So a still-shaky Sexton just about edged out the more sure-footed O’Gara as Leinster scored a one-point win over Munster in the Magners League at Thomond Park. (The media built it up as a case of Johnny versus Ronan. As opposed to Carrick-born businessman Johnny Ronan, which is more Glenda v Roseanna.)
Munster Rugby have been doing their best to spread the sport beyond its traditional habitat, such as staging the recent ‘A’ game at the RSC in Waterford.
However, nothing highlights the Limerick-centric status of the game in the province more than the once-off opening of pubs on Shannonside for the Good Friday fixture.
The Clonmel cider makers will be happy, as will Setanta Sports, and of course the city’s packed-out pubs (the influx was estimated to be worth €7m to the local economy), but the message to the rest of us is as clear as a freshly washed pint glass. Exclusivity equals exclusion.
Our GAA reporter Eddie Kirwan is taken by Irish Independent journalist Martin Breheny’s take on the publicans of Limerick being allowed throw open their doors to show the aptly-named Magners League. (Nothing added but closing time.)
“Breheny’s brainwave, as the old expression goes, kills two birds with one stone,” Eddie asserts. “He proposes that next year the Railway Cup finals be played in Croke Park on Good Friday. On this basis, the pubs around Croke Park should be allowed to sell drink on the day, therefore guaranteeing a bumper attendance at the match.
“According to Martin, this would result in an upsurge of interest in the Inter-Provincial competition which has been on the wane for several years now. The only problem I envisage with this idea, is that there would be a very good chance that ‘patrons’ would elect to stay in the pubs rather than give up two hours drinking time and actually go in to see the game.
“Alternatively, the GAA could move the Railway Cup around the country and host it in a different county every year. Perhaps this isn’t the worst idea in the world as it would be an attempt at keeping everyone happy. Maybe we could soon see the day when the Railway Cup final is played in a full-to-capacity Walsh Park after an absorbing ‘Happy Hour’ in Norris’s?” Eddie enthuses.
We’d drink to that, as the fella says.