Things disqualifying me from final duty

Things disqualifying me from final duty
STILL GOT IT: Noel Monteith from Borrisokane AC, Tipperary competing in the men’s over 70s high-jump during the Irish Life Health National Masters Track and Field Championships at Tullamore. Picture: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

You know there was a bit of a fuss last week about the appointment of the All-Ireland football final referee. (I am speaking here in the blandest possible terms here). But do you know how an All-Ireland final referee is actually picked? Below is a sample interrogation of a candidate, to give you an idea of the depth of the process.

Where did you holiday as a child? What county specifically? Did you ever express any happiness in that county? Did you ever express any happiness in any county you passed through on the way to that county? Did you ever accept a free ice-cream in that county? Did you ever drop that free ice-cream on the ground and cry and beat your fists on the ground and say you would never forgive that county? Ever?

When you got older did you ever have a romantic entanglement with someone from outside your own county? What county, then? How romantic? How entangled? How did it end? How badly? Did they mock you and all belonged to you and share your pining text messages with their friends in the pub?

Did you grow to hate that accent and all its manifestations, its grating intonations and false lilts, its spurious friendliness and whining, wheedling questioning tone? And did you ever cry and beat your fists on the ground and say you would never forgive that county?

And when you got older again, did you ever work in that county? For how long? Was it financially rewarding and personally enriching or a long slow opening of the veins on the road to a merciful death? Was it a cooperative enterprise or a nest of vipers?

A fluid meritocracy or a repressive hierarchy favouring those from the same county, ignoring your talent and potential and scarring your initiative, spoiling your attitude, forever turning your career prospects into roadkill, and thus prejudicing you forever against that county, and all its works and pomps? And did you ever cry and beat your fists and say you would never forgive that county?

When you decided to take holidays as an adult, did you swear never to return to that county again, the one which blighted your childhood, deciding instead on a Mediterranean country a thousand miles away, only to have louts from that county of your youthful summer appear, and wear county jerseys on the beach, fly county flags on their balcony, talk their county talk in the pub when you and your mates were trying to get a little holiday romance kindled with the natives, only for those self-same louts to — yes! — get the inside track and wipe your eye with those natives, and send you home sunburnt and frustrated and with a touch of holiday tummy?

And when that happened and you opened your suitcase at home and found the factor 50 had spilt in there and stained the three nice t-shirts you bought on the last day, when that happened did you cry and beat your fists on the ground and say you would never forgive that county?

Now that you’re a mature adult and you’re in the car nodding along to Matt Cooper talking economics and someone cuts in front of you and not only cuts in front of you but gives you the finger when you beep the horn, do you clock the car reg when they screech away from your clapped-out banger that you will absolutely bring for a service this week, and do your eyes narrow when you realise that yes, it is a car from the very same county you visited all those years ago, that it is carrying a little flag in the colours of that county and a miniature teddy bear also in those colours, propped up behind the back-seat headrest, its paws appearing frozen in an obscene gesture familiar to Italians, its black pebble eyes judging you coldly as it disappears into the distance?

And when that happens, do you ever cry and beat your fists on the steering wheel and say you would never forgive that county?

Note: Answering Yes to any of the above questions may disqualify the candidate from consideration as an All-Ireland final referee. Depending on the counties involved.

Caoimhin making a name for himself

Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s may recall a simmering dissatisfaction with the BBC about its inability to get a Taoiseach’s name right.

Every now and then someone would point out the Beeb apparently had an entire pronunciation unit devoted to teaching its employees how to pronounce names — yet its broadcasters made a routine hash of Charles Haughey’s surname. (Whether such a unit exited doesn’t matter, the vaguest prospect it did was somehow reassuring.)

With that in mind the butchering of Caoimhin Kelleher’s name this week by another broadcaster across the sea sounded a familiar note. The Cork youngster, in line for the Liverpool keeper’s jersey, had his Christian name pronounced with wayward sounds and incorrect vowels by a reporter who clearly hadn’t scanned his brief beforehand. All fun and games until you realise if it was someone from a vastly different culture then they would be rightfully angry, as Kelleher is entitled to be.Hopefully he’ll become the kind of fixture that’ll make the correct pronunciation de rigueur.

Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s may recall a simmering dissatisfaction with the BBC about its inability to get a Taoiseach’s name right.

Rugby in Páirc is a matter of time

We can always depend on Benjamin Franklin for the bon mot which serves the occasion. Neither a city nor a maidenhead will long hold out once they have begun to parley, he said once, proving that the 18th century was indeed a different time for all sorts of reasons.

Which brings us in a roundabout way to the prospect of Munster playing serious rugby games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. This is now just a matter of time, despite some of the predictable moaning to be heard in certain quarters. If there’s agreement in principle, then the small print can be negotiated.

Away from the small print: if there’s any likelihood of a knockout European Cup tie being played in the biggest population centre in the province, how can the choice of any other venue be justified? Surely Cork is a far more convenient location for Munster supporters than somewhere in... Leinster?

Park for a second the references to Cork supporters heading to Limerick for high-profile games — though over the weekend many such references came thick and fast, and carried a fair amount of weight — who might deserve a high-profile game closer to home once in a while. Just consider the facts.

If a team represents an entire province, isn’t that team obliged to facilitate more people in that province than those who live in one county?

Wilson’s tale of the Magyars a must-buy

It’s not every sportswriter whose book you must get, but Jonathan Wilson is one.

Wilson wrote the best book ever published about soccer tactics (Inverting the Pyramid) and the best about Argentinian soccer and society (Angels With Dirty Faces), among others. He’s back with a book about one of the best and best-loved teams ever, Hungary of the early 50s. I can confidently recommend The Names Heard Long Ago (those names being Puskás, Hidegkuti, Czibor, etc) sight unseen. A must-buy.

For ice cream and a map to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, michael. moynihan@examiner.ie


More in this Section

Emotional Murray ‘a lot more optimistic’ after landing first title since injuryEmotional Murray ‘a lot more optimistic’ after landing first title since injury

Sheffield United striker charged with drink-drivingSheffield United striker charged with drink-driving

Two arrested over ‘racist abuse’ at FA Cup matchTwo arrested over ‘racist abuse’ at FA Cup match

World Rugby investigating photo of referee Peyper ‘mocking Vahaamahina elbow’World Rugby investigating photo of referee Peyper ‘mocking Vahaamahina elbow’

More by this author

Sport’s showpieces are strictly businessSport’s showpieces are strictly business

An insight into my definition of hell on earthAn insight into my definition of hell on earth

Sports analysis needs some new tacticsSports analysis needs some new tactics

Dublin’s greatest general hails GAA’s history makersDublin’s greatest general hails GAA’s history makers


Lifestyle

Does the early bird catch the gym gains, or are you better off running through your reps after the sun sets? We ask two personal trainers.Ask the experts: Is it better to work out in the morning or the evening?

John’s chairs will last a lifetime, but he is also passing on his knowledge to a new generation, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: The ancient art of súgán-making is woven into Irish family history

More From The Irish Examiner