Those readers familiar with League of Ireland and schoolboy soccer in Ireland are all too aware of the drain of talent that leaves these shores each year. Since the post-war period the best Irish players have all left this country to embark upon professional careers, almost always in Great Britain. It's an accepted position amongst those involved in Irish soccer supporters that players have to leave to improve. A lack of investment, relative to what is available in England, coupled with vastly higher wage rates and opportunities means that players don't have a decision to make once the call comes from across the water.
The thing about this scenario is that it is not inevitable. Labour would flow the other way if the investment and resources were in Ireland. Horse racing proves this point.
Horse Racing Ireland is heavily subsided by the Irish state and as a result, the country has become one of the most successful countries in the world at the sport. State investment, particularly in prize money, has attracted international owners to investment in the Irish horse racing industry. Yesterday, it was announced that leading English flat jockey Ryan Moore would become the first rider for Tipperary based trainer Aidan O'Brien. Moore, from Brighton, was crowned Champion Flat Jockey in 2006, 2008 and 2009, and is widely regarded as one of the finest jockeys riding today. His commitment to O'Brien and the Ballydoyle Stable will no doubt require him to spend an awful lot of time in Ireland. An infrequent, but nice example, of how a leading English sportsman has come to Ireland to excel.