Ruby Walsh causes a stir by dismissing one of the most memorable moments in Irish football history
“That’s what we do in Ireland, jump up and down about mediocrity.”
Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moment returned to our screens on Thursday night and on this occasion it was the 1990s, a fairly memorable decade in Irish sport, that was up for debate.
Along with hosts Des Cahill and Evanne Ní Chuilinn, a panel of Ronan O’Gara, Derval O’Rourke and Ruby Walsh debated the merits of the moments that had been shortlisted, which you can see below.
- Packie Bonner’s penalty save against Romania at Italia ‘90
- Michael Carruth’s gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona
- Ireland’s victory over Italy at USA ‘94
- Sonia O’Sullivan’s World Championship 5,000 metres gold medal in Gothenburg in 1995
- Clare’s first All-Ireland hurling title in 81 years in 1995
Opinions were never going to be in short supply amongst the panel on the night and perhaps the most controversial one came from Ruby Walsh, who felt that Ireland’s win over Italy shouldn’t have even made the list in the first place.
He does know a thing or two about winning to be fair.
“I don’t think it should be in it, I don’t think it should be there,” Ruby said.
“We won the first game in the group, it’s like winning a heat, that’s all we did.
“We then went to the next match, Mexico beat us, we came back up to Giant’s Stadium and drew, we went back down to Orlando and the Netherlands hockeyed us.”
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) November 16, 2017
Des Cahill attempted to interject to point out the magnitude of Ireland beating one of the biggest sides in the world at the time but Ruby wasn’t finished.
“This is hyping up mediocrity, we got kicked out of the competition,” he added.
“You’re talking about winners, a world champion in Sonia O’Sullivan (Derval O'Rourke suggested Ray Houghton would have had to score in the World Cup Final to compare with Sonia's achievements), an Olympic gold medallist in Michael Carruth, Clare at least won the All-Ireland.
1990 European Finalist,1991 World student games 🥇🥈1992 Olympics 4th, 1993 World 🥈, 1994 European 🥇ER, WR, 1995 World 🥇1996 Olympic finalist, 1997 World indoor 🥈1998 World Cross 🥇🥇. European 🥇🥇1999 baby Ciara & World best 5miles @RTEsport #irelandsgreatestsportingmoment
— sonia osullivan (@soniaagrith) November 16, 2017
“Ireland won one match and came home. I wouldn’t have it there. That’s what we do in Ireland, jump up and down about mediocrity.”
In the end, Packie Bonner’s save was the clear leader with 41% of the vote, with Sonia’s World Championship gold tied with Clare’s All-Ireland win on 21% apiece, followed by the victory over Italy on 11% and Michael Carruth’s gold medal at 6%.
You can watch Thursday night’s episode back on the RTÉ Player here; Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moment will be back to look at the 2000s next Thursday, November 23, at 9.30pm.