Trevor Ringland carries with him in the green and white of Ireland the hopes of us all
A letter from Dr Gerald Morgan:
With regard to your editorial, ‘Trevor Ringland is an inspired choice as an envoy for Northern Ireland in the US,’ June 7, see below.
Over the years I have written hundreds of letters to Irish and British newspapers on Irish and English [sic] rugby. One reason is Trevor Ringland (Ballymena and QUB). Another is Hugo MacNeill (Blackrock and DUFC).
If I have been inspired to do so (some may even think me a bore on this subject) it is because I was in the open maroon stand outside the Lansdowne Pavilion on a sunny day on 8 February 1969 as the England team (my wonderful England team) ran out beneath us. We were in the famous white of England without disfiguring advertisements. We played for the love of England as the Irish played for the love of Ireland with, I think, six famous Ulster players in the team.
We did not have an English anthem for England then as now. Nor did we stand to a British anthem for England in Dublin. What Englishman wants to embarrass his Irish friends and loved ones in the Fair City?
I was in the company of the Old Bovian (Cowbridge GS and DUFC, later OUFC, Northampton Saints and Wales B) philologist Rob Davies, a restraining and studiously objective presence. Having been to Monmouth School as a Gloucestershire scholar in the old days of the Direct Grant (1953-1961) I do not expect a Welshman to support England at rugby fair-minded though he may be in almost all other respects..
It was a great match for us all, English and Irish alike. David Duckham scored a wonderful try for England directly in front of us (seldom shown by the Irish to this day). Ireland won it in the end 17-15 with a conversion from the touchline by Tommy Kiernan (oh that Barry McGann could have done the same against the All Blacks in 1973).
No group of people and no body other than the IRFU have done more for peace and reconciliation in Ireland and between Ireland and England than our rugby players. Had we left it to them we would have had a Grand Slam not Bloody Sunday in 1972.
I wish Trevor Ringland success in his new role.
In a way he carries with him in the green and white of Ireland on the right wing the hopes of us all (as in 1985).
Dr Gerald Morgan, Dublin
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