The Blame Game

Ah, the blame game sucks. Let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippoes!

Sean O’Brien has put his hand up on behalf of his team mates and said that Ireland’s players have to take the blame. Although ‘compacts’ – agreements between parties that don’t really suit anybody – are all the rage across Europe these days, the Mole feels obliged to refuse Seanie’s offer. No dice, big man.

The Mole remembers the Scotland game in 1992 (discussed here) where Ireland, and Ralph Keyes in particular, were booed off the pitch. This was the same season that the national team went down to NZ and, after a heroic defeat, were smashed off the park in the final test. That tour was referred to before the third test under the impression that those days were long behind us. It seems that during the amateur days players couldn’t tour due to prior work commitments while during the professional days players’ holidays are interrupted due to unforeseen rugby commitments. The result is still much the same though. That’s progress!

The castigation of Keyes wasn’t cool then and hasn’t improved with time. Understandably, that game marked the end of Keyes international career and he was spared the trip to Paris that concluded the Five Nations. Instead, Derek McAleese was thrown to the lions and Ireland lost 44-12. That was McAleese’s only cap. That’s the blame that players take: they get dropped. The decision to drop them should remain with the coach, not with the mob.

Supporters don’t want to berate their team, which is why they’re referred to as supporters and not spectators. It’s the same reason the adjective “fair-weather” is pejoratively applied to “fans”; the understanding is that although you complain about your team, you’ll defend them to others, particularly outsiders. That’s the agreement as I understand it from a supporter’s point of view. As this support is given so willingly, it must seem to players that it’s the natural order of things. When it goes, or is taken away, it leaves a vacuum, as David Corkery referred to “I had six months to adjust – I was still paid for six months – and then after that, you’re literally on your own. It was horrific. I wasn’t prepared for it at all”.

Is Seanie suggesting that the players don’t want this support, but would prefer the ire that many people feel? I wouldn’t feel good about that so, sorry Seanie, seeing as it’s my support and blame to give, you can have the former but not the latter. I’m disappointed, but I’m not looking for your pound of flesh. Instead, I adhere to Truman’s maxim about where the buck stops.

“Riefenstahl” Farrelly has used the pages of the Indo to tell the nation how much “the Ireland head coach is compromised in this position”. The same Ireland head coach who was given carte blanche to appoint his own coaching ticket, hasn’t had an assistant foisted on him (Eddie, Declan) as experienced by previous regimes and gets to dictate to provincial coaches about when they pick their players? Pull the other one Hugh, it’s got bells on it.

And if the buck isn’t to stop with our beleaguered and compromised head coach then it has to move onwards and upwards to the suits and blazers who appointed him and retain his services. The mob wants to know what they’re thinking of doing next. Do they know?

20 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  1. Someone needs to call up the IRFU and say: “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.” name the movie and You’ll get a prize actually do it and freak philip browne ou and you’ll get an even better prize

  2. That’s Neo’s closing monologue from the Matrix. Personally I thought that Marlon Brando’s famous quote from On The Waterfront fits young Deccie quite well. “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”

  3. Didn’t Truman also say; “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    So that’s Ireland staying well clear of New Zealand then.

      • God but bring back Van Esbeck, Farrelly and Thornley are just the media spokesmen for the IRFU.
        It has been clear for quite a while that this group of players no longer have faith in DK. In many ways, particularly for the Leinster lads who play such an aggressive and expansive game, DKs approach is stone age and fearful, he fears defeat more than he wants to win. Youth and form are verboten and most supporters are sick and tired of his Delphic pronouncements which are increasingly more bizarre. Moreover and I speak as a Munster supporter, why did he ignore Cave yet brings DOC, who is at the end of his career. Paul Marshall never got a run out and ROG should never have been in the squad. But that is all water under the bridge, the IRFU can continue to embrace mediocrity by sticking with DK or accept that an entirely new approach is required. I hate having to write this as DK is an eminently decent man, but enough is enough.

  4. Great tactic: putting the best player on the tour forward as a spokesperson to say its the players’ fault. (Bit like the IRFU (ab)using the players in its campaign against free-to-air – whatever the merits of that proposal.) Divert the flak from the buck’s destination. I doubt any fan/supporter/informed onlooker would buy it though (unless – of course – they are Goebbels Thornley or Huckleberry Farrelly).
    The optimist in me hopes the alickadoos do have a master plan though and believes that master plan is Mike Ruddock, who has been given the perfect internship for leading Ireland to a decent RWC campaign in 3 years.

    BTW You don’t need to go back to 1992 to remember an Irish team booed off the pitch. I was in Bordeaux for the Georgia debacle and there was some fairly audible booing that day…and to be fair the players’ attitude was terrible that day (even if the coaching ticket was passed its sell-by date).

  5. was listening to the Legend that is Thornley tonote on Off The Ball. He said that the majority of the team was on a bus by 8am the morning after the match headed back to the airport which meant that pretty much everyone had to have packed their bags and been ready to leave BEFORE they even took to the field foe the last test… Unreal! I suppose this initself raises a few questions which the suits and blazers need to answer, namely –
    – is this the norm? Would the IRFU book similar flights for touring teams when they come here? Do Aus and SA also do this?
    – It was told to Thornley that only 48 people could be taken on tour, 30 players and 18 staff. This was in response to his question on why Paddy Wallace wasn’t included in the original touring squad. As the Mole has pointed out before, it is the home nation who pays the costs of the touring team so there was nothing stopping the IRFU from dipping into its own reserves to pay for a couple more lads for cover to travel out. The issue of having Wallace fly halfway round the world at short notice to be part of that last match is another story… I digress. My other point here is that there was nothing stopping the suits and blazers from approaching the airline picked by NZRFU and asking for the flights home to be postponed 24 hours and the IRFU paying any difference. Unless of course, the IRFU DID choose the timing of the homeward flights themselves. Either way, its shocking organisation and management. The old saying “couldn’t organise a pi** up in a brewery” springs to mind…

    • Just another episode in the rank amateurism that passes for management in the IRFU. Any chance they’d ask the Croke Park Boys n Girls to come over and show them how professionals do the job.

  6. I’m staggered at the amount of bullshit in that Farrelly article.

    Any other national coach in the world would give their right arm to have their clubs/provinces bow to the whims of the national coach/setup as much as ours do.

    It is ridiculous for Farrelly to even attempt to argue otherwise. Blatantly lying to your readers should not be something the indo editor should consider likely.

    • I just read it there. The man is a propaganda artist. Also unlike most Indo articles there is no option to leave comment. He must know what he said is 10lbs of crap in a 5lbs bag.

      We need to find someone who was the CEO of a country/team (from any sport) that won consistently when they had no right to. This person should be brought in as an advisor to the IRFU and tell them how Ireland can punch at it’s weight (forget punching above their weight let’s not put the cart before the horse). Think Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares without the cameras.

      How about the American Ambassador to Ireland (Rooney??) who owns the Steelers, he’d probably shake things up in how IRFU as an organisation should be run. Only 3/5 major parts of it are working or being allowed to work. These are Leinster Ulster Munster. Ireland and Connacht are not being treated properly. Connacht=No Money. Ireland=No Innovation or forward thinking and the latter is meant to be the star of the show.

      • Punching our weight says it all, Billy Walsh has done wonders for Irish boxing.
        Rumour has it that Graham Henry took in an interest in Brian Cody’s Kilkenny team as an example of how to sustain excellence and hunger.

      • Regarding leaving comments on the Indo, I once did so on a Farrelly article about Tomás O’Leary considering leaving Ireland. The article was the standard negotiating tactic of stating the benefits of a move abroad, O’Leary’s contract was due for renewal and obviously O’Leary or his agent had asked Farrelly to do a favourable article about the sad loss to Irish rugby of this great servant.

        My comment questioned whether Farrelly had actually written the article or merely copy and pasted from it from an email sent to him by O’Leary’s agent. However the comment never made it to the website, it was heavily edited by a moderator and sadly lost much of it’s impact. I emailed the moderator that I wouldn’t be commmenting on their site anymore as I didn’t appreciate their censorship of my critisism of their journalist. I said I would return to the where the comments section is often more informative and enjoyable than any of the articles largely because they only remove abusive comments and generally let free speech reign.

        The criticisms of Farrelly must have been so bad that I see now they have dispensed totally with the comments section. Very poor. Print media seems to want you to absorb their opinions rather than formulate your own.

      • Cody’s success is largely based on internal competition, Kilkenny players often are not motivated by their direct oppoposition but by the guy sitting on the KK bench ready to step into the breach at the first sign of weakness by an incumbent. The incumbent knows if Cody smells weakness or discerns a drop in form he’ll be dropped like a hot snot. He makes sure there are at least 2 if not 3 players for every position and will develop a player if needs be to generate this competition. Cody picks form players, will drop anyone on the team regardless of reputation, he was nearly ousted in his 2nd year for dropping Charlie Carter. He is the antithesis of Kidney [O’Sullivan marque 2].

  7. So essentially what Farrellys saying is that you cant blame Kidney for his unwillingness to pick players based on form as there’s no national training centre, you cant blame him for his unwillingness to build a squad as there’s no 7s team, you cant blame him for a lack of vision in our gameplan as the Churchill cup no longer exists. You cant blame him for our awful results in the past 2 years as Connacht arent fully funded. Ridiculous article.

  8. Ya that Cody lad seems to have the whole player succession, team hunger thing down alright. It would be great if he was available for a bit of consultation. Oh wait….

  9. Harry S Truman, there is a guy who understands the value of good image and PR…coming from a time when you put an initial into your name which didn’t actually stand for anything!

    He certainly wouldn’t have been impressed by how fez’s quotes prior to the England game were reported by Irish media, then carried by the English media and presented on a plate as motivation for them! Bad PR!

    This particular quote is his most famous and is a bit of an argument-ender in any blame game. As a result it tends to be a touch abused. It is possibly second only in that respect to the famous Vince Lombardi quote….”winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” He was later very annoyed by how that line was used…….. “I sure as hell didn’t mean for people to crush human values and morality.” Anyway, I digress…. on a tangent…..I’d be happy enough for the buck to stop with me, until it actually did. The buck is with declan kidney and he has never shirked it as far as I can see, despite seanie o’brien’s noble efforts at burden sharing . A future captain has emerged and it is now up to kidney alone to beat this rap.

    The best Truman quote and one that has been applied to kidney before… “it is amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Or the blame i guess.

    The mob reference was never intended as a personal dig. It was having a go at the idea of going against people because of where their roots lie.

    • What does the initial ‘o’ stand for paddy?!

      I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of Lombardi’s “Run to Daylight” a few years ago. Thank you Mr Internet. It gave me a different take on a man I associated with the Superbowl and sound bites. Lombardi was intense, no doubt about that, but throughout the book he takes an interest in the lives of his players and his men. His job was to do the best for them and they’d reciprocate. He was a far more human character than his quotes represent.

      Kidney now reminds me of Andy Robinson when he coached England. A passionate and knowledgeable rugby man who is in the position he always wanted, he seems out of his depth – there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in his philosophy. It is possible that the amount of authority devolved to him has overwhelmed him and blunted his edge. Seeing as there’s a picture of Truman up top, it’s been said that there is no possible preparation for life in the Oval Office. Kidney at this stage looks a lame duck and the IRFU must strongly consider revising the structure responsible for the national team when they choose his successor(s).

      • What bugs me is that there is a mindset which just don’t want to give him his chance. I know some people (and try to avoid them) who are nearly angrier the grand slam was won than they would’ve been had it not! If it were bleedin’ Fionn Mac Cumhaill in charge of the team or Ronnie Drew that’d be how I feel. Though Fionn should really be playing himself at lock forward and passing on the reins.

        Just to be clear, because writing like this can leave ambiguities, I am not referring to you in that category. There are times when I’m reading your stuff and am so angry I want to tear off your fingernails one-by-one, then in virtually the next sentence you have me laughing. I don’t think that means I’m suffering from a bi-polar illness, I think that it is a testament to your writing……….you shitbag!!!! – I jest.

        The pingback thing presents a fair analysis of the case for the prosecution (although I don’t agree with bringing in the breaking of contracts bit into it, that isn’t cool). You are entitled to your opinions and they are always brilliantly presented. I accept that Irish rugby and the philosophies of play are bigger than any one person, or group….but……I still believe this ticket should be allowed to see through their contract to turn this around. The players’ support suggests that things are not rotten in the state of denmark – it would’ve been very easy for a player with the hump to stick the boot in now. A decision regarding the world cup can be made one way or the other at that time.

        Regarding me, the o is text speak for a big hug……Stephen Ferris on Genia style! Nah, I’ll keep myself to myself, for now anyways, I’d rather the content of what people say is looked at rather than who they are, where from etc (although Google could probably tell you everything, including what colour underpants I’m wearing if you ask them). It is enough to say I am purely someone who enjoys the game and would stop to watch a game if I saw it from the road, be that football, hurling or rugby. I have absolutely no more influence or contacts in the game than that – you couldn’t get a more rugby nobody in this country. I do just love playing and watching the game though.

        Ps: I agree on lombardi and it turns out Truman was christened with the s. I always thought he added it on for grandeur

  10. Pingback: Joe Duffy On Speed-dial | Digging Like a Demented Mole

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