Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Irish national rugby union team

Photo from Flickr
This is a photo of the Irish national rugby union team taken during the 6 Nation Championship match between Ireland and England at Croke Park on 24th February 2007.
Croke Park in Dublin is the 3rd largest stadium in Europe and the principal stadium of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which until 2005 prohibited from being used for sports other than those of GAA.
As the GAA was founded as a nationalist organisation to promote indigenous Irish sports, it has felt honour-bound throughout its history to oppose "foreign" sports such as soccer and rugby which were in competition with gaelic football and hurling.
Croke Park is not the normal home of Irish rugby, its traditional home, Lansdowne Road, is unavailable due to the construction of a completely new stadium.
On 24th February 2007 a "foreign" sport was played for the 1st time in Croke Park, a stadium that was the scene of a massacre by the Auxiliary Division in 1920. British police auxiliaries entered the ground, shooting indiscriminately into the crowd killing 13 Irish people during a gaelic football match. This is known as "Bloody Sunday".
This is the reason why the match between Ireland and England has gone down in the Irish and rugby history.
After reading this long introduction you can understand why I chose this photo. It represents, however, my two greatest passions: Ireland and rugby.
I have been living in such a beautiful country for one year of Erasmus. I knew the true face of Ireland, a country rich in traditions, lores and culture.
Then, rugby, my second passion is pretty wired in a country such as Italy that gives no importance to minor sports, where soccer rules the whole country economy and can determine the death of a man like Filippo Raciti.
I go against the mainstream: I love rugby! It is considered a violent sport but on the contrary is extremely fair. Because of the nature of the games (almost unlimited body contact), the rugby world frowns on unsporting behaviour, since even a slight infringement of the rules may lead to serious injury or even to death.
In the U.K., an old saying goes: "Football is a gentleman's game palyed by hooligans, and rugby is a hooligan's game played by gentlemen."


Alessandra Teso said...

Tania.... I like your introduction very much! And I like rugby too! I don’t know every rules of these sport but I understand something, and I’ve always loved the deep respect that one feels in a rugby stadium...it is really fantastic and unbelivable (but true!)! Once in my life I’d like to go to see one of these spectacular matches! Have you ever gone to the stadium when you was in Irland?!?

Erica Buzz said...

Tania, it can seem strange if a girl says that she loves rugby, but I understand you, given that I love this sport, together with football and fight (such as karate). I am quite sure that any sport can be played and loved by both boys and girls.
when I was a child I attended ballet courses for 9 years which included also a boy. Everyone thought he might grow "homosexual" and thought he should practice sports such as football or volleyball. After studying many years he has tried studying at the "Royal Accademy" of London, and now is working as a dancer.
I've never been to the stadium to see neither a football or a rugby match, but I like watching them on TV. What do you like in particular about rugby?
Are there in Ireland other sports which are as relevant as rugby (except for football) that you like?

Alessandra Peron said...

Hi Tania! Excuse me if it sounds a stupid question, but I'm curious about your username. What does "shoun" mean?
Have you ever heard of a song by U2 called "Sunday Bloody Sunday"? I guess it isn't related to the "Bloody Sunday" events you mention here, but I think it still fits. Listen to it, if you haven't already.

viola said...

Dear Tania,
I'm so sorry I know basically nothing about Ireland! The only thing I have heard about its history is exactly the episode of the Bloody Sunday, thanks to the U2 song that Alessandra just mentioned. I agree with your opinion on Italy's obsession with soccer since there are so many beautiful sports, which unfotunately are left aside!Love,

Elena said...

Dear Shoun...:-)
I completly agree with you. I think that the best aspect of rugby is exactly the fact that after the match (pretty hard, though), players behave correctly towards eachother. It seems a violent sport but players know how face the game and are fair outside the field.
I think this is a crucial topic nowadays after what happaned in Sicily, but in general in many italian stadiums. Maybe it should be like this in every occasion: play hard to win, but be fair to your opponent!

shoun said...

To Alessandra Teso: I agree with you, rugby is fantastic even if not well known in Italy! When I was in Ireland I went see rugby matches several times but in particular I went to Lansdown Road in Dublin (the oldest stadium of Europe) to see Ireland vs Italy in the 6 Nations Championship! It was in 2004 and we lost 19-3! What a pity!!!

shoun said...

To Erica Buzzaccarin: Erica I think you didn't understand what I wrote! I didn't mean that Its wired for a gorl to support rugby but that is wired for Italians to support this sport because soccer is considered the 1st sport in Italy! I've no prejudices, and I think ballet is for men too! Think about Rudolf Nureyev! In Ireland the most important sports are Hurling and Gaelic football. According to Wikipedia Hurling "(in Irish, iománaíocht or iomáint) is an outdoor team sport of Celtic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks and a ball. The game, played primarily in Ireland, is arguably the world's fastest field team sport in terms of game play. One of Ireland's native Gaelic Games, it shares a number of features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, number of players, and much terminology. There is a similar game for women called camogie.

The object of the game is for players to use a wooden axe-shaped stick called a hurley to hit a small ball between the opponents' goalposts either over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for three points.

The ball can be caught in the hand and carried for not more than four steps, struck in the air, or struck on the ground with the stick. It can be kicked or slapped with an open hand (the hand pass) for short-range passing. A player who wants to carry the ball for more than three steps has to bounce or balance the ball on the end of the stick, and the ball can only be handled twice while in his possession.

Side to side shouldering is allowed although Body-checking or shoulder-charging is illegal. There is no padding, and a plastic protective helmet with faceguard is recommended but not mandatory for players over 21."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurling

And "Gaelic football (Irish: Peil or Caid ), commonly referred to as "football", "Gaelic" or "GAA ('gah')", is a form of football played mainly in Ireland. It, along with Hurling, is the most popular spectator sport in Ireland .

Gaelic football is played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by pushing the ball through the goals. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins.

A child kicks a gaelic footballPlayers advance the ball up the field with a combination of carrying, soloing (dropping and then toe-kicking the ball upward into the hands), kicking, and hand-passing to their team-mates.

Gaelic football is one of four Gaelic Games run by the Gaelic Athletic Association, the largest and most popular organization in Ireland. It has strict rules on player amateurism and the pinnacle of the sport is the inter county All-Ireland Football Final. The game is believed to have descended from ancient Irish football known as caid which date back to 1537, although the modern game took shape in 1887."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_football

shoun said...

To Alessandra Peron: You made me laugh so much when I read your question!!! I explain why...shoun has no meaning. I got simply wrong when I created my google account! You know that when you create a mail account or something similar it appears a page to fill with your personal data and there is a word that you have to copy in order to avoid hackers!? The word was "shoun" and I wrote it in the wrong place...and which one?? where I had to put my username!! That's the story..hope you'll understand..

shoun said...

to Alessandra Peron: I know this song but I don't think it's related to the Irish massacre!

Alessandra Peron said...

Yes, I think the U2 song refers to unrest in Northern Ireland.
As for "shoun", amusing story... but if you only put it there by mistake, you can always change it ; when you log in, on the right column you can click "modifica profilo" and choose a name you like better.

shoun said...

To ALESSANDRA PERON!!! Thank you a lot for your tip!!! I didn't know who to change it but every time I see it I laugh so much that I think I won't change it!!! Tania

shoun said...

* "I didn't know HOW (and not who!)to change it". Sorry...spelling mistake. TAnia