Belfast Telegraph

But what about Northern Ireland's legends in so many other fields of sport?

By John Laverty

Sorry, but I'm underwhelmed.

Yes, of course I welcome the proposed new Northern Ireland football museum.

I can't help feeling, however, that this will put back the day when this country gets its own all-sports version.

Even before our golfers brought Major-winning glory to these shores over the past five years there were enough reasons to justify a space where Northern Ireland's staggering array of sporting successes could be celebrated.

Instead, at the moment, we have one at the home of Ulster rugby, a proposed GAA one at Casement Park when it's finally built, and of course the 'Education and Heritage Centre' (really?) opening for business at Windsor Park.

But in none of those places will you see the putter that brought Rory the US Open, the cue Higgy used for that 'snooker break of the century', the leathers Joey wore when he clinched that fifth consecutive TT Formula One world crown, the gloves Rinty used to pummel Jackie Paterson into submission for the world title. Or Mary's medal. Or AP's saddle.

The demand is there, the enthusiasm, too. Even the start-up costs are no problem. Maintenance costs and insurance are, however.

And until DCAL, or whatever its future equivalent will be, comes up with the necessary funding, this will remain an impossible dream.

Ironic, that. Because it would be lauding those sporting legends for whom the word 'impossible' simply didn't exist.

Belfast Telegraph


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