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Walking with Pat/The Premiership and Nick Names

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Walking, talking , rambling, strolling, jogging are all good for the body and soul. They are especially good for you when you meet interesting people and the journey is shortened by the various experiences you share on your rambles. Sometimes you talk about the weather ,sport , politics or someone who is ill or other.

Last week. I had a great chat when `I bumped into my old Sexpistols,/ U2 walking companion.

She was in mighty form because her son was coming home to celebrate Liverpool’s first big domestic win in 30 years and to “ rub it in to mammy “ because she refused point blank to follow the reds.

As we sauntered along Pat asked me which team I followed and naturally I told her that I followed Kerry, but my family always followed Man United in the Premiership because of a family connection with Manchester City.

My uncle who fought on the Normandy beaches returned to Manchester, married , set up a furniture shop and reared his family in that lovely city.We regularly received bundles of Man.Utd match day programmes and followed all their games over many years

She chided me for my aberration in using such a name in her presence, jokingly of course.. T

Pat was very proud to tell me that she follows Brighton Hove Albion F.C. nick named The Seagulls, they being from the seaside town of Brighton. I looked at her with a blank stare and she started her eulogy about the Seagulls. She spoke lovingly about her home patch in Brighton.

Her husband ,a Wicklow man, who follows Norwich football club aptly named The Tractor Boys coming as they do from their rural farming background in Suffolk.

When Ipswich F.C. play Norwich F.C. the game is called the Local Farm Derby instead of the local Derby.

I mentioned that this was a very derogatory term , like we use culchies in Ireland to denote country people .She was very definite that was not the case with her beloved Seagulls. It was a term of endearment and no one ever felt belittled or insulted by the name.

They were both passionate about their teams even though they hadn’t been at a live game for years.

Today I met her daughter in law who follows Newcastle FC and they are lovingly called the Magpies.

So there on a cool Saturday morning on the Burrow Road in North Wexfod we had a Kingdomaire, a Magpie, a Seagull and a Tractor boy discussing the history of the Courtown area 'and not a word about the Premiership.That will be for another day.

Team nick names abound in Ireland with each county having one with its own unique history.

My adopted county of Wexford is no exception with their teams being called d ‘The Yellow Bellies “. This name has a historical significance. Sir Caesar Colclough who lived in Wexford challenged a team in Cornwall to a hurling match during the reign of William 3rd of England. The Wexford team wore yellow sashes in tribute to William as Prince of Orange. Todays purple and gold colours reflect that and some of the followers might not like the connection.

Wicklow is called the Goat Suckers while Roscommon followers are called Sheep stealers .THis came about because in times gone by that was the crime that most Roscommon people were deported for.

Pride of place, I think in my own unbiased way, goes to my own native Kerry. They say that there are only two Kingdoms , the kingdom of God and The Kingdom of Kerry, so where did the second Kingdom of Kerry come from.

John Philpot Curran M.P, magistrate and wit stated in The Irish House of Commons on January 23rd, 1787 when he was addressing a magistrate about a case before his court.

“The low and contemptible state of your magistracy is the cause of much evil particularly in the Kingdom of Kerry. I say Kingdom for it is absolutely clear it is not a part of the same country.

And so, in Ireland the second Kingdom was established, and I leave it to your good self which one you will show greatest allegiance to. It’s a nice story.

PS Thanks to Wikipedia and Wexford papers for extra nick name narratives .

Mick O Callaghan

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