Thursday 27 October 2016

Paul Kimmage: Hurling gives me an amazing sense of peace and joy

Published 10/09/2016 | 02:30

Tipperary’s man of the match Seamus Callanan celebrates at the final whistle Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Tipperary’s man of the match Seamus Callanan celebrates at the final whistle Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Frank Abagnale – depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can – was one of the most famous fibbers of all time.

Paul Kimmage, of the Sunday Independent, popped up on The Last Word (Today FM, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) after a very entertaining All-Ireland hurling final. He had Matt play a quote from a Woody Allen movie, essentially declaring that all life was meaningless and depressing.

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Kimmage jokingly but seriously said he was that character. And why wouldn't he be, after 25 years of covering mostly the bad things in sport: cheats, drugs, corruption, etc.

But then, Paul added, at the hurling, he was "filled with this amazing sense of peace and joy… The national anthem comes on and I feel this sense of Irishness that's completely irrational. That I'd never feel at any time other than the All-Ireland final. (Then) the game starts, and it's pure. Absolutely pure and believable. Everything you've dreamed about sport as a kid is unfolding in front of you".

Lovely stuff, only topped by Marty Morrissey's inspirational opening salvo to his match commentary on Sunday Sport (Radio 1, 2pm), which not only encapsulated what All-Ireland day means to Irish people at home and abroad… but namechecked both Bowie and Prince along the way. Star man.

(PS, the result was pretty sweet, too.)

Meanwhile, "Who is JT LeRoy?" asks Dave Fanning on his eponymous show (2fm, Sat-Sun 9am). Guest Niamh Shaw replies: "Nobody, effectively."

Well, exactly. Good old JT didn't exist, you see, but was a character invented by an author for one of those "harrowing memoirs of childhood horror" that turn out to be fake. There are so many of these con-jobs, the whole genre of memoir and autobiography should come with a doctor's warning.

This was part of an enjoyable chat about fakes in general: hoaxes, imposters, chancers. Niamh referenced James Frey's fictitious 'memoir', A Million Little Pieces, the one Oprah urged her fans to buy.

We also met art hoaxer and forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, Frank Abagnale - immortalised in the Spielberg movie Catch Me If You Can - the amnesiac 'piano man' Andreas Grassl and Christophe Rocancourt, possibly the most surreal and colourful of the lot. (It'd take an entire column to detail everything he's done.)

Great fun, and what a rogues' gallery.

Stephen Donnelly presumably could talk for 10 minutes about rogues' galleries, too, having spent the last five years in the Dáil. (Oh go on, laugh.) The Wicklow TD spoke to Mary Wilson on Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) about quitting the Social Democrats.

I must say, the whole situation strikes me as pretty daft. Donnelly only co-founded the party (with Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy) last summer - barely a year ago. And now he's already broken up the band?

Also, I find it hard to respect Shortall because she jumped ship from Labour about 18 months into a difficult and unpopular term of office, instead of sticking the course and doing the job she's paid to do, like her colleagues did. Personally, I'd never vote for her on that point of principle alone.

Having said that, the SDs seem ok - in a vague, wishy-washy, wannabe Scandi-progressive sort of way - and Donnelly seems more than okay. I've heard him speak in public, too, and find him smart, likeable, well-intentioned, well-informed, reasonable and, most of all, authentic (and did so again here).

In a world where too many public figures are inept, crooked, stupid, lazy, or all four, he's something of a rarity. I also feel, now he's independent, the Government could do worse than offer Donnelly a Cabinet seat. I can think of at least one current minister who's completely out of their depth and should be given the shepherd's crook tout suite.

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