Ireland won a gold medal at the Olympics this year, but after the appalling intervention of ex-priest and arch-gobshite Neil Horan in the marathon, Cian O’Connor’s performance in the showjumping competition wont’ be remembered as Ireland’s main contribution to the games. Dressed in a kilt and green hat with a handwritten sign on his chest reading “The Second Coming is Near,” Horan attacked the leader of the race, Brazil’s Vanderlei de Lima, at around the 21-mile mark. He knocked the guy over into the crash barriers. Amazingly, de Lima got up and—though he looked like he was in agony—continued running, only to be beaten into third place. Horan’s last public appearance was at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last year, where he ran onto the track. You’ll notice from the news photos that he was wearing the same outfit then as now.
I am of course horribly embarrassed on behalf of Ireland generally, and I hope some of Horan’s sneaking regarders back home will be feeling bad now that they’ve pissed off the whole of Brazil and forever burned their already-slim chances of hitting it off with any of their volleyball players. At the same time, I despaired at the behavior of the Greek officials at the race. Although de Lima had a policeman riding alongside him, and the route was lined with people in official T-Shirts, and this was supposed to be games with the highest degree of camera surveillance in history, Horan had no trouble running out onto the course and attacking the leader. The crowd reacted faster than the police. Even if you didn’t know that Horan had a history of interrupting major sporting events, you’d think that someone at the race might have suspected that the guy in the leprechaun costume with a Star of David on his leg and a message about the end of the world plastered to him just might have been planning to do something when the leading runners and the TV cameras hove into sight.