If you could look back on your past to one golden era, where would it be? Most people pick a perfect beach at sunset or a lost week in Paris. For Ronan Leonard it points to one time, aged 10 and watching Italia ’90, and who can blame him? A time where Ireland seemed a world force at the beautiful game, and the nation forgot all its troubles and united behind the boys in green.
On entering the tiny New Theatre, the music being played is Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, and I had already bonded with another Music Nerd. The photocopied A4 sheet you get before you enter tells you that Arab Strap are the best band in the world, so he seems to be taking every opportunity to spread the good word.
Once Ronan Leonard comes on stage, complete with white scientist’s coat, he sets about his task of deconstructing the various songs from our two glorious world cups runs, Italia 90 and USA 94. They are iconic songs to anyone Irish, and my pulse still races when I hear the start of ‘Put them under pressure’ as it does with any red blooded individual. Various themes repeat through each of the songs, Aldridge’s inability to score for Ireland, Cascarino and the Granny Rule, our ‘One man wall’ Paul McGrath, and each line is teased apart to find the deeper meaning, possibly spending more time thinking about them, than those that wrote it originally in some cases.
At times I felt myself dying to interrupt him, and give my two cents, as ‘football is all about opinions’ as Eamon Dunphy says. While this show isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone too young not to remember Italia 90 or without an interest in football, but for the rest of us, it’s a chance to remember part of our glorious past, and to… put them under pressure!
Adventures of a Music Nerd runs until Saturday in the New Theatre (Temple Bar) until Saturday (15th). Tickets are €10-12.
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