the Soldiers of Destiny went against the bishop’s wishes:
“far from bowing to the archbishop, the prominent Fianna Fail shadow minister Oscar Traynor threw in the ball to start the match at Dalymount Park on October 19, 1955”
Although Eoghan obviously likes his detail right down to the exact date of the match, this couldn’t possibly have happened, as he makes a glaringly obvious error. It looks like he’s getting his ball games mixed up. As any schoolboy knows soccer matches start with a kick-off, not a throw-in. At the start of Gaelic football matches the ball is of course “thrown in” by the referee. However I’m pretty sure there were no GAA teams in Tito’s Yugoslavia.
So not for the first time Harris is (quite literally!) talking balls. I’ve written a letter to the editor pointing this out (albeit in a more subtle and diplomatic manner), but won’t be holding my breath regarding publication next Sunday.