TH12 – Erin’s Bane

There is no doubt about it, Thierry Henry handled the ball before passing it to William Gallas who then headed past Shay Given. France will go to South Africa. Ireland will not.

Even if you are the most pro-French of the pro-French, you have to accept that there was a gross injustice done to the Ireland football team. But I ask you, with a FIFA World Cup Finals place on the line, is it beyond belief that a player would take a chance at scoring in any manner possible? I wonder how Michel Platini felt when he saw the replay. How ironic!

Some call it cheating. Since he’s gotten away with it, others will call it opportunistic. It’s a sad day for Ireland and maybe a sadder day for Henry, reputation-wise.

Unless the governing body implements an acceptable way for preventing this kind of thing, it will be seen as the real loser. This is a massive opportunity to get that done. Maybe the suggestion to place an official behind the goal isn’t such a bad one after all.

So now Thierry Henry is the new Maradona. He will be forever remembered as the guy who cheated Ireland. He woke up yesterday a respected, revered, beloved footballer. He went to bed a controversial figure at best.

I don’t like what Henry did. I will never condone it. With all due respect to the Irish however, I blame the referee and his assistant for not putting themselves in positions to see the infraction. Henry did what a high percentage of players would do.

This might be pouring salt on the wound but the purist in me would rather see Ribery run at defenders, not Duff. I feel sorry for the Irish fans but I couldn’t be happier that Robbie Keane won’t participate in South Africa. I’m somewhat disappointed that Henry’s image has been tarnished but John O’Shea’s missed chance made me smile.

Most important, I’m glad Gallas hasn’t joined the list of injured Arsenal players.

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