It is ironic that the city of Dublin is guarded by an alleged mad cow. for those approaching the capital from the South and Mid West.

Or maybe most of you heading up from the Naas direction for big games in Croke Park did not know until now that what is officially known as the Red Cow Roundabout, the busiest junction in the land, has been known locally for years as the Mad Cow Roundabout, because of its continuing spaghetti of traffic tailbacks and congestion.

The old Red Cow was a legendary country pub, way back in the era before the modern hotel complex there.

That matter, however, is incidental to the major matter before us today — the dreadful hammering which the Dublin footballers handed out to Kerry in last Sunday’s crunch League final in Croke Park, a few miles down the road from the Mad Cow’s bony backside.

But the truth is that the eleven points trouncing handed out to the men from The Kingdom represented an infinitely more complex reality than a simple football score line.

It was the hallmark on the fundamental truth that Dublin city and county has now reached a social and economic situation where it is rapidly draining all the energy and vigour from rural Ireland.

The pure truth.

What happened in Croke Park had far wider implications than just a victory for the Dublin footballers over great rivals Kerry.

The truth is, as ye well know, that Kerry badly wanted a victory over the metropolitans, who have humbled them in all their recent clashes.

They gave it their all, and still were hammered, soundly.

They would have lost even if there had not been a red card element to the outcome.

The hard reality is that, incredibly, Dublin easily won their fourth consecutive League title.

It is equally likely that Dublin will again walk away with Sam Maguire, come September and the falling leaves of rural Ireland, on the other side of the Mad Cow.

This is not about mere football at all. It is about the situation in which our capital city, through all its dynamics and statistics, its sprawling growth and power, is draining the provinces of their energy.

The majority of its current citizens... including its splendid footballers... have country ancestors who had to leave the home ground to further their careers in Dublin, to find work, to make a living, to contribute hugely to the economic supremacy of Dublin today, at the expense of about all the other regions of the island.

The recovery from the recession around Molly Malone’s petticoats is in sharp contrast to the situation in hundreds of towns and villages elsewhere that have barely been touched by the allegedly rising economic tides.

They have just lost their youth either to emigration or, at best, migration to Dublin.

The parochial image is of closed Garda stations and banks and post offices, the reduction of about all local services and amenities, the boarded up shops, and pubs that often only open up at the weekends.

Modern Dublin has a busy buzz about it.

That is reflected, aptly, in the swagger and strut and style of the football teams which now dominate Croke Park even more totally than the best Kerry teams of the past decade.

In the era before this, at a time when the counties of rural Ireland were stronger and more forceful in all the fields, from politics and commerce to mere football, the Dublin sides on duty in Croke Park often had a brittle confidence which was easily enough shattered by big rural-based teams like those from Kerry and Cork and Galway and Tyrone.

It is not like that any more.

It is probably a truth that Dublin’s second string team would now beat most of the others, from anywhere.

There is a hard lesson to be taken from that in all areas, far removed from sporting sidelines alone.

Just in football terms alone, it is a sad enough reality that the Kerry team were well beaten in last week’s clash, long before it was over.

Allowing for the fact they were a man down, they still seemed to run out of legs and real energy towards the close of the action.

Those men from the Kingdom will be sore and smarting for weeks to come.

In the wider context, maybe all of us on the same side of the Mad Cow should properly be sorely smarting too, at what is yet to come.


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