The lads and lasses in the modern media industry use Freedom Of Information requests to obtain those rationed-out facts and figures which our politicians and civil servants above in Leinster House know well will do them no harm at all in the eyes of the electorate.
Older hacks like myself, a long time on the road, use other inside channels altogether.
That is how I obtained this world exclusive scoop, with great joy and satisfaction.
I would go to jail rather than reveal my reliable sources, but I can say they have always been totally accurate on all fronts for several decades now.
This yarn has a sporting flavour attached of course, given the season that’s in it, dominated by Croke Park, but it emerges from the hidden underbelly of GAA action on and off the field of play.
It came my way with hi-fi sound attached, in the modern media idiom which I struggle to cope with nowadays, but I know well by now that you modern readers who peruse this space will totally comprehend and hopefully enjoy.
So here it is without further ado.
The soundtrack, as is the GAA custom and practice, was in the native tongue, and delivered at such a high speed and volume, with a Munster dialect, that my own limited enough Ulster brand of Irish was in trouble from the beginning.
Thankfully though, the piece was subtitled in English in a clear fashion similar to that used by TG4 on much of its (splendid) broadcast output.
It is the subtitled version which is being presented here, lest your Irish is not much better than mine.
The speaker is clearly identified as an anguished Liam McCarthy, and he is appealing for assistance from a gentleman called Sam Maguire, whose surname is one of the most common and popular in my Erneside birthplace, even though Sam Maguire has never ever come home to reside there in Co Fermanagh, in my lifetime.
And he probably never will either, as things stand.
Another painful truth there, in any language.
Liam McCarthy is both anguished and apologetic.
He is clearly suffering a lot, on his 28th visit to Co Tipperary. He says, and I quote the subtitles without any censorship, “Sammy, my old friend, whom I offended maybe in the past, I cannot handle the stress I’m being subjected to for the past week here in Tipperary.
“It is awful. I badly need your help at once.
“Please forgive me for acting the eegit during the time when I felt so superior to you, my old friend, and for believing that you were an Orangeman.
“I was a right fool altogether and feel ashamed of myself today.
“Now, Sammy, I’m in deep trouble altogether here in Tipperary and nobody can save me but your good self.
“I’m not as young as I used to be and, without your intervention ASAP, Sammy, I doubt I will last another fortnight of this dreadful pressure.
“Sammy, could you please draw the spotlight away from me, for old time’s sake.
“I’m being held aloft and battered and bruised and dented every hour, and, God help us, expected to visit every school in every parish in the county, and every community centre too.
“Could you please come to my aid by stepping in to this blasted limelight, by focusing the attention of the people of Ireland on your football All-Ireland decider between Dublin and Kerry.
“I know well that everybody expects Dublin to canter home, but you can take action, please, to ease my dreadful suffering.
“I’m being kissed by old men and women and children, yes, but I’m also getting volumes of hate mail, especially from Kilkenny and Limerick, and I can’t take much more of it.
I have to say there was no response at all from Sam Maguire, above in Dublin for years now.
Maybe he was on active duty himself around the capital at the time the plea from McCarthy arrived.
Or perhaps Sam Maguire was under some Jim Gavin embargo preventing any
association at all, even with my reliable sources.
“Some of you readers may be able to discover more than I’m capable of.
“If any of you do that I would be delighted to be briefed.
“As you regular readers know, I’m only a few minutes walk away from Tipperary, on the other bank of the Shannon, from my doorstep in Killaloe.
“I went outside under the moon a little while ago, and you could hear clearly the revelry in the pubs and clubs in the sister heritage town of Ballina so, beyond doubt, poor dented Liam McCarthy is having another hard night.
One fervently hopes he survives it all.