For many of us, sport consumes and envelopes so much of our lives that it can be very easy, and dangerous, to lose sight of the fact that it is just that. Only Sport.
The shot that looked over but was waved wide, the putt which circled the hole but lipped out or the punt foiled in the shadows of the post. Realistically, none of it matters. Now read on…
Now, however, just pause for a second and think of the moments of sporting greatness which have lifted our spirits incalculably. David O’Leary’s penalty in Genoa, Kevin Foley’s goal for Meath against Dublin or Ireland’s maiden conquest of the All Blacks in Soldier Field, Chicago. It’s one of those questions to which there is no right or wrong answer. Whatever works for you.
Trying to marry the two realities referred to in the previous few stanzas may seem impossible yet it’s the only thing the occupant of this seat can even contemplate doing since news emerged on Saturday evening of the death of 13-year-old Jack de Bromhead after a fall at a pony racing fixture on Rossbeigh beach, Co Kerry.
The teenager was treated at the scene but pronounced dead a short time later. Pony racing has a huge following in Ireland and is seen as an academy for jockeys of the future. The weekend-long fixture in Kerry is seen as their Cheltenham but, understandably, the remainder of the meeting has been abandonned following the tragedy.
The young rider was the son of top class trainer Henry de Bromhead and his wife Heather. Twin brother to Mia and older brother to Georgia. His dad, based at Knockeen, Co Waterford, has trained some of Ireland’s most celebrated National Hunt horses over the past two decades.
Names like Sizing Europe, Sizing Australia, Special Tiara, Putthekettleon, Tellmesomethinggirl, A Plus Tard, Minella Times, and, the greatest of them all, wonder mare Honeysuckle. The trainer has also been primarily responsible for the meteoric rise to superstardom of the inspirational Rachael Blackmore.
May young Jack rest and in peace.