Feature

When a national sport gets sleazy.

The week's news at a glance.

Ireland

Declan Lynch
Irish Independent

Gaelic football was once a hallowed Irish tradition, said Declan Lynch in the Dublin Irish Independent. The game, a native Irish version of soccer that dates back to the 19th century, is still Ireland’s most popular spectator sport. But the fan base has become sullied. Last week, many who attended the Dublin vs. Meath match “were speaking darkly of fans openly snorting lines of cocaine in the toilets.” A more un-Irish activity could hardly be imagined. First of all, cocaine is expensive, and Gaelic football has always been a game for the people. Worse, several of the snorters allegedly sported mustaches—and they weren’t even foreigners. It’s a bit of comfort that “the traditional ways have not been entirely abandoned,” since the “coke fiends were also said to be drinking savagely.” Still, back in your father’s day, fans could be depended upon to brawl in the stands fueled by nothing but beer and whiskey. It’s a sad time for Ireland when “the buzz of a big match is not enough in itself to excite” us.

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