Late in the day, in one of the most symbolic matchups, the rope grew taut between the heavyweight men's teams of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For a half minute it inched back and forth before creeping resolutely toward the south, the Republic's eight left feet synchronized like a centipede's, pulling the northerners to defeat. The Ugandan chairman was asked if he knew anything about the troubles in Ireland these days. "Yes," Lukoya said, watching the north slip along the mat. "They are just like us in Africa."