To follow up on the Ryder Cup preparations I mentioned yesterday, the Minister in Ireland for Sports and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, yesterday warned Irish traders and business people not to exploit visitors during the three-day international golf tournament - or they face nothing less than the wrath of
Khan the law.
Within the hotel sector, of course, there are maximum prices which hotels can charge and they can go up to those maximum prices but they may not go beyond them
Minister O’Donoghue helpfully explaining the meaning of the word maximum there. And the Belfast Telegraph weighs in:
President Mary McAleese will formally open the 36th Ryder Cup before an hour-long pageant of music, myths and legends featuring more than 300 performers which will be broadcast to TV audiences across the globe.
The spectacular will attempt to recreate the massive cultural impact of Riverdance when it first aired across Europe during an interval in the Eurovision Song Contest
Does anyone remember how Riverdance didn’t attempt to recreate anything when it began? Note also how “myths and legends” has now crept into the proceedings - this is where we need to worry.
One thing that puzzles me is the quote I keep seeing saying that the Ryder Cup will be the biggest sporting event ever hosted in the country, with 40,000 visitors attending each day. I’ve been in crowds of over 50,000 at both Lansdowne road and Dalymount Park for soccer internationals. And Croke Park from any era, even during reconstruction, holds considerably more than 40,000. Even last Saturday’s Leinster semi-final had almost 70,000.
Ah yes you say, but the Ryder Cup is a 3-day event, and three 40,000s are 120,000 as any school kid who knows his 40,000 times tables will tell you. I see what you’re saying, but then I was at last year’s All-Ireland Quarter Final between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park, which was a draw and so was replayed when I was back here in Kansas City. Attendance for the two games combined - but the one fixture - was 160,000.
Any big game replayed will yield similar figures - indeed the Leinster first round Dublin Meath saga of 1991 which required three replays to find a winner, would be hard to beat for a single fixture with attendance being something close to 300,000.
But no you protest, the Ryder Cup is a single tournament, a single event. Well the All-Ireland Championships in football and hurling are single events. World Cup and European Championship qualifying rounds are single tournaments.
And I could go on, for the nub of the issue is the hosting of foreign people to play an event. People are peachy proud that sportspeople from all over the world, well the US and a chunk of Europe, are coming to Ireland.
And yes I know that an estimated one billion people are expected to tune in to the opening ceremony, but that’s only because they’re expecting to watch golf. When they realize it’s another Irish dry ice extravaganza, an estimated one billion people will tune out.
In truth, given its proximity to the Curragh, also in County Kildare, the Ryder Cup will be the biggest sporting event ever hosted in Straffan.