Dreams shattered as no more days out for Longford

Longford were forced to engage Kildare in battle in their surrogate home ground of Cusack Park in Mullingar on Saturday evening.

Dreams shattered as no more days out for Longford

They had to decamp to Mullingar for what should have been a home game on the very compelling grounds that the ten-year-old stand on one side of Pearse Park is, in official speak, suffering from structural subsidence.

Pearse Park, despite its infrastructural woes, was deemed appropriate for the visit of Carlow, but Kildare, with their fans’ propensity for travelling to away games, necessitated a venue with a non-sinking stand.

The game was a match-up between two teams still recuperating following frightful batterings from Dublin.

The evil name of the capital was not to be uttered. One shouldn’t trigger harrowing memories in those still fragile.

There was no bullish talk (as there might have been in those gloriously egalitarian days when Dublin played in a manner not dissimilar to other counties) of either side getting another crack at those responsible for their humiliation. No talk of restoring pride. The only realistic way Longford can restore pride vis a vis Dublin is by avoiding them for as long as possible until public amnesia sets in. Pride will certainly not be restored by playing them again.

However, there was excitable talk on the way down. This column must confess, at this point, to having some interest in the Longford football team, by dint of the writer’s place of birth.

You see, the glittering prize was in sight. The prize which keeps all supporters of middling counties going. The summit of their ambition, you could say.

That prize is commonly referred to as ‘another day out’.

Indeed, by the time we reached Mullingar, we were already speculating about who Longford would get in the next round.

Or more importantly, who Longford would like to get in the next round. Longford football supporters are necessarily rather fussy in this department.

It was clear Kildare were dead in the water by the time we entered the turnstiles. It was only a question of whether we wanted Sligo or Westmeath in the next round.

Injecting some humility into the discussion, this column admitted that it feared for Longford in the All-Ireland semi-final.

No one need to have worried. It turns out Longford have nothing to fear in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final.

The 19-point defeat was sore, not least because the team who administered it are no strangers to 19-point defeats themselves.

Still, 2016 offers the certainty of another day out, at least.

New law regulating RTÉ commentators

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White last night published a bill concerned with the important matter of the commentary of hurling matches.

The Bill states that: “Every man or woman in possession of an RTÉ microphone, shall, henceforth, refer to John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher by either their proper full names, as listed in the previous clause, or by an abbreviation consisting of their second name, sometimes erroneously termed a ‘nickname’, which is invariably written in inverted commas and may not have been personally chosen by the subject’s mother, and their third name, which is their father’s surname.

Any commentator who fails to follow the prescriptions outlined above and instead refers to the aforementioned John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer by the name ‘John O’Dwyer’ shall be immediately removed from commentary duties and stationed on the sideline, regardless of the weather conditions.

Neither Mickey Harte nor any other GAA manager will hold a veto over these decisions.

Furthermore, any RTÉ commentator who is assigned to commentate on a Gaelic football match in Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney and fails, in the course of the 70 minutes of play, to refer to the majesty of the neighbouring MacGillycuddy Reeks, shall be forced to spend the ten subsequent Munster finals updating the scores on RTÉ’s formerly lionised but now largely redundant teletext service.”

O’Rourke turns on his armchair generals

In the RTÉ analysis corner, an increasingly gruff Colm O’Rourke yesterday resembled an aging, old school US general, miffed at being lectured on how to do his job better by a bunch of preening politicians at a Senate committee hearing.

O’Rourke didn’t take kindly to Brolly and Spillane vigorously disagreeing with his assessment of the reasons for Dublin’s loss to Donegal last August.

(By the way, that game hasn’t been discussed near enough at this stage. We need to go the whole hog and commission a tribunal of inquiry into why Dublin lost to Donegal in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. If Jim Gavin refuses to answer any questions, he can be held in contempt.)

Brolly and Spillane subscribe to the now dominant view; that Dublin were too cavalier in their approach and were exposed by a more tactically clever side. This is now gospel.

O’Rourke, by contrast, had a determinedly unfashionable explanation which was Cody-esque in its simplicity and bluntness. Dublin’s defenders forgot to mark their men. Responsibility for their woes was laid at the door of flighty backs failing to attend to humdrum defensive matters. Philly McMahon was singled out in the footage Colm had prepared earlier.

Annoyed by the unanimity of opinion on either side of him, a sensitive O’Rourke only went and deployed the armchair general charge...

“These two jokers. I’d love to see you in charge of a team and set up a defensive screen because you’re great in theory but at least I know how to do it in practice, or try to do it in practice. You fellas, if you’re so good, why don’t you take on a team with this defensive formation?’

Mayo’s online delight in Ros ruin

After a series of exuberant displays in the league, Roscommon’s faltering championship campaign came to a demoralising end in Brewster Park yesterday.

John Evans, notwithstanding his team’s excellent spring performances, cannot be certain of remaining as manager for next year, particularly as Kevin McStay has yet to be snapped up by a rival county.

Roscommon’s bullishness about their chances this year was, it now appears, not well received by their Connacht neighbours. Mayo’s energetic online community of GAA supporters appear to be taking special delight in the Rossies’ flat showing.

The waft of schadenfreude just burns through the computer screen…

However, Edwin McGreal of the Mayo News cautioned against such talk, given that McStay could be waiting in the wings.

Tweets of weekend

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