Replica Sports Gear

An England supporter walked into a hotel lobby wearing an England Cricket Cap and was unbraided by the late Alec Bedser who said to him “You earn that? The man looked embarrassed. “You have to earn that cap, it’s supposed to be a privilege”.

Well it certainly is.

My teams that I supported from youth have been Ireland Rugby, Shamrock Rovers of Milltown, RoI soccer team, the League of Ireland team, Leinster, Lansdowne, UCD Athletics, Headingley, Ireland Cricket and Dave Hickey, Pat O’Neill, Tony Hanahoe and Co for Dublin, Clare GAA.

Other than UCD Athletics, I would never wear the gear of any because I did not make THE team (the firsts). Headingley teams wore the same green white and black gear no matter which team you played for, so that is the exception – a great club, with great people now no more.

I would be embarrassed to wear the jerseys of Ireland, Leinster or any of these teams for the reason that I have so much respect for the jersey and the people who have worn it and earned it be they stars of journeyman.

It is marvellous to behold, Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Bill McBride, Wigs Mulcahy, Doyler and all the others in their pomp. When the country was on its ear, they gave me/us a lift. I can still rattle off Dunne, Keogh, Courtney, Nolan, Farrell, Fulham, O’Neill, Mooney, Bailham, Ambrose and O’Connell as if it was yesterday. Rovers greats! Lansdowne with Noel Dwyer, Mick English, Tony Twomey, Mickey Quinn, the Springs, Mossy – great men all. Respect that is what I have for all these players.

It is great to see Eoin Morgan from Santry and CUS playing for England – I would love to see him get full test matches like Ed Joyce from Bray. The sheer talent and skill of these guys should overcome the atavistic nationalisms of those who would criticise.

In Lansdowne, it was black collar for the firsts, white for the rest. Each club has its foibles. Sport is the true opium of the people.

Sometimes it can be confusing. Did Charlie will the Tour de France in a Charvet shirt? or was Stephen Roche only there as the prop!! I still am a big fan of Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly – iron men.

Rugby supporters who cannot cheer Munster on as well as Leinster except for one match are sad b……s. I agree with Gerry Thornley on that issue.

Meanwhile,Leinster CEO Mick Dawson and Dubs John Costello will be hoping that I am in a minority of one on the replica shirt issue.