With the former IRA organisation having come out some years ago as the new hybrid Sinn Féin party, it was necessary to schmooze the Democratic Unionist Party in Stormont (during the false spring of the McGuinness/Paisley chuckling days) toward a united Ireland.
Suddenly, self-confessed IRA activists had to find some means of attempting to ingratiate themselves with the former Orange enemy and of all things they chose – not Linda Ervine’s Irish Language Act or even much-desired public repentance for past murders – but cricket.
First to bowl everybody over with this proclivity that hitherto dared not speak its name was Gerry Adam’s twice-imprisoned friend and former hunger-striker, Pat Sheehan, who announced in Britain’s Independent newspaper in 2011 that he had a love for the game and had watched full test matches while in Long Kesh supporting anyone who was playing against England. Sorry, Pat, you’re at silly mid off there, old chap!
Not to be outdone in attempts to romance the stony hearts of the DUP, McGuinness’ sidekick and former hunger-striker, Raymond McCartney, divulged in 2012 to bewildered nationalist Derry Journal readers that he had committed acts of cricket before serving 19 years in Long Kesh and ‘loved nothing more than watching cricket on television’. Come on, Raymond, you’re hitting one up the gully there!
Taking time out from chuckling, enter Martin McGuinness confessing in February 2015 on RTE’s John Murray show that he had recently grown a love for dibbly-dobblies and occupying the crease and couldn’t be prevented live tweeting cricket results late into the evening. This news fell on even republican ears with all the ill grace of a googly. Leg before wicket, Martin!
You’d nearly think this was an orchestrated campaign by the IRA’s Army Council to re-write the IRA’s sporting past!
Gerry ‘break the bastards’ Adams couldn’t find it in his craw to admit any participation in bowling maidens over, jaffas, dead balls or minefields, but appears happy that Sinn Féin have taken The Ashes of Stormont.
It’s unlikely but not impossible that Mary Lou and Michelle will suddenly confess a love of ball tampering, bump balls and new balls, but if they do, I’m calling OUT…
Was your average Unionist converted by any of this vomitous hypocrisy?