Why will Galway win? Dallas

Perhaps most vitally, they boasted then a certain dash of JR’s winning lawlessness.

Take the 3/1, if it’s still going. The bookies have failed to read the signs. Lads who don’t miss much have neglected, crucially, to consult the TV schedules.

Galway will win this. We know, because Dallas is back on the television. Put it less kindly, if you must; they have won no modern All-Ireland without it.

Three of the county’s four titles came, you will remember, during the show’s first run out, from 1978 to 1991. They made four other finals too. It would be sociologically irresponsible not to decide there was a connection.

As a woman in The Irish Times pointed out this week, the Western seaboard isdotted with homages to the pillared opulence of Southfork. The great Galway hurling teams of that era stood proudly too as living tributes to its inhabitants.

All the elements were there. Dashing heroes — if Joe Connolly hadn’t been detained ending famines in the West, he surely had the looks and oratory to play the golden boy role of Bobby.

Glitzy costumes — Gerry McInerney’s white boots and tan combo. Impossible glamour — Conor Hayes’s noble, golden, medieval helmet. Bitter domestic feuding — nearly every club match. Big hair — Gerry again.

There was scandal; Keady. A nod, now and again, to the Man Above — Fr Iggy Clarke.

And they had their matriarchal figure, like Miss Ellie, that spanned all the eras; Cyril Farrell, as such.

Perhaps most vitally, they boasted then a certain dash of JR’s winning lawlessness. A whiff of danger. If the Ewing’s fuel of choice was oil, Galway were well able to generate a fair bit of heat with timber.

When you recall the bristling robustness of the time, it was impossible not to smile at Farrell’s wide-eyed dismay as Tipperary and Kilkenny reintroduced themselves in this year’s semi-final. The rooting would have been, as Cyril might say, nuts to a monkey for some of his lads.

Let’s just say, having stood on the Canal End in ’88, members of the Tipp full-forward line were treated to more poking than Harvard co-eds in the first week of Facebook.

Not that Galway were particularly nasty then, but reading now what Sylvie Linnane said at the time is like glimpsing a first draft of Brian Cody’s current script.

“I see hurling as a man’s game — a hard and physical game without being dirty. I believe in going in hard when I am on the ball and meeting my opponent shoulder to shoulder. I have no time for those who think that the approach must be nicey-nicey. You listen to the thunder and you pay no heed.”

So what happened to Galway since the last claps of that perfect storm faded? We got funny ideas towards the end of the 80s. Even before it finished up, Dallas wasn’t realistic enough for us, seemingly. Ratings plummeted.

We preferred the more conservative comforts Biddy and Miley provided and, sure enough, along came the traditional powers to topple Galway too.

Thankfully, they did, at least, inspire spin-offs and successors. Clare as Knots Landing? Offaly — Friends, a tight-knit group often playing it purely for laughs. Wexford — Eldorado, a colourful one-season wonder.

Galway, meanwhile, were shunted off prime time. Like Law & Order, they could provide a cracking one-off show, but you never knew what you’d get the following week. And they kept recasting.

There was a tendency, at times, to mistake cheap showiness for genuine glamour — too much Hollyoaks, no doubt. Or did they simply become too nicey-nicey, as Sylvie disdained? Perhaps, like we learned this week about Bobby’s adopted son Christopher, they became distracted by the focus on clean energy.

“We know we will never wait over half a century again for the next All-Ireland title,” said Joe Connolly, after the wait ended in 1980 before further triumphs in ’87 and ’88.

It took drastic measures to prevent a quarter century ticking up, but Dallas is back, the Joe Show supplies the glamour and, as saw in that whirlwind half hour in July, they have the dash, the bit of badness and, like Tipp, before they became distracted, Galway work the open spaces as tirelessly as Ray Krebbs did the ranch.

Now, as JR liked to say; “All that matters is winnin’!”

July, after all, was just the pilot.

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

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