Header Random

Monday, 25 May 2009

Seconds, Anyone?

Is one allowed to support a second team?`

This weekend, I watched the Heineken Cup Final in the company of herself. An engaging game, it was good to see Leinster win and cap a truly remarkable year for Irish rugby. The other half had ‘butterflies’ coming near the end of the game but I can’t say that I did. Did I want Leinster to win? Sure. Success for Ireland is success for Ireland. Did I care whether Leinster won? Not really.

I’m a proud Galwegian who spends most of his time in Limerick, the home of Munster rugby and a place where one is expected to support the local team. As someone who’s spent the last six years in college there and thus with a number of other people who have migrated into Munster, I’ve been surprised by the way in which the Stags have been adopted by people from outside the province. “How can you not support Munster?” they ask, incredulously. Well, because I’m from Connacht.

To say that the life of a Connacht rugby supporter is depressing is at best a compliment. We can (and do) make excuses as to why, but Connacht’s Magners League record isn’t the best. Or even the second-worst. Yet we don’t choose the ones we love, or so the saying goes, so I will continue to support them vigorously until the Grim Reaper decides I’ve had enough.

But should I support a second team? Should anyone? While I like to see Irish football clubs and rugby teams etc. do well in international competition, I don’t know if I should support them. It’s a dilemma. Can one like a team that they sometimes compete against? Should I cheer when Dricco scores a try or when Rog kicks a penalty? Or, for that matter, when a soccer player for a team other than Manchester United scores a goal, just because I have some sympathies for his team?

Is it socially acceptable to like more than one team or is a die-hard sports fan a fan of one side per sport/league and no more? I’ve always been a bit sceptical of people who say that they like more than one team but, as Hellie’s butterflies fluttered more and more as the final whistle drew near, I wondered if I was missing out on something by being so close-minded. I still don’t know if I am.


  1. ok I had butterflys, I wont lie about it...they were there. Unlike some people I really cared that Leinster won on saturday, as a Munster supporter I figure since it cant be us (unfortunately) I wanted the Winner to be Irish team, although when it comes to next year I WILL WANT MUNSTER to win! It was a case of national pride on Saturday I wanted the Irish to top the table and thankfully we did...but more then that I WANT Munster to do it next year and I wont take no as an answer! The Butterflys were nerves and excitement-just the way a match is ment to be watched.....right?

  2. Ladies and gentlemen... My better half.

    Would you have enjoyed it more/been more exultant at the final whistle if Munster won rather than Leinster? And would you have supported Leinster in their quarter-final against Harlequins, when Munster were still in the competition??

  3. Thats me!

    Yes I wanted Leinster to win over the Harlequins, i wanted an irish side in the final. I got part of what I wanted....

    Of course I would have been a million times happier of it was Munster in the Final and winning but that doesn't mean I'm notproud that A Irish side got to the final again and that A Irish side won out in the end. Yes it would have been a brilliant end to the competion of Munster won but since they didnt make the final I am genuinely happy and proud that a irish team made it to the fianl and won, even if it is Leinster....I would feel the same way had it been Ulster or (ahem) Connacht in the final and nmot Munster.

  4. So are Leinster your second team?

  5. I'd have more interest in them then Ulster but I still want Munster to beat them at every single game they have together....if it came to it, like Saturday, and it was an irish team that wasnt Munster against the likes of Leicster then yes of course the Irish side have my FULL backing all the way!

    Leinster against Connacht....now thats an arguement for another post!

  6. i think rugby might be the wrong sport. you've chosen munster and ireland because of where you're from. if you were to talk about, say, american football, where more of a thought process goes into the choosing of a team, then this may be a more valid discussion.

  7. are you seriously telling me my opinions aren't wavid now??

    If thats the case explain Galway and Connacht....because I cant believe you have any other reason to support them other then where you're from.....

  8. Of course. but what I am saying is this might topic is more of an issue in sports where teams are chosen for reasons other than geographical ties and the bond is less visceral.

  9. I've watched Munster play, Connacht play and Leinster play, I'm no expert but I grnuinely believe that Munster are the better team and not just because I happent to be from Munster.....If I didnt support the Irish team You'd have issues with that too...we all know that to be true. If it makes you feel better I'll allow you find me american football to watch.....with a tub if ben and jerrys to make it easier

  10. I was there.
    I wore an AIL jersey (sniff, the poor AIL - but that's another thread).
    I couldnt say I "supported" Leinster, but I did not cheer on Leicester either.
    Rugby in Ireland is unlike any sport. For weeks I have tried to come up with a comparison for my work colleagues in Dublin, be it two GAA teams or their favourite English Premiership teams in the Champions League, but it is just not possible.
    In supporting an Irish rugby province, one can have many views -
    You may support a "second" team, and do so throughout the season.
    If your first team loses you can also not bother to cheer on any of the remaining 3 provinces. For years this was normal, but in the age of TV documentaries, message boards online and dare I say it, "celebrity" blogs to not support another irish rugby team is "unpatriotic". I don't agree with it, but I grew up in a surrounding where if Shannon lost to Young Munsters or Garryowen, you can be damn sure I hoped the next team they came up against gave them a hiding to nothing.

  11. I agree Rob. Rugby is different. I'll ask you about another sport that I know you follow. Would you ever dream of supporting/sympathizing with an American Football team other than your Jags?