NA FIANNA and NELSON


Eoin Murchan of Dublin and Na Fianna

Most fans, excluding the genuine, were half expecting some kind of twist immediately prior to half time in the Replay. On the basis that in the two All Ireland Finals immediately prior to last Saturday, one hurling, one football, two red cards had been shown.


The Genuine Fan, however, was fully sure that these Sunday afternoon fans would be wrong: the twist would definitely come immediately AFTER half time and that the signature colour would be green. You don’t get to be classified as genuine unless you have purged yourself of being half-assed, especially about forecasts.


So it proved. Crucially, while Oliver indeed asked for more, it wasn’t for more of the same.

The Genuine Fan, indeed, had even gone so far as to predict who the scorer would be, in the following elliptical forecast, if anyone had been bothered to listen:


-He will be so innocent of face, and all on his own as if he is a street urchin; he will be lifted in over the turnstiles, and will be so appreciative of this good turn, that he will repay his deserving benefactor, by going forth and turning on the style. That goal of his will turn out, indeed, to be the turning point of a game which will have been up till then, a first half and a half.


For those blistering yard-devouring eleven seconds, the Baby Face Nelson of Na Fianna (for it was he!) became Kerry’s most Wanted Man. That he was true to his promise also came as no surprise to The Genuine Fan. For he was but being true to the motto of his parish club:


-Glaine in ár gCroíthe / Purity in our hearts; Neart in ár nGéaga / Strength in our Limbs; Beart de réir ár mBriathar / Action according to our Words.


Indeed, the last of the three-part motto was subsequently siphoned off and adopted by Wing Commander J. Gavin.


The week of the count down to the Saturday had proved to be strong in portents, some more important than others.


Take Thursday, for example.


That was the day the fans and The Genuine Fan alike found themselves caught between a rock and the deep blue sea in the first instance, and caught between the devil and a hard place in the second instance. When it came to putting their réal where their béal was.


No wonder: Wednesday was 9/11 while Friday was the 13th.


The Genuine Fan didn’t stay caught for too long: taking as ever the longer view he looked back to the Monday and its more impotant portent: when the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. announced his impending retirement. Indeed, this prompted The Genuine Fan to take an even longer look back to a day comparable to last Saturday: August 21, 1977.


On that day of days (Mark 1), of the most legendary semi for Sam, one name on every fan’s lips, including The Genuine, was Son of Sam. On August 10, he, the serial killer who had terrorised his part of New York, was captured, after being top of the Most Wanted list. The borough of Yonkers went barmy with delight. Just as Heffo’s Army went bonkers with delight when Sam was subsequently re-captured.


So?


A good omen, if ever there was one.


How?


Son of Sam’s real surname was Berkowitz.


Speaker John Bercow’s real surname is Berkowitz.


The Genuine Fan knew this but wasn’t speaking, except to his genuine friends. He heard the sloothery sounds emanating from the Deep South West, amidst a suppository of ‘I supposes’ and kept his good counsel:


- Yerra, to quote Yogi Berra, we Kerry boys go into the replay as overwhelming underdogs.


The Genuine Fan knew too that the weather would hold, so he wasn’t worried that The Pandit of Punditry had been handed his furled surname by RTE and told to:


-Go, Joe, pronto.


For with his ears to the House of Commons, that uber commoner, The Genuine Fan, knew there would be another fan with a furled brolly of true blue in attendance on the Hill. He would be a Jake among the Jacks, with a Tory-island sized rosette of blue and bluer on his wing-span lapel (which first caught the eye of The Wing Commander and prompted his selection as a secret weapon). He would be tall, and lean and aristocratic of appearance with a pair of rimless spectacles in the mode of a monocle, underneath his top hat.


He would arrive early and would adopt a semi-recumbent posture till it was time to rise, on the terrace directly behind the Dispatch Box aka The Penalty Box. Fear would be instilled into the Boggers by the shrill, piercing, Etonian lawdy-daw voice of Moggers (for it is he!):


- I say, come away the Metropolitans!


Finally, amidst all the laughter and the quaffing from the most arduous chalice of them all, speculation has been rife re the future plans of An Bainisteoir and/or The Captain: will they stay or will they go, not to mention the greybeards on the Sky Blue panel.


The Genuine Fan, as ever, is happy to nail down one solid piece of fact-checked evidence: the lugubrious strains of Molly Malone will no longer be heard on Hill 16. No longer will she wheel her w.b. over the toes of fans both broad and genuinely narrow.

For the impending, long postponed nuptials have just been announced between:


-Sam Maguire and Ms. Molly Malone.


I say, make way for the Molly Maguires!

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