Belfast Telegraph

Superstar's pride in the jersey

By Declan Bogue

Forgive me, but I am a sucker for slo-mo replays in sport.

Since the dawning of the Sky  age, slo-mo is all the go. Players striking the ball, hurlers flicking the sliotar off the ground with one hand as they hold off a 14-stone opponent with the other. Even teams getting off a bus in Ballybofey can be glamorous looking if it is sufficiently slowed down.

But there was a clip last weekend of Gareth Bale celebrating Wales’ historic 2-1 win over Slovakia at the final whistle. His hair was up on his head like a pineapple, Jason Lee style,  but I didn’t hold it against him. The reason for that is that he looked intensely rapt in this moment of triumph for his country.

There can be a lazy, but nonetheless seductive view that a great deal of professional soccer players are more in thrall to their lifestyles, gizmos and big boys toys than the actual game itself. That opinion is backed up by ‘The Secret Footballer’ accounts of team mates and various clubs.

How refreshing therefore, to see the effort, heart and soul of players in the Euros from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and, most especially, Wales.

In Gaelic games, we speak of pride in the jersey as if it is exclusive to our sports. Silly us and our indulgences.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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