Michael Moynihan takes us through the alternative Ireland-Denmark confrontations


Clash of cultures: The alternative Ireland-Denmark confrontations

Brigitte Nielsen and Brodir v George Berkeley and the Pixies. Michael Moynihan takes us through the alternative Ireland-Denmark confrontations

Clash of cultures: The alternative Ireland-Denmark confrontations

Back in the black and white footage

No, this goes a lot further back than John Sivebaek’s goal in Lansdowne Road back in 1985, though that was pretty tasty. The big face-off wasn’t exactly FIFA-approved, taking place in Clontarf in 1014, the home side seeking a victory over a boisterous away team.

Victory went to Ireland but at a cost, with tactical mastermind Brian Boru losing his job, and his head, at the hands of Danish supersub Brodir.

Irish players were a little bit naughty in retaliation, with a contemporary account declaring “Wolf the Quarrelsome cut open his (Brodir’s) belly, and led him round and round the trunk of a tree, and so wound all his entrails out of him.” That’s got to be a yellow at least.

Advantage Ireland.

Battle of the turntables. Or the Spotify lists

In the Irish discman (what?) we have U2. Love them or suffer stomach spasms because of them, they’re a major international act whose longevity is a credit to them.

In the Danish discman we have Aqua, who had a hit with a song called Barbie Girl. Remember that? You’re welcome.

Irish win.

Most Likely Product Needed By Small Children

Not even accepting entries here from the Emerald Isle, so don’t even try.

It’s not as if there’s a shortage of plucky entrepreneurs here making cool stuff, but the Danes have . . . Lego. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and his family own Lego and at last count they were worth $21 billion, so there’s a lot of bucks in the little bricks. And don’t get me started on ‘Everything Is Awesome’.

Big win for the Danes.

Celebrity Prime Ministerial Dubious Musical Tastes Deathmatch

Our own tea-shake (sorry) Leo Varadkar is quite the media darling, whereas his Danish counterpart, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has attracted a bit more criticism, not least due to the questions raised by having his hotel room paid for by his ministry while attending a Paul McCartney concert.

Leo, on the other hand, was snapped at a Pixies concert.

See, Paul McCartney of the Frog Chorus versus the Pixies of Doolittle. Not so easy to see a winner, eh?

Pronunciation issues

We all laughed at the lady on Sky News describing Leo Varadkar as the ‘tea-shake’, which admittedly has a ring to it, but who leads in this category?

The Danes must have the upper hand with the likes of Jan Molby and Soren Lerby, deceptively simple in appearance but challenging enough, as the great George Hamilton proved with his inclination to Lerbu and Molbu.

George is above reproach so advantage Denmark here.

Beer in the hand, air in the pocket

As for those complaining about having to borrow from the credit union to drink in Copenhagen, a GoEuro survey two years ago found the cost of a pint of beer in Dublin averaged at €4.87 while a pint of beer in Copenhagen averaged at €5.92.

Advantage Ireland (kind of?)

Great players taking crucial penalties in the all too long ago

This category is won by Ireland sight unseen but it’s also an excuse to discuss one of our favourite Danes, thrusting centre-forward Preben Elkjaer.

Gifted and headstrong - there was some disagreement with a club manager about a disco incident involving a bottle of vodka, or was it whiskey? - Elkjaer had the crucial penalty in the shoot-out with Spain at the 1984 European championships semi-final.

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” he said later.

“I’d taken six penalties for my club that year and scored on all six, so I was sure I could do it.” He put it into the stands, of course.

David O’Leary in 1990. Nuff said.

Advantage Ireland.

Great philosophers take each other on one-on-one

In the white and red corner Soren Kierkegaard, whose gloomy thoughts on religion influenced the existentialists (sample: The yes of the promise is sleep-inducing, but the no, spoken and therefore audible to oneself, is awakening.” Sleep-inducing is right.)

Wearing the green jersey, the great George Berkeley, once Bishop of Cloyne. No less riveting a writer (sample: Whatever power I may have over my own thoughts, I find the ideas actually perceived by Sense have not a like dependence on my will.” Okay, that’ll do.)

Berkeley wins the prize because at least a city in America is named after him.

Advantage Ireland.

Political thrillers on the tellybox

The Danes make a strong comeback in this category. I was going to mention The Killing, with its oddly attractive knitwear, but instead I refer you to Borgen, one of the only on-screen depictions of the negotiation needed for a minority coalition government which doesn’t drive you out to the kettle and biscuits in the kitchen.

Sidse Babett Knudsen, Pilou Asbaek, they’re all here.

On our side of the field, Oireachtas Report. Not even close, unless drain widths in western Mayo get you going.

The Rocky Movies Indigenous Performer Comparative Index

Lighter touch here: the Danes have the upper hand in this context.

While Irish actress Geraldine Hughes plays Marie in Rocky Balboa, one of the less eminent entries in the Rocky canon, we have to give the palm here to Brigitte Nielsen.

She plays Ludmilla Vobet Drago in Rocky IV, wife of Rocky’s opponent Victor “I must break you” Drago.

As Rocky IV was one of the greatest movies of the eighties - ask anyone who was a teenager then - the Danes take this category.

Reaction to the draw

In Ireland: thank God we got them.

In Denmark: Gudskelov, vi fik dem.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox