Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

25 August 2005 Edition

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Notes from abroad



As you read this I am in the South of France probably still trying to find out what happened in the matches last weekend. I did my best to persuade Ciara that a trip to Kilkenny to see the Dublin Minor Hurlers in the All-Ireland Semi-Final would be an even better holiday but she is becoming too wise for me.

I have to say too that arranging that game for 12.30 on a Saturday afternoon was an insult to both Dublin and Limerick. The downgrading of the Minor Provincial and All-Ireland Championships has been a major flaw in this year's calendar. Apart from the fact that minor hurling and football usually provides excellent entertainment for the crowds, the chance to appear on the big stage has always been one of the bonuses for the players. These games should be moved back to their proper position before senior championship fixtures.

Preliminary inquiries failed to turn up anywhere near where I am staying that would be likely to have television coverage of either Armagh and Laois or Kilkenny versus Galway. I did hear that there was bull fighting not too far away over the Spanish border but any suggestion that such an event would serve as a suitable alternative to watching Armagh must be rejected out of hand.

Speaking of Armagh I did have an offer of a free holiday there following my reference a few weeks back to the 'Flying Elbow County'. An anonymous group of well-wishers asked me to accompany them on a hill walking tour. All I had to do was to be in the car park of the Half Door at 2am last Monday morning. Maybe next year.

Holidays used to be great craic when Dublin were still in the football championship and us kids got to meet others from rival counties down in Wexford. One year Dublin were to play Offaly in Leinster and we discovered that there was a ridiculous expectation on the part of Offaly people that they were going to stuff the Dubs.

Anyway I am afraid that my scepticism in that regard did not help my budding holiday romance. There we were one balmy July evening sitting hand in hand on the sand dunes, drinking Club Shandy when my companion informed me that they were building a large bonfire to welcome home the Offaly team after they won the match.

I responded with a hearty guffaw. Bad mistake. She called me something that definitely had the word Jackeen in it and stormed off before I could produce a suitable response. So there I was left sitting with two warm cans of 0.5% shandy, thinking that a 26-year-old nurse ought to have more sense.

It is hard not to think about what's going to happen this Saturday in the replay between Tyrone and Dublin. It has been predicted by some that both teams will not attempt to play so expansively this time, and will concentrate on limiting the opportunities presented to the opposing forwards. I don't agree. I believe that both teams are at their best when playing fast open football and banking on their forwards making the most of whatever chances come their way.

That can be a precarious strategy as forwards, even the best of them can have off days. Reminds me of the story of the full forward for whom nothing would go right one day as shot after shot went astray. Finally in exasperation after kicking another wide from 20 yards he threw back his head and screamed "Fuck me". To which a woman behind the goal responded: "Jaysus, I wouldn't even kiss ye."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1