Play up!

Posted by Henry on December 17, 2004

In Reply to: Up Cork or Up (?) posted by Shae on December 17, 2004

: : : What is the origin of 'up' as a shout of support or encouragement? I remember shouting 'Up Cork' as a sign of support for the Cork teams in hurling or football when I was young. Is this a phrase used only in Ireland or is it still in common usage anywhere else?
: : : Why 'up?'
: : : I haven't heard it used much here in the US except as a toast in some Irish pubs.

: : 'Up' a team could simply be from league matches in which the team strive to be at the top of the table.
: : 'Onwards!' would be better suited to cup competitions - as in 'on towards the final!'

: : Portsmouth aka 'Pompey' have a chant 'play up Pompey, Pompey play up' to the tune made by a carillon of bells.

: : L

: And supporters of the County Down football team really do shout 'Up Down!'

Play up! Play up! And play the game!
By Sir Henry Newbolt

There's a breathless hush in the close to-night
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

'Play up' has two senses, and brings echoes of the discussion here on 'act up'.