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The xenophobic ‘Ould Enemy’ cack spluttered over a cricket game shows how immature a country we can be

The Ireland team who excelled at cricket should be applauded. But the Brit-bashing celebration of their feat is hypocritical for a country that is, in many ways, becoming ‘more British than Britain itself’.

Kevin O'Brien celebrates his record-breaking century during the Cricket World Cup match against England
Kevin O'Brien celebrates his record-breaking century during the Cricket World Cup match against England
Image: PA Images/ Kirsty Wigglesworth

I’VE ALWAYS ASSOCIATED cricket with acute pain. My first memory of that association dates back to winter 1977, when I was dozing through fourth class at the Harold Boys. Mr Halpin was winding the day down by reading us a newspaper report about freak weather conditions in Australia.

“It says here that ‘Brisbane has been battered by hail-stones the size of cricket balls’. Think about that boys.”

Half-asleep, my hand shot up, almost involuntarily. “I didn’t know crickets had balls, sir.”

Thwack. Bamboo cane. Cricket equals pain.

The second memory is of a freak accident with a cricket bat while playing rounders. My friend ‘Chun’ – a huge, Sumo-wrestler-shaped boy of 11 – decided to do some batting practice while I was sliding, heels-first into final ‘base’. Whenever I see anyone playing ‘paper, rock, scissors’, I am reminded of the ‘CRUMP’ sound his bat (the rock) made as it smacked into my crotch (the open scissors). My howls could be heard several roads away. I still wince when I hear the sound of a wicket being knocked over.

Recalling my time as a sports hack with the Irish Press also brings back memories of cricket and pain – the pain of having to watch it. It’s so boring it makes pitch-and-putt look like ice hockey.

I didn’t give a Rubberbandit’s curse when I heard Ireland had beaten England at the Cricket World Cup. ‘West Brits beating the actual Brits at a boring garrison game,’ I thought. Big deal.

Read the rest of David Kenny’s article over at TheJournal.ie >


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David Kenny

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