Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 July 2015

All-Ireland team is way offside

Published 21/07/2008 | 15:56

The Belfast Telegraph has been running an online poll as to whether or not people want an all-Ireland football team.

I must say I find this quite humorous. For one thing, it’s never going to happen.

The people driving the idea forward are driven by one thing — sheer, unadulterated, anti-unionist propaganda.

One thing I would say, however, is that there is more chance of a Northern Ireland rugby team than an all-Ireland football team.

Why all the talk about an all-Ireland football team and not about a Northern Ireland rugby team?

I’m in favour of a Northern Ireland rugby team. And, yes, I have heard the old argument a thousand times before that a Northern Ireland team could not compete against Australia or New Zealand.

Now, I will not argue with that. Of course, a Northern Ireland rugby team would not be able to beat New Zealand or Australia, but let’s be honest — neither can Ireland.

This is about principle.

Do we sell our soul just for the prospect of beating a few more teams every year?

Are people oblivious of what the Northern Ireland football team has achieved recently?

We were voted the best supporters in Europe. We have beaten England, Sweden, Denmark and the European Champions Spain, who are currently the world's number one ranked team.

So there, who says Northern Ireland can't compete?

Anyway, only a handful of nations (and a hybrid-fake one from this island) play rugby.

The entire world plays football and yet Northern Ireland cannot only compete, but can beat the best in the world while having the best supporters in the world.

Seriously, the only logical step in this new peaceful Northern Ireland is for these undemocratic cross border sporting bodies to simply go away.

The Northern Ireland team can manage on its own.

I wish my fellow countrymen would have a bit of pride in themselves.

Bring on a Northern Ireland sporting team in every sport

James Part


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