Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Irish anthem key to rugby passion

Irish fans have no doubt been following their team's progress as they advance to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

I have noticed, and I am sure others have also, that very few of the players sing Ireland's Call - in contrast to the passion and gusto with which Argentinians, French and Italians sing their anthems.

It is my opinion that Ireland are at a disadvantage, with no disrespect to Phil Coulter's Ireland's Call, in not being able to sing A Soldier's Song at the World Cup.

Who can forget the tears in the eyes of John 'Bull' Hayes and Jerry Flannery when the Irish team sang the anthem at Croke Park in 2007 before playing England?

I urge the IRFU to immediately consider the playing of the Irish national anthem at away games.

There may be objections from unionists, but I hope they would overlook this to re-create the passion that was shown in that rugby international at Croke Park.

RANDAL MacDONNELL

Whitehead, Co Antrim

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