A trip to see relatives in Ireland and an extended holiday has meant a week or two with no football.
I could have watched Champions League or Premier League football on a huge screen in many bars but it doesn’t suffice for the real thing. I did try to fit in a League of Ireland game but none matched my travelling. It would have been great to compare the standard of play to what I watch at home.
But football (soccer) takes a back seat here to the local games of Gaelic Football and Hurling . Rugby Union also out performs football on an International playing field with their all Ireland team being highly competitive on the world stage and their regional teams are always there or there abouts on a European club basis. Perhaps football has to follow suit sometime in the future at International level. Derry have taken the plunge and for some time been playing in the League of Ireland having left the Northern Ireland Football League. I saw some of their recent quarter final win over the powerful Shamrock Rovers team in extra time in the Irish FA Cup on TV.
People do seem to want to tell you which Premiership team they support though as they often follow these teams on the TV. But it is definitely the Gaelic game that creates the passion which came home to me when in one small town, a cavalcade of cars bibbing horns and waving flags told me they had just won an important game. It also showed up in the market square of Kildare where a statue stands proud to Bill Gannon extalling his and the local teams exploits.