'Once the ground dried, he was rounded as easily as a Crimean roadblock'
Published 03/05/2014 | 02:30
Mikey Muddy is getting caught out now that the soil is beginning to dry out. The year started out the finest, what with all the rain and the rivers busting their banks.
Meenagansmal GAA pitch was supposedly all-weather but no amount of drainage could dry out the field after rains that had nervous men building arks in hay sheds. Indeed, Mikey was the only man in the club to vote against the drainage which was paid for by the local returned-from-England millionaire, who went across the water with a tenner and a hammer only to return with £15m, sterling.
Mikey spoke passionately at the club meeting. "The all-weather fields will be too firm. Lads' ligaments will be stretched like knicker elastic on a strong woman. There will be injuries and dislocations and lacerations, for sure," he pleaded.
But the truth was Mikey Muddy was thinking about himself. Once the summer and the fast ground came, he was rounded as easily as a Crimean roadblock.
He was good as ever, they told him earlier that spring. "I must have been a hippo in a previous life," thought Mikey as he flicked a light townie into the air, like he was no more than a beaten docket at the bookies.
Mikey would meet neighbours in the post office and they'd say "isn't it great to see the bit of fine weather?" and Mikey would say "aha" even though he dreaded the sun as much as any vampire or mud wrestler.
His only hope was there would be another season like the wettest year since records began, when Mikey was 'unanimously' selected as Player of the Year by 21 votes to 19. The two-metre-high trophy made of plastic, plastic wood and plastic gold towered over the umbrella stand.
"That was the summer," laughed Mikey, of the two showers of rain. One lasted all of July and the other all of August. Twas like playing in The Bog of Allen. He'd meet lads at the pub who'd be complaining about all the rain, the fodder crisis, and the seaside towns as lonesome as desert islands after nuclear bomb experiments.
But Mikey smiled as he thought of the spindly-legged corner- forwards stuck like flies on sticky paper while he ploughed up the field like an Irish draft horse.
Ah, but Mikey Muddy loved nothing better than nailing corner- forwards, especially the lads with the narrow boyband hips who played a bit of soccer and shouted "mind your house" when anyone was going in hard behind 'em.
Lads like dem were fair game with their earphones and tufty heads shaved on either side and their tight red pants and complaining there was no mirror in the dressing-room and texting and twittering while he was making a passionate speech before the relegation battle at the bottom of Divison 7C (North, B). Oh but he hated dem all. All the narrow hips.
Then some b****x in New Zealand forecast the best summer ever. Sure, didn't the minors cancel their post-Leaving Cert binge to Ibiza when the Kiwi declared early moulting penguins and the spotting of a rare school of hermaphrodite dolphins buckleppin' off Auckland were a guarantee of a fine summer.
The league final was only a week away and the field was as hard as the road. The narrow hips lost their pale faces and were thriving. Mikey took to the bed with depression, but sometimes the bed can be the best place for thinking things up.
The townie millionaire home from England had put in a new sprinkler system in the county ground. The system was turned on full pelt all through the night before the final by what the county chairman described "as the opposite to arsonists", as he didn't know the word for flooders.
The cost paid to Irish Water was in the thousands but the culprit was never apprehended. There were some, though, in Meenagansmal who wondered why Mikey Muddy was wearing oil skins and wellingtons when the narrow hips were in sandals and shorts.
Mikey was outstanding. One of the narrow hips complained that he swallowed an earth worm when Mikey buried him face down in the Flanders mud. "Shut up outa dat, you little whinger," grunted Mikey. "Sure aren't they mad for dem over in France."
The day was won and Mikey was man of the match. He suffered a hamstring a week later when the fine weather came back and the Garda were watching the sprinklers.
It is expected he will only be fit to play again in late October, barring an Indian summer.