Congratulations to St Patricks and Our Ladys College from East Belfast who beat St Malachys in the “IFA” Norn Iron Schools Cup Final at Solitude yesterday.
Back in 1968, my old school St Marys CBS moved from Barrack Street in Belfast to its new home on the Glen Road in Belfast. We were of course disappointed that there was no facilities for Football (Soccer) at the school. Brother McGreevy (aka Bisto or The Boot) would not tolerate a foreign game.
So…while disappointed that my old school did not contest the Final yesterday, I am of course happy to see that the ethos of St Malachys has changed…as has the upstart Catholic school from East Belfast/North Down.
It will of course delight the IFA and those who support them if the young men from these schools play at international level…although if I was the IFA , I wouldnt hold my breath that they would choose Norn Iron…although ya never know with Holywood.
But back in the old days these school finals were inevitably contested by “state” schools and it would be interesting to compare the performance of state schools against Catholic schools in recent years. From a standing start, forty years ago…how has “Catholic” performance improved?
Looking back to “take me out to the ball game era”of Baseball….Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Joe Di Maggio were white. Likewise Johnny Unitas in Football. And of course Basketball was segregated with the Harlem Globetrotters were peripheral to the Sport of Basketball.
The growing numbers of black superstars…….latinos in baseball and people like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan in basketball and yer man whose name I dont know in Football has alienated the racist element in the American sports fan.
Of course……they still have Ice Hockey.
And the growing numbers of Catholics high achieving in Sport….James McClean, Darron Gibson, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan in Football alienates the traditional sectarian element in Norn Iron.
Of course…still have Ice Hockey. And Rowing.