AERIAL COMBAT



Jim Gavin and Jason Sherlock on the sideline of Croke Park

After a first half in which Croagh Patrick lorded it over Hill Sixteen, the c-word must have come to the mind of all genuinely authentic and true blue Dublin fans.


That is, those who never miss an away game in the O’Byrne Cup, i.e, those who had to be content to watch it on the box at home, being slower to the queue than the early out-and-about ticket touts at the local Super Valu and Centra outlets.


And not just any run of the mill c-word either but an uber contemporary c-word:


- Counter-intuitive.


(A daaaaarlin’ word, Joxer).


The score-board read a scarcely credible 8 points to 6. A mere two point deficit for the Dubs, when it should have been treble that, at the very least. Meaning a six point deficit, 12-6, meaning the Mayo back seat passengers had notched up double that which the learner drivers of Dubland had notched. Such was the shellacking the Occidentals had inflicted on the Orientals, i.e. on the team with the L plate on their rear window. Mayo having just wiped the grass with Jayo. Got that?


In the half time studio of RTE, (which all g. a. a. t. b. Dub fans - see above - were compelled to glue to) the least informed member of the foursome wondered if An Bainisteoir of Baile Átha Cliath would resort to the equivalent of the hair-dryer treatment. The more au fait of the foursome demurred.


If there were to be a resort to an item of domestic use, it would be to a less noisy item, i.e, a compact box of ARIEL washing powder on the table, with its distinctive red and green colouring and its cast ironboard guarantee to be an outstanding pain, oops, stain remover.


For Wing-Commander Jim Gavin (for it is he!), is no stranger to aerial combat. In total contrast to his galvanic displays of bucklepping antics on the sideline (to which the public is routinely exposed) his demeanour Behind Closed Doors (a favourite party piece of legendary Dub fan Charlie ‘Rich’ Haughey, incidentally) ticks quite the opposite box.

There, in the padlocked privacy of the dressing room, he does not speak; merely demonstrates. In this instance he points to the box of ARIEL washing powder. Point made, i.e., its goal to add a point to the to-be-regained two points from the deficit. He then chalks up on the blackboard:


-P.K.


And then quickly looks around, eyeballing each and every player of the 26, like the beacon light from the control tower in ‘Ebony Eyes’ as it whipped through the dark ebony skies before finally settling on the Centaur Fielder, aka the Man called Horse. Who nods his understanding.


That was the P. accounted for.


The Wing-Commander then eyeballs the number 8, who likewise, nods his understanding. Time now, for the second half.


And as the ball was thrown in, Michael Darragh Macauley had only one word on his mind :

-Punchestown.


Which he abbreviated in the balling of his front right hoof to:


-P for Punch.


Thus, in one punch was this continued failure of the Four-in-a-Row Dublin team to win the throw-in ball, negated; it took his partner, Brian Fenton, a second b.f. trauma of a goal at the Canal End in as many weeks, to complete the goal-rush :


-K for Klondike.


Cometh the 60th minute / three score mark, cometh the Eany Meanie from Raheny.

And of course, this being Dublin, P.K. had a double-meaning, effortlessly decoded by genuine authentic true-blue Dub supporters:


-Peak.


The Peak of Croagh Patrick had been vanquished by a combination of the following:

- apart from the above two, the two goals by that urban guerilla from an unlikely Dalkey,

King Con who gave Lee Keegan the slip. It would have been three goals (one at the Railway End ) only the fabric of his blue and bluer gansey was being severely but ‘secretly’ tested by the likely lad, LK and for which the ref did not give the pip: like Connolly, like Con.


- a block by Mick Fitzsimons, the sort of block upon which monuments are built:


- Drock, Dean of the Studied Indifference;


- a calm return to the Comerford zone by the imperturbable keeper of the game, Cluxton;


- a super wriggle free by Trooper Cooper which must have appealed enormously to his Bainisteoir’s inner Biggles;


- Davy Byrne, moral Dub, and the way he can instinctively catch on to the intention of a forward, not unlike that of a, erm, counter-intuitive barman and the way he can catch the eye of a customer in a crowded bar, possibly even of the trendy variety;


- Kilkenny’s marble toughness, and his relentless black as ink catalogue of moves, for good luck;


- Howard, the second Brian, powered with brain and brawn, from Raheny of the Eany Meanies, ach gan bheith níos mo;who did not go easy on the Mayo;


- Mannion, who alternates so fluidly between the backs, the mids and the forwards as if he is auditioning for the role of the Three Likely Laddies from Bannion;


- McCarthy, whose tanned legs showed how much he has benefited from a spell in the Costa del Ballymundo.


All of which led the red and green (who managed a red card and a green flag) to flounder like a befuddled Theresa Mayo exiting from their Number 10 defeat on the trot to the Dubs. (No, not actually Number 10 but this is what befuddlement brings to the table).

The reputation of the Mayo Clinic too, alas, has lost some altitude. Certainly, if one is to judge by its decision to send out some of its walking wounded back into the fray, prematurely.


Now that the Peak has been conquered, it’s next on to the Reeks.


PS Anybody know the best spot (beauty or otherwise) to park there after driving down to Disneyworld on an espionage mission? To eavesdrop on the Jarvey who is a Leprechaun:


- He swore the Giant's Causeway had been in the Phoenix Park, And it was in Killarney's lakes that Noah built the ark!


All our Yerra-days remain to be avenged.

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