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March 10 , 2008

Whose Side Are You On?


From the late 1960s, Northern Ireland has been mired in violence. Yet it has had seen more than its fair share of sporting heroes - from footballer George Best, through snooker champion Alex Higgins, to boxer Barry McGuigan. Life was tough for these working-class lads, but they could shine on the football field or find refuge at the town boxing club.

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For other kids, like the young Teddy Jamieson, a knockabout in the back-lanes was as good as it got, but at least they had their heroes. Watching McGuigan on telly, Teddy could feel proud to be Northern Irish. But sport - like everything else in Northern Ireland - could quickly turn nasty when politics were involved.

This extraordinary journey through sport and the Troubles has it all: from Olympic gold-medals to Gaelic football; from death threats to reconciliations. Then there is Teddy's own story, as we learn how the age-old playground question 'Whose side are you on?' doesn't always have an easy answer.

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