Think of women fighting and you think of a pub car-park, a misunderstanding over a bloke, a lot of hair-pulling and the phrase “leave her, Marian, she’s not worth it”.
(I was well aware while writing the above sentence that whatever name I chose could cause trouble, as it would imply that holders of that name are less than ladylike, so I decided to use whatever girl’s name I saw next from the bus. So if your name is Marian and you’re feeling a bit miffed don’t blame me, it’s all the fault of the Marian Gale boutique in Donnybrook Village.)
It’s not an edifying spectacle. Yet for eight minutes yesterday the entire country of Ireland shouted encouragement at their televisions as an Irish girl repeatedly punched a Russian one.
This is the first time that Women’s Boxing has featured in the Olympics, and our Katie Taylor, four-times World and five-times European Champion, has won the Lightweight Gold Medal.
We now have five medals- a Bronze in Show-jumping, three that will be at least Bronze in Men’s Boxing, and Katie’s Gold. We’re not quite in the same league as our neighbours from Britain, who are currently winning just about anything they enter. If fishing through a hole in the ice was made an Olympic sport in the morning Britain would win the Gold Medal, beating the Eskimos on the final.
While our tiny country regularly produces football teams that get far further in major championships than our size suggests we should, and while our golfers are currently winning events every second week, we do not historically win a lot of Olympic medals. Activities like running, lepping or dancing on a mat with a piece of ribbon seem to be beyond us.
We don’t even win the Dressage, which is essentially Irish Dancing for horses.
So it is not surprising that we have all got behind this young girl, made her our flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony, and all cheered wildly yesterday. She is from the town of Bray, five miles north of where I live, and for each of her bouts they have had giant screens in the town, and huge crowds have turned up to watch her, and to throw themselves joyously into the sea each time she has won.
For someone in a sport so fierce she is a remarkably shy, quiet girl. She is Ireland’s heroine.
And a real lady.