Talking Balls Issue 26 – Well Informed Ignorance

This week in Talking Balls we acknowledge some of the individuals and teams that have brightened up our summer with our inaugural Talking Balls Gongs. If you’ve been Gonged, consider yourself lucky. There are hundreds of Awards that we couldn’t print. All our winners deserve congratulations for their highly entertaining contributions to our enjoyment of the season just ended.

We look back at some of the usual post county season nonsense. The hurlers of Antrim and Galway are incandescent at the thought of playing each other year in year out. Don’t worry lads – we predict it will last a couple of years before it is changed back. Also, Frank Murphy laments the fact that the Cork Championships were adversely affected by the County teams. They probably wish they hadn’t bothered in what was a real damp squib in every sense.

Our man Geezer takes the reins round the Curragh. We await developments with interest as the Kildare squad quake in terror at the arrival of Mr Commitment.

Speaking of commitment Brian McIver does Arnie with an ‘I’ll be back’ return to Donegal. Will next year be any different?

Ger attended a blitz with his grandson and found the whole thing an uplifting experience.

As they weather gets cold, if the cap fits wear it. For all other coverage, there’s always Talking Balls.

The Talking Balls Gongs

Forget the GPA awards, the Irish News All stars, the Vodafone All Stars – Talking Balls wants to recognise our very own heroes of whether it be individual excellence or a team performance that merits further recognition. We hereby announce the first series of Talking Balls Gongs for the season that was. There may be more next week if our selection panel sobers up.

The Oliver Hardy that’s Another Fine Mess You Got Me into
Brian McIver. In and out more often than the hokey cokey, whatyemecallit.

The Britney Spears Award for your dirty linen is so dirty you can’t wear it in public…
Winners: Clare hurlers, for their entire sorry assed PR disaster of a season. So much dirty linen being washed the whole plumbin’ was on display. Oops they did it again.

The Amy Winehouse Shambolic Public Appearance Award
Winners: the Derry camogs for their well publicised post-All Ireland piss up. They’re tryin’ to make them go to rehab but we say no, no, no.

Honourable mention: Galway hurlers for not knowing whether they were coming or going in a manner of speaking. Come in Ger, your time is up.

The Meritorious Award for a Premature Spurt, sponsored by Viagra
Donegal footballers – national league winners. Need we say more.

The OJ Simpson Award for Total Innocence with not a Whiff of Guilt – Play on te f***:
Joint Award:
Paddy Bradley, Derry and Peadar Carton, Dublin. Enough said.

The ‘I Predict a Riot’ Award for Disorder in a Public Place
The Cork and Clare Hurling Teams for the disgraceful displays in front of school children in Thurles. The likes will never be seen again we hope… or do we care.

The Coca Cola Bottlers Award
Antrim footballers and Tommy Cooper Cup Finalists for, well their mishap in the final moments of the Fez Final. Comedy or what?

The Castlereagh Barracks Award for Grief Under Pressure
To Eddie Brennan for his ‘Welcome to the real world’ introduction for Seamus Hickey in the All Ireland Final.

The Play it Again Sam Award
Waterford hurlers. Hit play, one more time.

The Great Communicators Award
The Dublin Football team and management for their contribution to excellence in communication on and off the field of play.

The Emperor’s New Clothes Award
To the Monaghan footballers. Lost to Tyrone and Kerry, won a pile of Ulster All Stars and four Vodafone All star nominations but f*** all else.

The Emergency Room Award for Services to Medical Science
Tyrone Senior Football squad. Never in the history of gaelic and athletic have so many been injured and so few available.

The Bundoran Tourism Association Wet Winter Weekend Award for Boredom
The Leinster hurling counties for a senior competition that would bore the hole of a saint.

Suppernanny Golden Globes Award for Big Weans everywhere
Goes to… Babs Keating. Babs outbursts are worthy of any two year old.

The Twenty Major Awards for Excellence in Tobacco Consumption
Waterford’s Jackson Kiely – the one and only.

The Marrow Down the Trousers Trophy For Uro-genital Enhancement
Jointly to Billy Morgan, the Cork Examiner and Sanyo Digital Recording Devices.

The ‘Only the Big Lads hang Out in Here’ Award for underperformance under pressure…
Goes to the Cork footballers for the non-event that was the All Ireland Final.

Status Quo in Munster

The Munster Council have voted 8-7 to return to a seeded football draw. Sceptics in the weaker counties believe that this will ensure a Cork and Kerry final year in year out. Talking Balls hopes to bejaze that something can be worked out as we couldn’t sit through another All Ireland Final like this one and come to think of it the last few All Ireland Semis featuring the same two.

In 1990 the so-called weaker counties got together to force the likes of Cork and Kerry to accede to an open draw.

Talking Balls hero Jackson Kiely admitted the other day, after a long toke on one of his trademark Majors that Waterford would struggle to beat one of the big two let alone two of them. He’s right we think, every dog could have its day but it usually doesn’t get it twice. Whether Cork now consider themselves among the weaker counties is a moot point – certainly Waterford’s surrender in the Munster Championship was no worse than Cork’s performance in Croker.

Sez the Jackson: “Whatever chance you have of beating one of them, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to beat the two of them. This way, you could be looking at Kerry and Cork finals for another 50 years. I’m very disappointed. The one thing they could do would be to bring in a round-robin for the other four teams, but that’s not going to happen because of all the club activity.”

Jackson added: “They had a round-robin in minor football and you had some pretty decent performances from them. It’s the reason why Waterford won an U21 title, out of a good minor team. Then Cork and Kerry saw the other boys were catching up and it was back to square one.”

The Munster Chairman pointed out that counties were better playing at their own standard and if they sorted things out amongst themselves they could maybe get a tilt at the likes of Kerry. Sean Walsh of Kerry blamed falling attendances as his motivation for supporting the plan.

Talking Balls has the solution. We think that Munster should club together and create one of those divisional teams they are so fond of down there and play off against Kerry. The could call themselves ‘The Rest of Munster’ or ‘Anti-Kerry’ or whatever the hell they want but one things for sure – it’s the only way to stop the Kingdom moving beyond Limerick junction on their inevitable way to Croker for their handy three match run in to collect Sam.

DJ Retires

Hurling legend DJ Carey ends his career this weekend by playing his final club game for Young Ireland. Young Irelands play Mullinavat at Nowlan Park in a relegation play off.

DJ is expected to retire after the game. In case anyone has forgotten: he has won five All-Irelands, nine All-Star awards, four NHL winners medals and two Kilkenny SHC medals as well as various minor and Under-21 All-Ireland’s.

Talking Balls certainly shook the oul head many’s a time at his exploits on the pitch.

Fair play – DJ.

New Qualifiers – Nobody Happy – They Never Are

Legendary Cork Secretary Frank Murphy has lambasted this summer’s qualifiers for the effect they had on club games in Cork. This – the county of hundreds of clubs, God Love them.

Yes the travails of thirty county men bollocksed the entire season for hundred of club players in Cork and the Clubs aren’t happy. Would it have anything to do with the fact that the special ones were beaten, yes beaten three times in the one Championship season and didn’t even make it to the All Ireland semi-final. Welcome to our world sayeth the other counties that occasionally get a crumb from the top table.
“The clubs instructed me to say that it’s time to call a halt to the preponderance of intercounty games that are smothering club activity. The Association will ultimately pay a very severe penalty for what is undoubtedly neglect at club level,” he commented. Had they won the All Ireland would there have been word? Talking Balls doubts it.

HDC Chairman Ned Quinn argued for the changes pointing – they wish to remove meaningless games against the likes of Antrim and free up weekends for club games. This despite the fact that any number of random Kilkenny club selections could probably kick the asses of many county selections. Bitter opposition came from Antrim Chairman Dr John McSparran – whom we know suffers from delusions of grandeur, with a soupçon of paranoia – more on him later – Galway chairmen, Gerry Larkin, and later Galway secretary Bernie O’Connor.

Dr McSparran railed against the hurling machine – the whole plan was concocted to get rid of Antrim by giving them just two games he claims. And in a ‘we’ll f**&in well show them spur of defiance’ he later announced the Saffrons would enter the Munster Championship. The proposals as passed do nothing for the development of hurling in Antrim and he booted other Ulster counties in the ass for not supporting Antrim, other than Donegal that is. Those traitors from Down didn’t front up either. Sceptics in Ulster would point out that Antrim do nothing for the development of hurling elsewhere in Ulster – in turn Antrim ask why should they? In much the same way actually as the Munster and Leinster counties might say why would we bother doing anything for them boys?

McSparran argued that the proposal had been ‘concocted’ to address the issues highlighted by Ned Quinn. He claimed it would be ‘very expedient to be rid of Antrim after two games’ and that it would do nothing for the development of hurling in Antrim – or for teams considered too good for the Christy Ring Cup and not good enough for the Liam McCarthy Cup.

Galway’s Gerry Larkin, feared the new structure would ‘irreparably’ damage hurling in the counties which were trying to develop teams. It would ‘make the strong stronger and the weak weaker,’ he added.

Frank Murphy, said the past year had been the ‘most difficult year’ they had ever experienced in trying to run their domestic competitions, he said. To bleeding hearts everywhere, Frank explained: “Knowing the dual involvement in our county at club level where you could have games held up because of one player on a football team and one player in the hurling team, it made for an impossible summer from the point of view of scheduling of games. It was absolutely essential that this Round Robin situation would be terminated.”

“I’m glad it is gone but at the same time I would have sympathy for Galway and Antrim. They have particular difficulties and we should do everything we can to ensure that their position is met – but not on the basis of retention of a Round Robin system that so adversely affected other counties in terms of their club programme.”

The 2008 League meanwhile will have two six teams groups in Division One: Group 1 – Antrim, Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford; Group 2 – Clare, Galway, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary.

Division Two has Mayo, Meath, Carlow, Kildare, Wicklow, Westmeath, Kerry, Down, Derry, London, Armagh, Roscommon participating. These are the counties eligible to contest next year’s Christy Ring Cup and the groups will be decided on later.

An Exodus From West Belfast to the Wesht – So it Is

Meanwhile unconfirmed reports earlier in the week reported squads of Belfast wans and boys from the Glens on a bit of a run to Estate Agents in Galway, looking to buy property on the basis that they will be down that length a good bit over the next few years.

Flights from Geordie Best Airport, Belfast City, and The International to Knock and Galway as well as the Aran Islands are at an all time rock bottom price whilst sailings from Rathlin Island and Ballycastle to Kilronan and Rossaveale have opened up the Western seabord to the Northern hordes in numbers not seen since the Vikings pulled out of Roskilde bent on rape and pillage – until they saw the state of Connemara that is.

Residents of Galway are bracing themselves for the influx of Westies from Belfast. It is believed there will be thee times the number of visitors from the Athens of the North next year so there will. Advance parties have already been sussing out gable walls for murals so they have. Talking Balls isn’t kidding, so we’re not – big lad.

The story moved on during the week following Dr McSparran’s revelation that Antrim may in fact enter the Munster championship: “Someone has suggested that we refuse to play Galway and instead go into Munster. If we did do that and, in all probability, lose that game, we would than play a Leinster first round loser-which would be an infinitely better prospect than what we are facing.’ So we would.

“If they turn us down, that will merely prove what we already know, that they don’t want Antrim to have a fair chance.”

At this point Estate Agents in Kinsale and West Cork put up a mass of not for sale signs to keep the shafties out. “We don’t want a pile of boys in peaked caps and shell suits coming down here – even for a match” said one Rebel.

Talking Balls doesn’t think that this is funny so its nat, mister.

GAA and AFL to Compromise on Compromise as a Compromise

The PTB from Croker will be meeting their counterparts from Down Under round about the time of the Rugby World Cup Final in Paris. Now would that be before the game or just after or are Talking Balls reports cynical oul bastards after all. Altho’ the two side will get together face to face a la push and touch, they will not engage. No, the meeting will be ‘talks about talks according to good ole Nick. Handy the way the rugby gave them a chance to meet.
”They know where we are coming from so it about finding out if this thing can go ahead. We’re not making a decision on whether it will or not – our talks will revolve around what needs to be done on both sides, particular theirs.”

“Feedback from managers and players suggested that they thought the series should continue. As president I have to consider their views. The discussions that are taking place will simply be to see if there is a possibility it can be resurrected. But my annoyance at what happened last year hasn’t changed.”

Other things they’ll talk about talking about include the poaching of young Irish players like Kevin Dyas and Martin Clarke. Sez Nicky: “In the overall context there’s not that many (going over) but I’m sure the people in Armagh would not want to lose a talented player as they attempt to rebuild under a new manager. We can’t stop these players from going. It is their choice as to whether they want to go or not. We will not be putting rules in place. Whether we continue or not with the International Rules game, I don’t think that will have any great impact on whether these players continue to play Aussie Rules.”

Save chaining young Dyas to the gates of Oliver Punkett Park there’s little he could do anyway.

But Talking Balls still says, bring our boys home. There’s plenty of balls to be kicked here.

Nickey calls for an end to Linguistic Gymnastics and Ventriloquism

An Uachtarain has described the dual standards of discipline we have put up with all summer, nay for years and years as a culture of ‘people speaking out of both corners of their mouth’.

Now if we could just stop you there dear reader and ask you to read the first paragraph out of both corners of your mouth, you’ll be doing well not to cover your keyboard in drool and slabber. That’s a technical point so read on.

“It is annoying and frustrating that individual cases and individuals themselves are challenging the system through legal routes,” he said.

Now that would be the DRA route the PTB created would it?

One of six proposals he is putting before the Rule Book Task Force for implementation envisages the Central Appeals Committee in future comprising people with a legal background. “There’s no question now that when people go through the Hearings Committee and in more and more cases legal opinion is being sought. The members (of the Appeals committee) are not legal people and we are putting them in a crazy position. The thrust of what I was saying was more to do with the whole culture out there. The annoyance I was expressing on behalf of an awful lot of GAA people was at the challenge to some of the cases – and people were not doing the Association a service by what they did.”

He didn’t come out and blame a certain Tyrone GAA Lawyer for quoting Lord Hoffman in the Bradley case at the DRA but that’s probably what he meant. And in a comment obviously not aimed at himself he said he would love to see more people being prepared to put their hand up and admit when they were wrong. In particular, county board officers had a particular responsibility – ‘to the Association at large.’

“Often those counties who take on a case like that are often landed with a case on their doorstep with one of their clubs where they have to do precisely what we are suggesting should be done – and they don’t show the same level of clemency towards players. There are double standards here – people talking out of both sides of their mouths! It’s not easy, I have been there myself. A county chairman can come under pressure from a team manager, but you have to stand up and be counted and take the overall good of the Association to heart.”

Talking Balls has the good of the association at heart so here we go. We admit, sometimes we are wrong. Not often but sometimes.

Devenney Ducks Ulster Club

In the week that Whatyoumecallim got his job back and called for total commitment from the Donegal panel, something that evidently wasn’t evident last year, St Eunan’s ace Brendan Deveney has announced that he won’t be playing in the Ulster Club Championship. What I hear you say? Surely winning with your club is the highest honour the Gods can bestow upon the humble Gaelic and Atheletic Player. Not so for Devenney.

“That’s it for me now,” sez he “I won’t be playing in the Ulster Championship. I am taking a break for a few months as my body just couldn’t take any more. I have had to take injections to be able to play in the last five matches so the time has come to take a break.”

Meanwhile, Thingummybobber’s reappointment comes with a few strings attached with the news that he must rely on a more streamlined management structure. He also is demanding more from the panels reputed to be the country’s biggest party animals:

“Discipline continues to be a big, big priority. The players have taken the first step in that they had discussed that issue before I met with them. They themselves are very much aware that it has to be sorted out. Our aim will be to have players totally committed in every sense. It will be the number one priority to get a team that is totally disciplined and totally dedicated. If I don’t get 30 and I am down to 24, then I will accept that – 24 men who totally committed and every single facet of their preparation is designed to make them the best players in the country.”

The problem is Brian, you might end up with about three totally committed players and then where’ll ye be?

Smoothie Lover McGeeney Paddles his Own Curragh

The least well kept secret in Gaelic and Athletic Circle is out with news that Armagh’s All Ireland winning captain, and gaelic and athletic’s answer to Roy Keane, has followed the Corkman’s footsteps into management with Kildare. Regular fans will know that Geezer retired slightly prematurely from the Armagh set up in protest at the way in which the County board treated his friend Paul Grimley. Although the dogs in the street may claim to know why he actually retired Geezer says:

“No doubt people will say different things about me walking away from Armagh. My friends and family know why the decision was made. There comes a time in everybody’s life when you have to move on.”

“For me every time I stepped out in an Armagh jersey I’ve always known it would be 100 percent. I thought this year that with some of the things that have happened for me I wouldn’t be able to give it 100 percent and that wouldn’t be fair to any county jersey.”

Meanwhile marketing circles are awash with speculation that on the back of the McGeeney tie up, fruit smoothie company Innocent may hook up with the Lilywhite’s whiter than white image to become their shirt sponsors in a deal that would be a perfect match for fruit fanatic McGeeney. Bonita bananas would also be considered an appropriate match given McGeeney’s voracious appetite for fruit and what some people consider his bananas decision to enter the management arena with a team of notorious underperformers.

As he sets out on the management trail, McGeeney has also revealed he may have to reconsider his playing career. Somehow we can’ see him out playing for the reserves. He also has said he will consider his membership of the GPA especially considering he is technically no longer a player. Although Kildare Chairman Syl Merrins is as pleased as a pooch with four plums, it is not known what the Kildare players think.

One player said to no-one in particular, “I’m actually a bit afraid of him – I’m afraid he’ll f***in kill us. We were happy being shite.”

The GOAL Shirt challenge – Beerguts on Parade in Tight Shirts Horror

On 19 October, GOAL are asking you to take a deep breath and hold in the oul gut to get your teams shirt on for Goal Jersey day. The point of the exercise -apart from embarrassing middle aged men that should never wear sports gear – is to raise funds for Goal.

Getting involved is easy; just register at www.goaljersey.com and make a small contribution on the day. All the money raised goes to GOAL’s work in the developing world and, with administration costs at just 5%, you can rest assured that your money will certainly reach those who need it most.
GOAL currently works in 11 countries throughout Africa, Asia and South America.

Over the years, the sports enthusiasts’ charity has provided many historic sporting moments. And GOAL has received great support from the sporting community itself. Amongst those backing Jersey Day 2007 are British Open Golf Champion Pádraig Harrington, former rugby great Gordon D’Arcy and Gaelic and athletic’s Sean Óg, DJ Carey, and Henry Shefflin.

Last year over 420 schools and thousands of companies signed up for Jersey Day, raising over €350,000 for the poorest of the poor.

On October 19th, throw on a jersey and help GOAL throw out poverty.

Talking Balls Link: To join the fun and get your information pack, register at www.goaljerseyday.com or call GOAL on 01 2809779.

If You Get a Ticket for the Nally… You’re in the Wrong Place…

Last week in An Charraig Mór – like a phoenix from the flames, Croke Park’s oul Nally stand remerged at the bottom corner of Pairc Colmcille’s pitch. Idiosyncratically located in exactly the same corner of the field as it stood in Croker, the stand is a testament to the mentality of the Carmen club. The stand was taken down piece by piece in Croker and brought back to the heart of Tyrone where it was lovingly reassembled in situ. The Carrickmore club now has probably the best behind the goals stand of any club in Ireland.

At the official opening of the stand, former GAA President Sean Kelly said:

“The people of Carrickmore have shown great foresight, but also great generosity and courage to take on the responsibility of getting the stand up from Croke Park and erecting it here. This is the only stand to have survived, and it makes it even more important.”

They have asked Talking Balls to remind any counties knockin’ down stadia to build supermarkets that they will take any second hand stands away at no extra charge. Already there are rumours that the Guinness stand from Landsdowne Road will be erected in the Main street in Carrickmore to offer a better viewing point for the Easter commemorations.

Focus on Foreign Games

Occasionally we take a look at Foreign Games. This week we’re loving it.

“We know that Wayne can penetrate, that Cristiano Ronaldo can penetrate and Carlos can in a different way so I’m happy.”

So said that oul bollox Alex Ferguson in praise of his team. Obviously you know something the rest of us don’t Alex.

It’s official. The Irish Rugby team weren’t shite in the World Cup. It was all a horrible blip. Come the all important Six Nations, all will be well and Ireland and the other Micky Mouse countries will be able to battle it out for the most second rate competition in world rugby and sure that’s all that counts. The coach’s job is safe and sure the world cup is a stupid oul thing anyway. Gaelic and athletic begrudgers everywhere including Talking Balls say thanks be to jaze the oul oval ball game has took a bit of an oul kick in the balls. The oul momentum it was getting was putting us under a bit of pressure but sure now the ball’s burst and they can go back to their pints-swilling-song-singing-blazer-and-silly stripey-tie-molly-malone-jolly-japery.

Oh, and will the last rugger bugger out of Croker turn off the lights, cos ye won’t be back ye shower of useless hoors. Ireland’s Call, me hole.

Be Prepared, Be Prepared.

This week Resident expert Ger Manas took the opportunity to go to watch some youngsters kicking balls in an under sevens competition. He was refreshed at what he saw.

It’s a true thing that most players I ever had the privilege to work with loved their clubs. Many’s an arse I managed too who wouldn’t have cared if their club folded so long as they were about a county team, or whatever. A bit of fame and they soon forgets who trained them and the men that’s put in the hours week in week out to coach them to correct whatever bad habits they have or whatever they can’t do right. The ones with brains understand that but there’s many’s a dumbf**k pulled on a gaelic or hurlin’ shirt and theirs is the loss.

The club’s the thing for me no doubt about that – the county men gets their glory but at the club ye see fellas that would split an atom if they thought it would win them a match against the oul rival over the river. The good club player will play all the games he can and that includes hurlin’, football – bloody golf if they have to.

The thing about the clubs as you boys know too is that it starts early. And watching young ones with their shirts on and them as proud as punch, struttin’ onto the field – jaze twould bring a tear to a statue’s eye. Last weekend the daughter’s cub was toul he and his wee group would be goin’ off to play in a wee fun games competition. There’s about twelve of them trains every Saturday doing balls skills and them fundamentals and all that shite. The youngsters is aged from 5-7 and the wee grandson he’s only five but he’s a great wee nipper and him and his cousin that’s seven – they spend every hour day and night kickin’ ball and hurlin’. They have them GAA store goals up – great job them things – and there’s more matches in the back yard in a week than there are in Croker in a year. Ye’ll see Ryan McMenamin get stuck into Henry Shefflin in a moment of confusion that even that eejit Mark Vaughan couldn’ think up.

There’s the occasional delay when the ref has to recover the ball from a tree and sometimes the oul hound-dog might decide to take a load off round about the forty-five, or worse again leave a load on the twenty-one. The groundsman then will have to come one and do a bit of oul pitch repair before the ball’s hopped and the game’s back on. The lads love it. Any visitors get roped into a game and I’ve seen the wife out in the support stockin’s doing goals as the size four Go Games balls sails past her head over the bar.

There’s more natural hazards in the back yard and I remember Tiger Woods oul boy Earl telling me once that he’d prepared Tiger for every eventuality by putting him off his stroke every way he could. He was like that eejit Cato in the Inspector Clouseau movies, the Black Panther or whatever they were called. Jaze, oul Tiger would be lining up one in the bog and the da would lep out of the airing cupboard and scare the shite out of him. ‘Be prepared’ he would say – bit like Japeth the Goat in the Hoodwinked move. Twas Geezer told me to watch that movie -Jaze it’s as funny as bedamned (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HSuXWVzAz0) . I use the goat as a video now to show me players.

Anyway, back to the youngsters – we headed off to watch the oul blitz. Out appears our lads for the game – the ouldest seven – the youngest five – and them proud as could be with their club shirts on and them rarin’ to go for their first ever game. The crowd they were playin’ from up the country looked like they were oul hands and they had a wee girl in midfield that could catch, kick and run. She was as mobile as could be, red headed and not afraid to get stuck in. When the ball was threw in they tore into our lads. One wee lad proved himself to be a solid wee defender – when he caught the ball he knew to run out the side and hoof her down the field. The other lads took a while to get into it – meanwhile the points went over and the goals went in for the other team. Our lads got a score here and there but when it came to the oul duck – going in rootin’ about and winnin’ the ball they were novices – what else do you expect from a five year old or a six year old. But they were as game as pheasants. Our fella caught the ball at one stage and immediately the other wee lad caught him man and ball everything and popped the ball – jaze he was a like a junior geezer the way he hit him. I could see the young grandson – the tears welled…. the back garden matches are one thing but this was for real.

In the next game we played the same team again for the craic and they asked me to ref it. I evened things up by givin’ our lads a few handy frees and clamped down on some of the more rugby style tackling. Seven v Seven in a small pitch means there’s no space but the lads did better. I gave the oul grandson a handy free – I reckoned he needed the break and jaze I could feel the lump in my throat -he picks up the ball, steps back, wee chest out and head up, back of the sleeve across the nose and eyes. The confidence was back in him. He knew could kick a point here and that’s what he did – sailed her over the bar. Had to wipe me own nose and eyes meself. After that he was happier. The other wee lads kept her lit too. They drew that match I think – I couldn’t keep track of the score so I called her a draw anyway. In the last game they did to another wee team what had been done to them in the first game. One wee lad from the other team sat down to pick grass round about the middle of the park. Another walked off saying he had to go for a drink. Three wee teams – each at a different stage. Meant the world to some of them tho’ and that’s what mattered. And they had fun.

And there it starts. Twas the best day out I had all summer.

by michael