Updated: 05/02/18 : 05:43:13
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‘Munich’ only ever meant one thing to us

By Eugene McGloin

MNEMONICS ARE a quare name but great stuff, a powerful aid to memory.

Over half a century ago we were told by teachers how to correctly spell ‘catechism.’

The mnemonic was ‘Call Adam, Tell Eve, Chrissie Higgins Is Selling Milk.’

We might not have much known what was in the book itself but, forever, we could spell catechism correctly.

 Munich. To the generation before I was born that one word smells of and spells appeasement, duplicity, double cross of decency. 

To my own generation the word ‘Munich’ spells out a full day frozen, forever.

Six Words

February 6th 1958. Munich. The mnemonic is memorable if not wholly accurate.

‘Manchester United Never Intended Coming Home.’ Like Hemingway, it tells the bones of a whole story in six words. Almost.

Adrian Eames, pictured above, 14 minutes documentary on RTÉ’s Sunday Sport yesterday afternoon brought vividly to life a story that will never die.

The Munich air crash is like the ‘Kennedy moment’ to a later generation — its info garnered from a crackly wireless in ‘58.

Opened Shop

People in Ireland know where they were, what they were doing and who first told them of the crash.

Soccer stalwart Paddy Gilmartin had just opened a shop in the new housing complex at Doorly Park.

My mum would not have been a serious Saturday football fan but she recalls vividly how the Munich tragedy reduced him to tears. 

United had played in Ireland just months previously.  One of those killed was Liam Whelan, a Dubliner. 

There were other Irish but the story is not anymore just about football.

Predicted Death

Eames’ RTÉ documentary focuses on the first-hand narrative of Irishman Harry Gregg.

So many of his friends and colleagues died. They even predicted Death as the plane spun in slush in abortive attempts at take-off.

There were others who might have died but for the bravery of Gregg. 

Even after sixty years you want to hear every whisper as Gregg narrates it all so vividly.

Postscript: Ireland’s Own magazine cover story last week was the Munich crash. 

But who was ‘Liam Miller’ mentioned on its cover? Surely it was Liam Whelan, one of Ireland’s own.