Saturday, May 2, 2009

Supporting the Province

Its said that all identity is constructed. Sometimes this construction is politically motivated, think of the efforts made that we are European. Anyone ever cheered on Europe?

But the relentless hyping of today's Rugby game represents a triumph of marketing over reality.

Yesterday I was speaking at a conference in Cork and was impressed by the amount of homes, cars, business's and people displaying and wearing the colours of the Munster Rugby Team. Driving home the only sign of any Leinster support was a couple of drop down banners on the M8 courtesy of the Leinster Rugby Branch.

Today, canvassing in a local supermarket I bumped into a woman wearing a Leinster jersey. She confessed that she went in to buy the Munster Jersey when she was off on holiday last year but felt guilty and end up with the deep blue of the easterners rather then the red of the southerners!

This obvious lack of association hasn't stopped the game being sold as some sort of showdown derby akin to an Ireland vs England soccer match, Kilkenny vs Tipperary hurling or Fenerbahce vs Galatasary.

The complete indifference of Leinster probably has as much to do with the geographic limits of Rugby in the province. The only cluster of rugby playing being South eastern Dublin with a half dozen serious teams. Conversely the rabid support of their team in Munster is reflective more of their provincialism, enormous chip on their shoulders in relation to Dublin and they thinking they we care.

Rugby is an good spectators sport, high scoring and eventful. But the passion of sport is about the emotion of 'owning' and identifying a team. Todays result will be greeted by the residents of Leinster with a very large yawn - whether win or lose.

No comments: