Journalist Perfectly Sums Up What Rugby & Sport In General Means To Ireland

Rugby country.

It’s that time of year again. Six Nations rugby is back. And with that comes an outpouring of support here in Ireland for the national team as they bid to be once again crowned kings of the north.

Casual fans remerge, while for the hardcore it almost feels like Christmas. The entire nation will be encapsulated for six weeks weeks as Ireland face their close rivals over five games in rugby’s greatest championship.

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But is Ireland rugby country? Who cares. That’s how Times journalist Michael Foley has put it and he couldn’t have hit the nail on the head any better.

“Is Ireland rugby country? Who cares. Let it feel like rugby country for six weeks. Let Ireland become GAA country for the summer. It can be a little enclave of breathless footballing obsession when the Irish team get close to a major tournament. It can get lost in tennis for a couple of weeks in July. Kids can dig holes at the bottom of their gardens and rob a 9-iron and putter from a golf bag during Open week. We can all pick up where we left off as experts on Olympic sport every four years. In a world where so much of normal life feels now like a swindle, indulging those simple uncluttered emotions through sport are good, positive, necessary things.”

Ireland has long been a sporting nation. Whatever it is we get behind our teams and our athletes. We fill stadiums, we flood the streets and we pack out bars up and down the country. It doesn’t matter what sport it is.

Foley couldn’t have said it better. Embrace the Six Nations. Bask in Irish Rugby’s success. As soon as it’s over we can move onto the next sport. It doesn’t have to be one of the other. Whether or not Ireland is a ‘rugby country’, it damn well is a sporting one.