Doyle says Howya

Shay Given

Shay Given celebrates after Ireland's dramatic draw against Germany in Ibaraki at the 2002 World Cup finals

This Blog thingy exists because there’s a book coming in May 2010 – The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer, by John Doyle.

Hereabouts you’ll find Information and News about the book, links to recent Globe and Mail Television columns, and to other soccer-related Blogs and Web Sites. Possibly, too, outrageous or insightful remarks about soccer and the build-up to this year’s World Cup in South Africa. Tears and laughter, just like the book.

The books opens with a quotation – “In my childhood in a small western town, the local soccer club had the status of an illegal organization.” John Waters, Irish writer, 2002.

It also includes, early on, a description of a game that took place in 2002. At the World Cup in Korea/Japan, Ireland played Germany in a first-round game. The description includes this:

“The Irish have set out to make the stadium look and feel like a stadium in Dublin and they’ve succeeded. They’ve used the national flag – the tricolour of green, white and orange – on which to write slogans, and they are interesting reading. “Kerry Girls in Tour” proclaimed one and behind it stands a group of young women, their arms raised, their voices joining the cacophony of guttural roaring that comes from the sea of Irish supporters. Another flag declares “Ashbourne says howya.” That’s a greeting from a town in Ireland, and one of dozens that announces the presence of people from various country villages, Dublin bars and Cork suburbs. One flag proclaims, solemnly, but with profound grace, “It’s only a game.””

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