RTÉ are running a show examining the greatest moments in Irish sport, and it’s well worth a watch. Each week, a panel of sporting stars discuss some of the greatest athletic achievements by the country’s sons and daughters.
This evening, the 1990s were examined. Jockey Ruby Walsh was a member the panel, which went through Sonia O’Sullivan’s World Championship triumph, Michael Carruth’s Olympic gold, Clare’s unlikely All-Ireland Hurling Championship win, and Ireland’s visits to the World Cup in both 1990 and 1994.
While many would argue that Italia ’90 represented a watershed moment in not only Irish sport, but indeed in the country itself, Ruby felt that the trip to the USA four years later had no place in the conversation.
“I don’t think it should be there. We won the first game in our group. It’s like winning a heat.
“It doesn’t matter who they [Italy] were. Mexico beat us. We went back up to the Giants Stadium and drew. We went back down to Orlando, the Netherlands hockeyed us, and we went home with our tail between our legs!
“This is hyping up mediocrity. We got kicked out of the competition. You’re talking about winners… a world champion in Sonia O’Sullivan, an Olympic gold medalist in Michael Carruth!
“Ireland won one match and came home! That’s what we do in Ireland, jump up and down and roar about mediocrity!”
'We jump up and down and celebrate mediocrity' – Strong views from Ruby Walsh on Ray Houghton's iconic goal against Italy in 1994
Posted by RTÉ Sport on Thursday, November 16, 2017
This divided opinions amongst fans tuning into the show. Firstly there were those who agreed with him…
Brilliant insight on how a proven winner thinks. And he’s 100% right.
— Eoghan Brophy (@eoghanbrophy) November 16, 2017
Ruby for Taoiseach
— Peter Duffy (@duffythejudge) November 16, 2017
— James O’Donoghue (@odonoghuejames) November 16, 2017
…and those who did not…
one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history…hardly mediocrity
— Craig Gibson (@craig2323) November 16, 2017
We actually won a game in 1994 yet he thought 1990 was great when we drew our games. Contradicted himself endless times in that rant
— Michael McHugh (@michaelmchugh86) November 16, 2017
Ruby Walsh being very dismissive of what was a great moment. I could dismiss all his victories as the horse does all the work! #IrelandsGreatest
— Brian Egan (@bokane82) November 16, 2017