Peter O’Mahony, be gentle with us tennis players. How about a little sporting solidarity here?

I’ve heard of a player who dislocated a shoulder while stretching for a smash and was lucky enough to have a medical professional on a nearby court

The men’s rugby team did us proud on Saturday and Peter O’Mahony is a national treasure. A warrior, by all accounts who, according to numerous testimonials, takes no prisoners. And we love him for that and also for getting all emotional during the national anthem before the game. And let’s face it, Amhrán na bhFiann, while perfectly functional, is no La Marseillaise, which leaves the French and non-French viewing public alike yearning for a barricade to storm but a nearby one at that, as there’s a match about to begin.

But I digress. Let me get straight to the point. I have a bone to pick with Peter. In one of those media events in the week before the Ireland-Scotland game, he referenced the physicality of rugby and added, with no doubt the boldest of grins, that he and his team-mates weren’t “playing tennis or golf, you know what I mean?”

Hey, Peter, I’m a tennis player! A very low-level club player but a player nonetheless. And I’ll watch golf on the telly, when there’s nothing else on. So how was it that we tennis players and golfers – and let me put myself forward as spokeswoman for both groups here – suddenly found ourselves the object of the cheapest of cheap shots?

Look, I get it that neither tennis nor golf entails the kind of physical combat you’ll see on your local rugby pitch. I don’t generally launch myself over the net to tackle an opponent who’s just sent a backhand pass down the tramlines.

Well, maybe at the weekend.

But I suspect there was more to the comment than just that. I picked up a definite nuance of sporting superiority. A perception of us tennis players and golfers going about our business while sipping tea or exchanging recipes or engaging in a little needlework. Although – damn it! – I did actually get a very good veggie recipe during one tennis game.

And look, if it’s injuries you’re talking about, we can compete with you there. A tennis elbow is no joke and painful knees are, indeed, painful. Tennis involves short, sharp bursts of activity followed by a sudden stop and therein lies a lot of the physical problems associated with the sport. I’ve even heard of a player who dislocated a shoulder while stretching for a smash and was lucky enough to have a medical professional on a nearby court who did the needful while basically asking her to look the other way.

And then there’s the threat from passing wildlife. At the Indian Wells tournament in the last few weeks, a game had to be suspended due to bee infestation. A swarm decided that the court on which two top-level players were slamming the ball at each other required further investigation. They colonised one of the TV cameras and had Carlos Alcaraz, dancing from foot to foot, attempting to swat them away with his racket. He ended up being stung and the entire match suspended while the bees were hoovered up.

And you think that was bad? In a warm-up tournament to the Australian Open earlier this year, a venomous snake – and by all accounts, one of the least cuddly of all venomous snakes – managed to slither its way on to a court, close to where the ball kids were hanging around. So everyone had to go and have a cup of tea – damn it! – while that was being dealt with.

And as for golf, well, there’s always that fear of being struck by lightning, which generally isn’t high up on the list of occupational concerns for rugby players.

And I checked the wildlife angle there as well and even the most cursory search came up with images of kangaroos and giraffes on golf courses, (not the same golf courses), and loads of stuff about alligators sloshing around water hazards. The BBC even had a piece about disgruntled male alligators, shuffling from fairway to fairway and green to green, in an attempt to set up home in one of these lakes and ponds only to be chased away – by fellow alligators, that is, not golfers. Although, now that I think of it, it might have been both.

Anyway, when’s the last time anything like that happened in the Aviva?

So Peter, be gentle with us. We’re on your side. How about a little sporting solidarity here? But there’s no hurry. Take your time while you’re mulling over all of this.

It’ll give me a chance to put the kettle on and – damn it! – take out my embroidery.

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