With Ireland's dismal decline in soccer now more apparent than ever. I am beginning to feel that it is possible that Rugby will become Ireland's No.1 sport, eventually surpassing Gaelic games. If the success of the Irish provinces can be channeled into the National squad, our sport is poised to capture the hearts & minds of the population. I base this conclusion on a number of factors. 1. Even members of my own family who never had a bit of interest in Rugby now regularly watch games, albeit on the Tv. The thousands of kids who are turning up to training ever week, even in regions that have no major tradition of rugby. I personally have never seen so many youngsters play & it's fantastic.
The preference of GAA people such as for example young Sweetnam signing to play pro-rugby instead of senior county hurling in a GAA mad county.
It'll take some time, perhaps another 10 to 15 years, but it's coming.
Like the Kiwis (although we may never love it as much as them our the Welsh) Rugby suits our psyche.
Soccer is largely finished in Ireland at the top levels, not due to lack of talent but mainly down to an 'organisation' who choose to pay their CEO a quarter of a million a year, when their national league considers 300 to be a good crowd. I take little joy in it's decline as I grew up on soccer.
There will come a coach who gets the absolute best out of the young, talented rugby players on this island, who will succeed internationally. When that happens then Rugby will be our game for good.