Advertisements

Archive for the ‘ Irish News ’ Category

Hibernian-The Lost Connection

Hibernian football club, founded in 1875, is a very unique football club whose inception as a club tells a tale of how two communities, from different countries, came to grow into one.

The origins of the Hibees interested the Edinburgh natives and indeed natives of Leith, the suburb in which they boast their famous Easter Road stadium. However the beginnings of Hibernian owe their roots to Ireland and its emigrants who settled in the Cowgate area of the city in the 1800s.The club, whose name reflects a common association with Ireland, is very much a reward for all associated with the successful integration of Irish people into the Scottish capital. 

During the 1800s a large number of Irish left home for Scotland, with the majority preferring to locate themselves in Glasgow and only a handful moving to Edinburgh. The Cowgate would become known as “Little Ireland”, as statistics in 1821 proved that 12 000 Irish were resident there. The area was well deprived and run down, it was home to some of the poorest slums in the world. While work was not widely available, most Irish opted to join the Scottish army, but a handful set about installing a belief of community in a different manner.

The St Patrick’s Church in Cowgate had founded a Catholic Youth Mens Society(CYMS) in 1865.The Irish community was not integrated into the wider Edinburgh community, but Canon Edward Hannon was looking for a way to achieve this. Michael Whelehan, an emigrant from Roscommon suggested to Canon Hannon that the CYMS should form its own football club. In a meeting on 6 August 1875, Hibernians was founded, with Canon Hannon as its first manager and Whelahan as its first captain. They adopted the harp as the official club crest and decided on a motto to unite all, Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever). .

The club struggled to achieve league status, after appealing to the Scottish Football Association they were told that the FA were catering for Scotsmen and not Irishmen. Fierce rivals Hearts did Hibs a favour in 1875 by playing them, despite the fact that the FA had said no club should play “the Irish club”. This further boosted Hibs chances of joining the league.At the outset only members of CYMS could play for Hibs but the club folded in 1891, when they reformed a year later this policy changed and they dropped the S in their name. The Irish immigrants now had the heart within their community, and a heart that would allow for greater integration with their Scottish counterparts.

The club model adopted by Hannan and Whelehan was followed by Irish emigrants in the cities of Dundee and Glasgow, with the foundation of Dundee Harp (1879),Glasgow Celtic (1888) and Dundee Hibernian(1909-later became known as Dundee United)
All the clubs boasted some resemblance to the Hibees.  Fast forward to the modern day and the green hooped jersey is what many attribute to Celtic; however it was Hibs who originally wore the jersey first. Likewise the Edinburgh club were originally known as The Bhoys, a modern day nickname for the Parkhead club. Likewise the Dundee clubs both adopted the green, a colour best associated with Ireland but when Dundee Hibernian became Dundee United in 1923 they dropped the green jersey.

Into 2009 and things are quite different, as they have been for decades. Celtic are now the best supported team in Ireland and Hibs don’t boast much of a following on the green isle. Hibs are not seen today as being an Irish or Roman Catholic institution as it was in the early years of its history. For instance, the Irish harp was only re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000. This design reflects the three pillars of the club’s identity -Ireland, Edinburgh (the castle) and Leith (the ship). Geography rather than religion is now seen as the primary reason for supporting Hibs, [who draw most of their support from the north and east of Edinburgh.

Is it Hibs fault that they are not as popular here? Celtic are seen as the team to follow, if your Catholic or Irish it is most probable that you are a Celt, such are the Irish links with the club. In a similar manner by which Hibs boast a harp on their crest, Celtic boast a shamrock, another traditional symbol associated with Ireland, on theirs.

Celtic are the club that have always had the financial power to win league titles whereas Hibs, four time league winners, are more reliant on their youth academy to produce players. While Hibs have a very successful youth structure, they are getting ever closer to Celtic as the money men in Scottish football are not putting the money in any longer. Indeed all Scottish clubs will be soon be operating off a similar level to the Old Firm, as Both Celtic and Rangers are suffering in the current economic climate.
Is it arguable that Hibs, who were seen as the first sectarian club, have lost their Irish fanbase to Celtic by dropping their somewhat sectarian stance? It is a valid point to ponder. Religion plays an important role in Scottish football, just ask any Celtic or Rangers fan and thus it gives rise to sectarianism abuse, something the Edinburgh club does not want to be associated with. Their desire to be far removed from the realms of sectarianism has seen their fanbase in Ireland decline, but it has left them with a solid reputation as a pure football fraternity.

Perhaps its Celtic`s very successful marketing machine and indeed their success on the pitch, that has seen their vast fan base grow. There is no obvious reason as to why the popularity of the Glasgow club is much bigger than their Edinburgh counterparts, who paved the way for their foundation.  Hibs were regularly invited to play in Glasgow before Celtic were founded by brother Walfred, who founded the Parkhead based club in 1888.He founded Celtic with the belief that Glasgow’s  large Irish population could lead to a similar success story and he was right. John Glass was the clubs financial backer at the time and he initiated a degree of professionalism in Scottish football by enticing Hibs players to Celtic with the offer of lucrative wages. This severely affected the Hibees who went into major decline, while the Celts won four league titles during the 1890s.   

Will the Hibees evergreen contingent of  Liam Miller, Graham Stack and young hitman  Kurtis Byrne help Irish fans rediscover their long lost connection with the Edinburgh Club?
Is originality not the essence of our support? Irregardless as to whether it is or not, the Irish people who support football in Scotland should give the Hibees more consideration when deciding who to follow.

By Glenn Dowd

Advertisements

The Irish Abroad

It is estimated that there are 70 million people in the world who claim to be Irish or who claim Irish origins or roots; did you know that? The spread of Irish people reaches every corner of the globe. While we are not viewed as a top football country, we hold a claim that wherever we travel we bring football with us. Here are elements of Irishness in world football that may come as a surprise to you.

Hibernian FC (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Hibs were the brain child of Cannon Edward Hannon and Michael Whelehan, who were members of the Catholic Youth Men`s Society. They were looking for a mechanism that would integrate the strong Irish population in the city with that of the natives. Whelehan put the idea of a football team to Hannon and this laid the foundation for the creation of Hibs.
The Cowgate area of the city, effectively known as “Little Ireland” was home to 12 000 Irish emigrants and in 1875 they were given a sense of community with the birth of the Hibees.  Hannon and Roscommon native Whelehan had established a model that would be followed in other Scottish cities.

Celtic FC (Glasgow, Scotland)

Glasgow boasted a far greater Irish population than Edinburgh during the late 1800`s.Brother Walfrid was an Irish Marist brother based in the city and was desperately trying to ease the plight of the Irish immigrants.
Walfrid was a keen fan of the Hibs model and had invited them to play in Glasgow on a few occasions, before deciding that the Irish population was so strong that they could have their own team. Thus, Celtic were born in 1888.To this very day the club maintain strong links with Ireland and boasts vast support there.

St Mirren FC (Paisley, Scotland)
St Mirren was founded in 1877 as a gentleman`s club boasting a variety of games including football, rugby and cricket. The club is named after Saint Mirren or Mirin who is the patron saint of Paisley.
Saint Mirren was born in Ireland and went to the monastery at Bangor Abbey in County Down. He became prior there and sought to spread the Christian Faith. His travels brought him to Scotland where under the leadership of St Regulus he brought the gospel to the west of Scotland. This is the only link the club has to the Emerald Isle.

Dundee United (Dundee, Scotland)
The last of the Irish links with Scottish teams takes us to Dundee United. Dundee United was founded originally in 1909 as Dundee Hibernian, an acknowledgement of the successful Hibees in Edinburgh. Dundee Harp had existed in the city from 1879 until 1897 but then the strong Irish population in the city needed a new club.
The club is known as the Tangerines, in reflection of the colour of the jerseys. When they originally founded they wore the traditional green and white hoops first used by Hibernian. A change of name in 1923 brought about a change of colour. The club was seen originally as a catholic outfit but have moved away from that. The only connection that the club still boast with Ireland is the Irish players they currently have amongst their ranks.

UD Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
The club were originally founded by Irish students in 1907 although they now claim their official year of foundation to be 1923. Not much is known about their Irish links but they set a trend that few Irish men would follow. Patrick O’Connell became manager of Racing Santander in 1922 and in recent times Kevin Moran (joined Sporting Gijon in 1988), Ian Harte (joined Levante in 2004) and Steve Finnan (joined Espanyol in 2008) have ventured to Spain in search of glory.

Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Velez Sarsfield are based in the Liniers neighbourhood of western Buenos Aires. The club was founded in 1910 and boast a rich and successful history, having won 7 titles to date, their most recent been in 2009. The club are named after Dalmacio Velez Sarsfield who was an Argentine Lawyer and politician of Irish descent. He wrote the Argentine civil code of 1869, which founded civil law within the country. 

Club Deportivo O’Higgins (Rancagua, Chile)

The Chilean club was founded in 1955 and were named after Bernardo O’Higgins, who was a South American independence leader, who helped free the country from Spanish rule. The club boast a tri colour as their crest in recognition of O`Higgins who was born in Chillàn to an Irish Father. His father was Ambrosio O’Higgins, a Spanish officer who was born in Ballynary, County Sligo.  Bernardo never met his father who was governor of Chile from 1788 until 1796 when he became the Viceroy of Peru.

St Patrick FC (Zabbar, Malta)

Originally known as Zabbar United from 1935, the club opted to change their name to St Patrick Fc.  This was in order to associate themselves with independence seekers, who sought to break free from the English hold over the country.  The club who currently play in the top flight of Maltese football boast a shamrock on their crest; this is an indirect link to Ireland.

Floriana FC (Floriana, Malta)
Floriana were founded in 1894 and are nicknamed The Irish, as they wear green and white. These colours were adopted in 1905 as at that time the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were stationed in the city. The regiment played Floriana three times that year in friendlies and they swapped shirts. The officials of the Fusiliers expressed their wish to see Floriana wear their colours and this is how it came into force.
The club were recently managed by former Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers manager Roddy Collins. They also boast a link with Shamrock Rovers.  
 

Montreal Impact (Montreal, Canada)
The club was originally known as Montreal Supra from 1988-1992 before it went out of business. The impact club was founded in 1993 to give Montreal a football team they so dearly craved.
The original club, Montreal Supra, were founded by the Montreal Hibernian society. The club itself emerged from the shadows of an older club, Montreal Hibernians, and the Irish population in the city had been strong for over a century.  The club also boasted top GAA and rugby teams.

Panathinaikos (Athens, Greece)
The club was founded in 1908 but while they boast a shamrock as their crest and wear a green jersey, they have no real Irish connection.

Guillermo Brown (Argentina)
Guillermo or William Brown was born in Foxford, County Mayo in 1777.He is regarded as a national hero in Argentina for helping win victories in the Argentine war of independence and he is also known as the father of the Argentine navy.  Four clubs exist in his honour. Club Atletico Almirante Brown was founded in 1917 in the town of Arrecifes. They compete in the Liga de futbol de Arrecifes.

Club Almirante Brown de Isidro Casanova were founded in 1922 in Isidro Casanova. They play in the Primera B Metropolitana. Brown Athletic Club were founded in Adroguè in 1945 as a multi sports club. They have never played in the Primera division.  Club Social Y Guillermo Brown or Guillermo Brown for short is a football team from Puerto Madryn in Chubut. Also founded in 1945, they play in the third tier of the Argentine league. 

By Glenn Dowd

 

 

Martin Calls For Change

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said Fianna Fáil should change its leader before the upcoming General Election.

The Cork native who has held the position since 2008,  said he has offered his resignation to the Taoiseach Brian Cowen. However the Taoiseach refused to accept his decision .

Speaking to the media this evening, he said that throughout his time as a Minister he has given his views in an honest and open way.

He said that he has reluctantly concluded that Fianna Fáil should change its leader before the General Election.

He welcomed the Taoiseach’s announcement this evening to table a vote of confidence in his leadership, stating that  he will be voting against Cowen staying in power . Rumours of Martin planning to be the next leader of the party are gathering momentum and his comments will further add fuel to the fire. 

He said the continuing decline of the party was a reason for him offering his resignation. Latest opinion polls and resignations of key party members led him to the move. He said the ‘survival of the party is at stake’.

Martin, was speaking at a news conference at Dublin`s Alexander hotel, hours after Cowen refused to stand down, believing it would be in the best interest of the party if he led it inot the next general election.

Michaela Returns Home

The remains of Michaela Mc Areavey were brought to the home of her parents in Co Tyrone tonight. Continue reading

Vatican Fury Over Mass Gags

  Irish Facebook users have been widely condemned by the Vatican, after hundreds of jokes relating to Mass and the church originated on the website. Continue reading

Advertisements
Advertisements