The Tipperary soldier has always been one to lead the way, and provide an accurate and objective account of any foray, be it a tussle in Sean Treacy Park or a third count in Dan Breen house.
With this in mind I offer observations (with a distinct and proud Tipp slant) from our deployment in Lebanon with the United Nations.
Us ‘Tipp-Boys are of course ever conscious of the similarities between the Lebanaese flag and that of our Rebel friends the wrong side of the Galtees. I therefore anticipate a heightened sense of wariness here in Lebanon come the first round of the Championship. I suspect tensions will ease immediately after the final whistle of this encounter in Thurles, and the Lebanese will observe a much happier, more jovial peacekeeper.
Anyone familiar with military history will undoubtedly be aware of the vital importance of communications in the army. Such is certainly true of Lebanon, where the old Radio Communications issue has a constant nibble.
To make matters worse, United Nations Headquarters seem unperturbed by the fact that we simply cannot get a decent reception for Tipperary Community Radio. The matter came to crisis level when we missed the entire list of weekly Mid Championship hurling results, Stevie O’Donnell’s voice a mere cackle on the Lebanese airwaves.
Being as we are, from Ireland’s largest inland county, the Tipp Man is not regularly associated with seafaring or any such aquatic pursuits.
Overall, Lebanon is not altogether different from Ireland. People everywhere are essentially the same. Everyone wishes to avoid suffering and to be happy. We are serving in a part of the world that has endured much suffering. Being Irish and conscious of the suffering of our own country in the past, we are privileged to assist in the maintenance of peace in this fascinating, historic and beautiful country.
Like all of the young men and women deployed with 105 Infantry Battalion in South Lebanon we miss our loved ones. We are humbled by the prayers and best wishes of those at home. We look forward to returning safely to Ireland next May, having successfully completed our mission in Lebanon.
To all at home in Ireland, best wishes for Christmas and a safe and happy new year to you all.