I was walking around Sligo yesterday and saw a few black and red flags fluttering in the distance. I thought I'd stumbled upon an anarchist rally, but it turns out it was only a few overzealous Down supporters getting some flag-waving practice in before Sunday week.
Down football's connections to the anarchist movement had never dawned on me before, but upon reflection, the matching colour schemes hardly seem coincidental. Much of Down's play, from their mass defense during the frenetic closing moments of the Kildare match to Marty's freewheeling attacking seems inspired by the fundamental tenets of anarchism.
Read the following quote and tell me if it is Keith Duggan writing about Down in 2010 or Michael Bakunin writing about anarchists in 1869:
"They are magnificent, these young fanatics, believers without God, heroes without rhetoric."
And that is why it so lamentable that the GAA, soldiers of Rome and as God-fearing an organization as you'll find on these shores, has stripped Down of their colours for next week's match. The uniform change is not about coherence, it is about purging the philosophical spirit of Down football so perfectly crystallized in the colors black and red for the holiest feast day of the GAA calendar.
Let them try. Unrest is brewing.