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John Delaney Has Invoked The Easter Rising As We Look Ahead To Euro 2016

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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John Delaney, the finest interpreter of Wolfe Tones material currently working in Irish officialdom, has invoked the men and women of 1916 ahead of a momentous year for Irish football.

In looking forward to Euro 2016, he harked back to the Easter Rising, arguably the greatest moral victory in the history of Irish sport or war.

He told RTE Sport:

I think that it’s great that 100 years since 1916, that we’ll hopefully have new sporting heroes 100 years later in France and hopefully the Irish team can do the country proud.


Lovely comments, for sure. There are some problems with this analogy. One of the most important points about the Easter rebels was that they were not going fighting in the fields of France.

And, as has been pointed out on social media, some of the combatants weren't keen on 'foreign games', not least Michael Collins. A minor figure in the 1916 drama, he served as Joseph Plunkett's aide de camp in the GPO. His views on soccer were already well formed.

Hawkish on the issue of the 'Ban', Collins believed that foreign sport 'aided the peaceful penetration of Ireland' and insisted there should be 'no soccer for Gaels.'


However, by no means was this hostility to soccer universal. Oscar Traynor was a goalkeeper for the famous Belfast Celtic, touring Europe with the club in 1912. He was the commanding officer in the Metropole Hotel on O'Connell Street during Easter, 1916.

Founder member of Fianna Fail and grandfather of Ryan Tubridy, Todd Andrews, though too young to fight in 1916, was a big soccer fan and had 'contempt' for Gaelic football.

Read more: If The Irish Political Parties Were Professional Football Teams


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