MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Dear manager, just a few things I’d like to get off my chest...

Michael Moynihan has a few things to say...

Dear manager,

I am writing to you because of my frustration with the team’s performance. You have left me down so many times, that I felt I had to share with you the messages that next door’s dog sends me telepathically.

Most of the time those messages are about the worldwide manipulations orchestrated by the lizard-beings at the highest level of Irish society, but you don’t need to hear about the vegan-Dublin 4 worldwide conspiracy here.

Oh no. The dog next door’s messages now concern you exclusively, you and the gutty-boys that you are putting in our famous jerseys. They are being devalued because you seem to want to give every sleeveen and breall walking the roads a chance to brag over porter about “the day I played county”.

You are not only bringing the reputation of our fair county into disrepute, you are also denying me the chance to make a few bob as I back against ye with one of the online betting sites that I frequent. How can you animals be so ignorant of my need to make money, a constitutional right that our forefathers died for a 100 years ago?

As for the lack of pride you are all showing in our county colours, you could take a leaf or two out of my book. I can still fit into the old jersey I got the last time we had a good run in the championship, and there’s not many can say that about the 1997 top. Obviously, I wouldn’t buy a new one, not with the displays ye’ve given for the last few years. I’d be embarrassed to be seen in it.

I suppose you’ll be whingeing in the press now because you got my two cents’ worth the other night. What kind of a man are you at all? Just because I rang one night at 3 in the morning and your daughter answered the phone? Was that my fault? Well? What kind of father lets his daughter answer his phone at 3am?

What exactly does she expect to hear from someone who has a live audience of like-minded people outside the takeaway at that hour, a decade of the rosary? I don’t care if she’s six or 16, if you’re the manager she has to take some of the flak — that’s the unspoken arrangement she has with us, the loyal supporters. And why, incidentally, I withheld the number on my mobile when calling.

We are entitled to let everyone know how we feel. Don’t forget that ever. I still regret the fact we didn’t make ourselves known to your wife and kids at the last league match.

In fact, when the match was over I was just about to do that — I had a few ideas about our midfield play, how terrible it was, and how she needed to convey to you — when you came up from the sideline to talk to them. You’re a much bigger man in the flesh than appears on TV. I’d advise you to lose a few pounds.

I’m not going to put my name to this letter because if I did, people would obviously say, “no wonder he thinks that, look where he’s from, obviously he’s biased towards his local club”. They’d be wrong, of course, because I’m not a member of a club at all - because of that I’m free of any prejudices when it comes to selection, I can pick the best county team with a clear conscience. When I hear the moaning and messing out of you that this guy is injured and this guy is rehabbing it drives me mad — why don’t you just pick the best 15 and have done with it?

The other reason I don’t want to put my name to this letter is that I don’t want anyone to know I wrote it, obviously. I’m not STUPID.

Yours in sport.

A supporter.

PS If you have any tickets for the All-Ireland, let me know.

Tighter GAA schedules mean tighter pockets

The thought struck me the other day about the Super 8s and compressed fixtures calendar in Gaelic football: how are these affecting counties’ fundraising?

Many county boards base their revenues on what they can generate in the run-up to an All-Ireland semi-final or final, but when that run-up is literally seven days — and only confirmed seven days beforehand — what can be done?

The arrival of the Pope is having an impact on fixture planning everywhere, including the top level, and unless he decides to come back in 12 months’ time there should be more freedom in setting those match dates next year.

But perhaps Croke Park should take cognisance of the difficulties county boards have everywhere in generating the money that supports everything they do — and give them a chance to maximise their visibility when they have an opportunity to do so.

Dear manager, just a few things I’d like to get off my chest...

Strokes of Genius

Of course, I can’t believe I missed this one. I stumbled across a reference to Strokes of Genius: A History of Swimming by Eric Chaline last week and dug into it a little. Chaline had written an article for History Today about the decline of swimming in Europe for hundreds of years, only for the practice to enjoy a resurgence in the 18th and 19th centuries.

How could you not fall for paragraphs like this, unearthed by the author from 1791?

“Tuesday afternoon three men, for a wager of eight guineas, swam from Westminster to London Bridge. The victor was carried on shoulders of porters to a public house in Borough, where he drank such a quantity of gin, that he expired in about half an hour after his victory.”

I’ll be coming back to Strokes of Genius when I get my hands on a copy.

Barr raising hope and expectation

Has there been a more popular Irish sportsperson in the last few years than Tom Barr? The Waterford hurdler should really be annoying us, because he radiates blinding health every time he appears on the television — those teeth, seriously Kildorrery but in fact his performances have cheered the nation up no end.

Dear manager, just a few things I’d like to get off my chest...

After the hockey team raised spirits the previous weekend, Barr provided another nice boost to the collective consciousness spirits heading into the weekend just gone.

Just to put it in context, I remember as a kid how we viewed the likes of Edwin Moses as almost superhuman: Moses, of course, dominated Barr’s event, the 400 metres hurdles, for years. To think that Barr picked up a medal in the same event at the European Championships, and came fourth in the last Olympics, is mindblowing. Great work by the man from Dunmore East and congratulations.


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