As we face in to the long winter nights, it’s possible some could become overwhelmed with a sense of doom and gloom but, we must consider how the ups always overcome the downs to give us some perspective in the coming months.
Galway’s hurlers had victories this year against Dublin, Offaly, Wexford, Tipperary and Waterford to win the All-Ireland title. For the first time in 29 years it was our turn to triumph against all-comers. Last year it was Galway’s cultural success that beat off competition from Limerick and Dublin to claim the European Capital of Culture title for 2020.
Bringing Liam McCarthy back across the Shannon was a rich and long-awaited sporting success for Galway but overcoming the stiffest of competition to host the European Capital of Culture not only puts Galway on the map as a leading cultural centre but also offers the hope of medium-term economic prosperity, quite apart from giving all Galwegians a great sense of pride of place.
It appears now that Irish rugby will fail in its attempt to host the coveted Rugby World Cup in 2023. The failure to grasp this coveted responsibility is fresh in our thoughts as the bid team battle against the odds to reap the reward.
Whether this will prove an omen for the Irish rugby team as they prepare for the November internationals and the 6 Nations is probably a spurious correlation to draw but, one thing is certain: Ireland may lose out on an unprecedented economic windfall in the wake of the failed bid.
Following the technical judging phase, Ireland stand last of three bidders – South Africa and France being the others. On November 15th there will be a secret ballet of the World Rugby judging panel which will ultimately dictate who hosts the competition.
Ireland boasts more tourists per year than South Africa with 10.5 million people arriving annually. Rugby World Cup fans would add an additional €800 million to the country’s coffers. The potential economic windfall that hosting the World Cup in 2023 would bring is indisputably phenomenal.
Although Irish Rugby is in the midst of rethinking its bidding strategy in the final weeks before the judging panel makes its decision, it goes to show how fortunate Galway has been winning both the 2017 All-Ireland and the European Capital of Culture honour for 2020.
If we prepare for 2020 as well as this year’s hurling squad, we may be in for a real windfall.
Surely that gives us a twinkle of light as we head into the dark evenings of winter 2017?