Fighting Irish

March 11th, 2016 | Uncategorized

I’ve noticed something about blow-out games here in Ireland. No matter the score or the time on the clock, so many of the teams I have seen play fight their hardest until the very last buzzer. Last Friday, I was watching a U16 game finish up before I was to coach the U18 Old Leighlin girls. I was laughing in disbelief as I saw something happen – something I’ve seen here before. Even though they were up by more than 20 points, the winning team was gunning hard to score on their last offensive possession, as the clock ran down to zero. I turned to Karen, the mother of one of the U18 players, saying that that would be considered poor sportsmanship at home. She laughed, saying it was the ways of the fighting Irish.


That night, I realized is that this behavior isn’t considered poor sportsmanship by the losing team. They expect that kind of competitiveness. That next game that I coached found the Old Leighlin team at the losing end of a pretty large margin against Portlaoise. We were playing the strongest team in the league. We had won our previous match up against them by 40 points, when they were down in numbers and missing their best players. That night in the Panthers gym, we had to lose by less than those 40 points to secure first place in the league. When half time saw us down by 20, Harrison and I became concerned that staying under 40 points might actually be a challenge. But the girls came out gunning in the second half, playing just as hard as I’ve ever seen them play, despite the score difference. In the end, we actually lost by less than 20. When I saw how hard those girls played until the last buzzer, it dawned on me that those girls would even be offended if the winning team didn’t try to score on the last possession. I guess it really is the way of the fighting Irish. 


Victory Scholar: Lillian McCabe

Present University: IT Carlow

US League: Atlantic 10

Club/Community Partner: ITC Basketball

Alma Mater: Davidson College

Sponsored by: Teamwear Ireland

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