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A Forgotten Factor Underpinning The Current State Of Ennui In Irish Rugby

A Forgotten Factor Underpinning The Current State Of Ennui In Irish Rugby

Following Ireland's galling quarter-final exit from the Rugby World Cup (we thought it was different this time) many wondered if we'd have the stomach to face the Six Nations championship five months later.

Objective metrics, like, for instance, traffic levels to websites, confirm that there has been an unusual degree of apathy surrounding the Irish rugby team this time around.

But the Irish rugby fan has a short memory and loves a celebration. Glory in the annual competition would sate the national desire for a party. We've won it little enough over the years that we can afford to turn our nose up.

However, everything that has happened since then has added to the current air of ennui surrounding Irish rugby.

The club teams have endured the kind of season that would have seemed unthinkable ten years ago and would have seemed highly thinkable in the late 1990s.

Ireland has suffered a truck-load of injuries on a scale that almost approached 2013 levels, a factor which has hamstrung them from the off. Thus, few anticipated the kind of success seen in previous years.

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For many, we are just too close to the World Cup. The stark fact that the semi-finals consisted entirely of southern hemisphere teams confirmed that the Six Nations was small beer.

However, there is another factor, often instanced as a reason for the failure of GAA teams to build on success, that accounts for the relative lethargy of the Irish fanbase this time around.

Sated hunger.

This doesn't apply to the players so much, many of whom are making their debuts this year and thus have no championships under their belt. Their competitive desire is presumably undimmed.

But it may apply to many of the supporters.

The unique combination of the crushing nature of Ireland's World Cup disappointment combined, almost paradoxically, with our full stomachs from the recent Six Nations successes, have left fans, if hardly indifferent, then a bit less zealously needy than usual.

Throw in the humiliation of the northern hemisphere last autumn and the concomitant undermining of the Six Nations championship itself and you have the ingredients for widespread apathy and a very flat affair indeed.

Read more: Watch: Munster's Mark Chisholm Got Exactly What He Wanted From Ireland Vs Italy

 

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney