Dominic George: Going gaga over Irish win

By Dominic George

Irish fans - and some All Black ones too - have celebrated Ireland's historic win over the All Blacks at   Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo / Getty Images
Irish fans - and some All Black ones too - have celebrated Ireland's historic win over the All Blacks at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo / Getty Images

Sheep and cattle eat grass and grass is green, just like the Irish rugby jersey, which is a good excuse to discuss the test in Chicago over the weekend.

The national pride was unheralded, the bars were overflowing with joyous patrons and there was a sense of joi de vivre in the air; and that was just from the New Zealanders.!

I understand the significance of the Irish victory, their first ever over the All Blacks.

It's abundantly clear they were the better side over 80 minutes and, as Steve Hansen said, the right side won in the end.

I understand the All Blacks can't possibly win every game and I fully appreciate the likeable nature of the opposition, but is it just me or have we gone completely gaga over this defeat?

A portion of the sporting commentariat was so enamoured with the Irish win they reportedly couldn't wipe the smile off their face as the joy sprang forth form their heart, conjuring up ghastly images of Bono at his insipid worst, throwing out symbolic love from his heart to the audience.

Almost everyone had gone doolally with utter exuberance.

Now it must be said it's admirable we don't jump and down as fans and call for heads to roll after a solitary loss.

We've clearly come a long way in that regard which is great - there's a bit of perspective here - we lost a rare test to a better side, that stuff happens and this All Blacks team has treated us to some unearthly quality in recent times, not to mention two World Cups in a row.

Plus, the game was a contest; edge-of-your-seat stuff and that's what most of want to see in a sporting competition, not a one-sided bore-fest.

But the disproportionate jubilation for the opposition had me a little perplexed.

Part of it, I think, is because of the previous point; we've conquered so many rugby demons in recent years anyone can forgive a bad day at the office.

Also, I think there was a sense of relief that said bad day occurred in a game of little significance; a glorified exhibition match, in a non-rugby part of the world and not against England or Australia.

They seem to be the opposition we despise losing to the most - we have respect for South Africa and have come to accept the French have the ability to win a one-off test, or at least they used to.

But the likes of the Scots and Irish are different.

They've never beaten us, until now, but it's hardly going to become a habit, so it's not really that threatening. And we also see them as extensions of ourselves.

Many Kiwis of European extraction have some Celtic lineage and share no small amount of character traits, boozing chief among them.

If you were to list the three most recurring themes of Celtic history it would be comedy, tragedy and drunkenness.

I think it's fair to say there's one part of that genetic equation that's withstood the tyranny of time, distance and mixed blood lines better than the others.

Effectively, we see the Irish as us with better accents and it therefore becomes easy to join in the exaltation of our Irish brothers.

Plus, there's more than hint of our Kiwi reservation at play here as well.

While we're constantly seeking the affirmation of visitors to our shores, we're also reluctant and humble heroes - the thought we may be invincible was a bit too much to take.

We've been brought down a peg or two and we're comfortable with that.

But for the love of the sweet, crucified Jaysus take a break from your game of "my Irish is bigger than yours"!

- Dominic George hosts Farming First, 5am-6am weekdays on Radio Sport.

- The Country

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