Time and fashion can sometimes make well-used, and well-intentioned phrases, seem clunky and anachronistic. It would have taken a brave man to describe one of the repeal campaigners celebrating the referendum result at Dublin Castle as a “lovely girl”.
That genuine expression of admiration might not have been fully reciprocated.
However, another old phrase fallen into disuse seems appropriate this morning — even if the ideas of loyalty and service are not as celebrated as they once were. John O’Shea played his last game for Ireland at the weekend against USA at the Aviva Stadium.
During his international career, which began almost 17 years ago, he amassed 117 caps and played under seven managers — each with very different expectations. During that time he has been steadfast and reliable. He showed a real depth of character, he did not indulge his ego or dress histronics as principle.
He respected the jersey — and himself — in a way that brought honour to both. He was, in the most positive sense of the old phrase, a loyal servant.
Thanks John, enjoy your retirement.