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17 September 2009 Edition

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More than a game By Gael Gan Náire




The Corkmen are coming

IS IT SAFE, I wonder, for a lad to come to Dublin on Sunday? You damn well know what I am talking about now, and not just the normal taking of one’s life in one’s hands when you visit that Sodom and Gomorrah!
I am talking about the bloody Celtic crowd. Writing letters to the paper and making all sorts of silly oul cracks at me. Go away and be a man about it. Crowd of gutties. And let that be an end to that.

THE mighty men of the Kingdom take on the Rebels in the football which, of course, is why I am once again making my way up to the Pale.
The first time I was ever in Dublin was for a Convention of the Volunteers and if you think I am going to tell you when and where you have another thing coming. The Harriers could never get that out of me.
Anyway, that was 1954 and we were making a fierce push for another campaign. It was the year the men of Meath won the football and Cork the hurling. That was a fine Meath team but didn’t they come out the next year in the Leinster final and get an unmerciful hammering from the Jackeen? And damn all to do with the football either because the Jackeen was all running around like the horrible little scut that he is.
Don’t get me started on them lads again because I might regret what I say and I don’t want bloody Irish Times letter-writers pestering our poor editor here who has enough to be going on with, I am sure.

SO WHO is going to win the football?
The general wisdom seems to be that Cork are the coming men and who could argue with that? There are lads who know their stuff (unlike that gobdaw who usually writes on this page) who will tell you that they have come on leaps and bounds over the year and that they now have the Indian sign over Kerry.
It has actually been said that the only advantage Kerry have is that they have beaten Cork on any other occasion they played them in the championship in Croke Park and most notably the final two years ago when Kerry gave them a severe licking.
Since then, however, Cork have come on no end and have recovered from the time the Jackeen tried to get them to go down the road of Marxism Leninism with his bloody union and strikes. Is it an end to the Association he wants at all? I wouldn’t be surprised. Sure, didn’t the same man play hockey. Mother of God! Hockey! Mind you, the Jackeen plays hurling like hockey. Damn it all, it’s a man’s game. Take your medicine.

BUT while the Corkmen have certainly upped their game you cannot write off the Kerrymen. No, sir.
A lot of foolish boys have done that in the past and even if they did let poor Roger Casement down in a bad way when even the Jackeen was out above fighting we can’t be lingering on the sins of the past. Let that be. 
When it comes to football they have no peers and when it comes to finals there are no better men to win them. So that leaves me in a bit of a bind, to be honest, when it comes to predicting who will win the day. Now if the Jackeen was here he could tell you what the turf accountants are saying but I have no truck with that. The mentality of the pitch and toss school if you ask me.
It does not matter one iota who is favourite with them lads and who is not. The game will be settled on the pitch between the 30 men there and the referee – Jaysus, don’t get me started on that fella two weeks ago, Mother of the Divine Lord. Of course, the Jackeen thought it was great sport altogether. ‘Don’t blame the bleedin referee, bud, just cos he gave the bleedin’ Cats a poxy penalty and it wrecked your buzz.’ I’ll wreck your buzz, fellow my lad, if you bump into a certain party. You may chalk that down.
So I suppose I will have to make a call and the call I make is that the Corkmen will win the day. And if I am wrong I will be the first one to hold up my hand.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1