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Does Ireland Need To Be A Piss-Poor Economic Shambles For Our Football Team To Reach International Tournaments?

Does Ireland Need To Be A Piss-Poor Economic Shambles For Our Football Team To Reach International Tournaments?
By Donny Mahoney Updated

This made me a shudder a bit. Way back in 2007, at the height of the Stan era, Irish Canadian John Doyle wrote a pretty interesting piece for the Guardian sportsblog, espousing the theory that it wasn't actually Steve Staunton's management style that had undermined the fortunes of our national team, but actually the vulgar wave of greed and consumption that had engulfed the nation.

There's also this choice anecdote about meeting a friend before the match at Fallon and Byrne, of all fucking places:

Sarah, an RTE Radio producer, for a drink. Of course, nobody meeting for a drink goes to a Dublin pub any more. We met at Fallon & Byrne, four floors devoted to bacchanalian consumption. The basement is a wine bar, the ground floor is a posh supermarket, upstairs there's bistro and above that there's a party room. All four floors were teeming with punters who had money to burn. Sarah doesn't care much about Staunton and the team and, as I'd come all the way from Canada, obliged me with the reason. She said the national teams seemed to be in the grip of the "Ah, sure, it'll do" attitude. The one that used to define Ireland.

It does seem that qualification for the 2002 World Cup disproves Doyle's theory - his claim that that the nation grew disinterested after the draw Ibaraki doesn't really wash and Saipan gets nary a mention- but maybe there is something in the idea that when Ireland is on its knees, its national football team offers a kind of solace and hope that none of our other sports or teams can provide.

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