Momentum is a great thing. It has this kind of momentumishy factor that sort of drags you along and makes you achieve more than you would it you didn’t have that amount of momentumishness. It makes you stand up tall and take a deep breath and with your lungs full of air, it makes you more than you are and helps you stay there.
Connacht Rugby has that at the moment. At the moment, all is going great. Excellent. Winning does that to you, but it’s more than winning. It’s a sense of self. Of belief. Of confidence. Of not showing fear.
I’m not here to talk about the sporting achievement which is immense. I am referring to the plans by the club to become much more than what they are, for the longterm. Plans that if successful will benefit everyone who loves and works in this region.
In the past, it would have been regarded foolhardy to be talking about building stadiums and capital investment on the back of one good season. After all, many many clubs have seen the stars, have flown too close to the sun and had their wings scorched before falling back to earth. But there is a feeling that this is not the case for Pat Lam and Willie Ruane. They don’t seem like the kind of characters who want to come in, taste success and let that be the be all and end all.
How you achieve longevity is through the imposition of structures, of academy, of financial planning, of setting realistic targets, of building a fan base that can only get better. Lessons have been learned from the Munster episode and their beautiful stadium. In a way Connacht will benefit from the scalding suffered so much by this country over the past decade. And they will proceed with caution but with confidence. And they are plans that should be backed by us all.
So what has Galway to gain from all of this?
OK, let’s remember the golden rule.
Anything that’s good for Galway and the west is good for all of us, for our families, our children. Anything that makes living and working here all the better has to be welcomed. Connacht Rugby is a strong brand, a brand that is only getting more solid. And the more that Brand Connacht succeeds, the more Galway can benefit from it. Not just on a sporting front with the creation of more domestic sporting heroes, but of creating Galway as a venue that can benefit from sporting success, from sporting commerce. If Galway can sell 50,000 bednights a season based on Connacht’s attractive rugby against the big lights of European game, then happy days. More bednights means more jobs, more paychecks, more jobs for us all, more reasons why Galway is seen as the happening place, more reasons for companies to want to locate here. More reasons for Galway to be Galway.
Connacht Rugby is not a flash in the pan, a rare moment of success, it is not something that will disappear once key people disappar. In this way, the Connacht success that Lam is building has to become Lam-proof, to be more, and that is something he has bought into. A generation of success and solidity.
Like us all, Pat wants Connacht to become another key aspect of Galway culture. In this sense, it is becoming a sporting version of Druid. Uniquely Galway, with Muldoon the Mick Lally, and Lam the Pegeen Mike who comes in and changes everything.
So get behind Connacht, the idea and the team. And let us all be winners.
But first there’s Saturday…