top of page


Updated: Jul 31, 2019

There was a certain symmetry about this summer’s 4 Super 8 games at the weekend: Tyrone and Mayo won with scorelines which flattered them while Cork and Meath were anything but battered.

The only dud was the Dublin v Roscommon game but this is a dud which any Dublin dude can hang in his wardrobe of star-spangled duds without a qualm.

The palm goes, of course, to the Donegal v Kerry neo-classic: it truly put the Super back into the Super 8s.

Mention of putt, but more of which anon.

This Championship has not been kind to any county with a Caledonian ring to it.

First up was Monaghan whose current club champions, Scotstown, are currently on the drive for five county titles on the trot. The next was Roscommon whose county grounds have the whiff of Auld Reekie about it.

That is, of course, Dr. Hyde Park and Edinburgh came to mind in Roscommon’s first game in the Super Eights. That was against Tyrone and every time a Red Hand stood up to kick a scorable free, the jeers and the jibes surprisingly erupted from the home crowd.

Call it Mr. Heckle and Dr. Hyde Park.

For whatever reason, the taunts were more pointed at the haunted end of the Park. Unwise tactic. That would be the end where the Cemetery is located. Call it the Burke and Hare End. Burke was born near Strabane in the County Tyrone before he went on a free transfer to Auld Reekie.

The Dubs, of course, couldn’t give a toss whether the Rossies were clad in tartan kilts and came to toss the caber. Indeed, they took umbrage at the nerve of the initial Roscommon attack in the immediate aftermath of the toss up. In a move newly patented by Cork in the curtain raiser,

Even though the Rossies only scored a third of what the Rebels had in this initial burst, nonetheless, it was curtains for them from then on. The Dubs were having none of this Occidental impertinence.

Con O' Callaghan was quick to answer the call for instant retaliation, with a display of high fielding which for him reached a new high in the field of dreams. More and more he’s getting to grow into the King Con role thrust upon him.

As his body throws a bulkier shape, his hair gets skinnier the closer it edges to the skull, a la Mannion. This is obviously a nod in the direction of Skull Island where his near-namesake King Cong originated from. And which bears a remarkable resemblance to Dalkey Island, being also surrounded by salty water.

There has been a lot of stuff, some indeed of the guff variety, talked about the rejigging of the Provincial Championships. One small step for Dublin but one giant step for its province, would be to kick New Yawk out of Connacht and send it to the hell of Leinster. King Con has already dalked the Dalkey and it is now time for him to gawk down at New Yawk from the roof of the Empire State Building. Act-ion!

Niall Scully too, in his white boots, upped his game and rightly played as he oughter. Drock, son of a now grey Brock, blocked off every access and passage to remorse for the Rossies, without a blink of regret. Highfielding Ciarán Kilkenny fleetingly reminded the generality what the select few already knew: he fields better than anyone from a standing jump.

A joyful ploy which might yet be used to more effect at the edge of the box, the square, or even the parallelogram itself. Wing Commander Gavin, however, might well have his own professional reasons for being sparing in his use of the Vertical Take Off. That which we sad plane-spotters call the VTO.

The much read-about Rossies played with three Dalys in the first half; this was reduced to two Dalys just before half time when Conor D was deported on account of his crass deportment. Surprisingly, they were able to paper over the cracks somewhat in the second half, when it was expected they would play more, erm, weakly. This was down in a large part to the two nocturnal Conors, Hussey and Cox, rising more to the challenge. Their classy captain, Enda Smith, also foraged to the very end.

Unsurprisingly the tannoy system failed to respond to the moment by not playing a witty ditty from the Wolfe Tones:

-14 on and 14 was off.

This composition coincided with the sending off just before halftime of one, J. Keaveney in the Leinster Final against Offaly (!) of 1979.

In 1962 the Rossie goalie was involved in a controversial incident in the Connacht final against Galway as they trailed by 5 points. Aidan Brady (for it was he) swung off the crossbar and broke it in two. The crossbar had to be stretchered off.

During the 15 minute lull, as a wooden sub was being coaxed off the wooden bench, the Rossies craftily moved their G.O.M. x 2 (Their Grand Old Man, Gerry O Malley) to midfield. It proved a winning switch. Alas, in the All Ireland against Kerry, it was Gerry O Malley’s turn to be stretchered off and that’s how the Kingdom came to win the Sam of that same year.

Many years later I encountered the then Director of the Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin, one Aidan Brady (yes, for it was also he!). I tried to broach the description of the Rossie’s ganseys as ‘primrose’ and wished his professional opinion of its floral accuracy. Alas, all he wanted to talk about was the fateful day the potato blight was first detected in the Botanic Gardens back in Black '47.

To conclude, as promised, by switching from the GAA. to the GUI. To 1982 where there were three Lowrys on the Offaly panel to face Kerry on that fateful All Ireland Day.

One great afficionado (which doesn’t quite cover it), right well known to many if not most of the select readership of this wunnerful blog, as the Ancient American Welk might put it, was the late, great Brian O' Brien, so good, they named him, etc.

Although brought up and reared in The Rise, Mount Kerrion he was a Kingdom fan from cradle to grave. (The clue is in the surname). It was always one of his life’s ambitions to do what all true subjects of the Kingdom did:

- Come up for the match.

So that’s why we decided to head down to the Dingle Peninsula the Thursday before the Final. The pact we made was that he would supply the transport and y.t. the accommodation. At five o clock, cockcrow that September morn, we headed off for Croker to, yes, ‘come up for the match’.

Thus, did we make the ‘Drive for Five’ even before the term had come to terms with itself. Passing through (or even detouring through, maybe) Offaly, exiting Mass goers were treated, through the lowered window on the driver’s side, to ‘language the clergy did not know’.

On arrival at Clonliffe Road we went, by prior arrangement, our separate ways: he to the Canal End, mise to the Hill, with a pledge to meet up at a Dorset Street hostelry, not the Red Parrot, aprés Sam. For whatever mysterious reason, now lost, alas, to history, this pledge was never kept. Thus, no jug, red or claret, was pushed between the pair of us in the promised postmortem which failed to field..

Btw, one Brendan Lowry, a small, knacky forward from Clara, scored three points for Offaly at the Canal End in the first half, Which, despite being equal in value to the goal which Seamus Darby (pronounced Darby) scored late (very) at the Hill end, as all students of the Stapleford system can attest, never got quite the same kudos.

Who knows, that may well change now.

26 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page