IMF bailout about to transform Irish sporting landscape

IT feels, this week and in this country, like someone should gently place a Sinatra record under a record player stylus as we bob downstream together towards oblivion.

And now the end is near...

Some form of bailout now seems both inevitable and imminent – like ultimate disappointment and boredom when you watch Ireland’s footballers these days.

In the words of Sarkosy’s finance minister this week: “Is it six months or a few days away? I’d say it’s closer to days.”

I hate to agree with Frenchie, but the argument which raged this week, is it ‘if or when’ a bailout is accepted – a debate in which the Taoiseach was much very much exercised about these last few days – now seems as redundant as the great ‘it’s a biscuit, it’s a bar’ debate of the 1980s.

(The whole mess incidentally – with a tutting EU, reluctantly ready to clean up our messy problems – reminds me of one scene in the Hollywood production of Nick Hornby’s much-loved book High Fidelity. Standing, drunk, outside the window of a love rival in the sleeting rain, he shouts at the bedroom window to hisestranged girlfriend: “Laura, you f***** bitch – we can work it out!) But you don’t, reader, huddle here in the back of the newspaper with the megalomaniacal editors and grown men in Batman t-shirts for economic appraisal.

Nevertheless, here’s how the Irish sporting landscape will appear after the thermo-nuclear bomb of a European and/or IMF bailout is accepted. Hold on to your knitting, I’m about to blow your mind.

1. Kilkenny’s hurling conveyer belt closes for six months in an effort to save on expensive production costs.

2. Market concern from Tokyo to Frankfurt, political pressure from wherever the IMF Death-Eaters live and a threatened hike in corporation tax means Rory McIlory needs to take a NAMA-like haircut. Drastic measures.

3. EU chiefs at last settle the long-running sliotar controversy – from now on only Cummins’ produce are to be employed. Donal Og Cusack denies lobbying President Van Rumpoy.

4. Devon Toner is to be reduced to 6 foot 8. Health and safety.

5. McGurk’s Choice: cutbacks mean smaller television panels. The craggy RTÉ rugby coverage host is made to pick Popey or a weeping Hookie. It’s a ratings winner.

6. Actually, take the two of them away, we’ll just play the Grand Slam DVD in between halves.

7. Shamrock Rovers mascot Hooperman is now Hooperman-and/or-woman when Commission Equality chiefs in a grey Strasbourg office building learn of the discriminatory nature of the role at the Tallaght Stadium.

8. Oli Rehn will present the Liam MacCarthy Cup to the winning captain of the Kronenburg All-Ireland Championships next year.

9. The minor captain will again be allowed to make a speech – after this year’s strange, imposed silence – but it must be delivered in Flemish or English with a Dutch accent. Afterwards, it is to be translated into 16 languages and distributed to the county councils.

10. British chancellor of the exchequer George Osbourne – a Tory of Tipperary stock, if that’s not a paradox – canvasses outside Centra in Cahir ahead of the bye-election in Oldham.

11. The Aviva Stadium is to be knocked and the old West Stand will be re-erected just to teach us a lesson about getting above our station and take a few thousand lads off of FáS courses.

12. The Sam Maguire Cup will be presented to the winner of the AFL Premiership as Quantas air hostesses serve heated paper towels to rows and rows of former All Stars making their way to new contracts with the Swans and Saints and whoever. Kieran Donaghy gets there after an uncomfortable journey but – never succeeding in fully stretching his legs again he gives up the football. He’s spotted in the background of an episode of the popular reality TV show Bondi Rescue talking someone through his goal against Dublin.

13. After a frankly unnecessary directive from Brussels regarding the consumption of ‘hang sandwiches’ by Croke Park pilgrims next summer, salami and/or sauerkraut baguettes in Urlingford are instead the order of the day.

14. We will qualify for a World Cup – far, far away. Being too poor to travel in the numbers we’d once have expected, Roddy Doyle will instead write a comic yet touching novel about how we make do at home. They’ll make a film of it which will be worth a watch too. That should kill a couple of years.

15. Semple Stadium is now known as the Bundesfund Stadion. Future generations will presume Liberty Square’s name was an ironic handle like calling the biggest galoot in your class ‘Tiny’.

16. Robbie Keane stops organising Christmas parties for Premiership footballers in Temple Bar.

17. What was all that fiasco over in Saipan about again?

18. Des Cahill is made to present the Sunday Game from a high stool when his comfortable couch is taken away.

Tohill refuses to make the drive to Dublin.

Twitter: @adrianrussell

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