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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

Ruby Walsh has caused quite the reaction with his views on Ray Houghton's iconic goal at USA '94

‘That’s what we do in Ireland — jump up and down about mediocrity,’ the jockey said during last night’s episode of Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moments.

Republic of Ireland v Italy 2/12/2011 Houghton celebrating his goal against Italy with Terry Phelan close by. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THE SECOND EPISODE OF Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moments was aired on RTÉ last night, with the programme looking at the 1990s this time around.

A longlist of 10 was cut to a five-strong shortlist yesterday afternoon and with, Des Cahill and Evanne Ni Chuillin presenting, Ruby Walsh, Derval O’Rourke and Ronan O’Gara debated the merits of each.

During one point in the night, Ruby Walsh — one of the finest jockeys this country has ever produced — took umbrage with the fact that Ray Houghton’s goal against Italy at the 1994 World Cup had been included.

“I don’t think it should be in it, I don’t think it should be there,” Walsh said. “We won the first game in our group, it’s like winning a heat. That’s all we did.

“This is hyping up mediocrity. You’re talking about winners — a world champion in Sonia O’Sullivan, an Olympic medallist in Michael Carruth, Clare at least won the All-Ireland. Ireland won one match and came home.

That’s what we do in Ireland — jump up and down about mediocrity.”

Strong views and, strangely, he didn’t apply the same reasoning to Ireland’s exploits at the 1990 World Cup, where Jack Charlton’s side drew their group games before going through to the quarter-finals after a penalty shootout with Romania.

Understandably, Twitter lit up on the debate last night.

So, was Ruby confusing a ‘moment’ and an ‘achievement’ or does he make a valid point?

Posted by on Monday, 27 January 2020

Watch last night’s episode in full on the RTÉ Player 

Originally published at 11.155

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Ben Blake

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