Sunday 23 November 2014

Well done Gah fans. Look at a gift horse. And kick it

Published 03/04/2014 | 02:30

League of Ireland fans are spitting with jealousy about the GAA/Sky deal - so why are Gah heads so against it? Shane Robinson, Shamrock Rovers, in action against Danny North, Sligo Rovers.
League of Ireland fans are spitting with jealousy about the GAA/Sky deal - so why are Gah heads so against it? Shane Robinson, Shamrock Rovers, in action against Danny North, Sligo Rovers.
The average League of Ireland fan is spitting bullets of jealousy over the GAA/Sky deal.
Kim Kardashian has waded into the Syrian conflict

I was talking to a colleague the other day and, as often happens, the League Of Ireland came up in conversation.

He was bemoaning the current state of the local game in Ireland and went off on a rant against its administration. It veered wildly from his resentment of the people at the grassroots level who he thinks are well meaning but shambolic, to those at the top of the FAI, who he thinks are simply evil. As I said, he's a big League of Ireland fan, so nuance isn't his strong point.

In fact, when it comes to the brainiacs who run the upper echelons of the game in this country, his hackles automatically raise and he starts to splutter and squeak in increasingly incomprehensible expressions of rage and vitriol.

Again, as I said, he's a LoI fan, so that kind of behaviour will be familiar to any who know that breed.

If there's one thing that enrages him more than the idea of Derry winning the league, however, it is the GAA. Not the GAA in terms of the sport, although he has serious misgivings about any sport that involves anyone other than the goalie touching the ball – he doesn't have much time for rugby, either. No, he remains convinced that Ireland would be a better place if people simply played with the ball on the ground, the way God and Liam Tuohy intended.

Frankly, if his daughter were to come home and say she was marrying Osama bin Laden's son and quite fancied the idea of becoming a female suicide bomber, he'd sit her down and have a serious chat about the mistakes she was making. But if she came home and announced that she was marrying a Kerry GAA fan, I reckon he might suddenly declare that he has no daughter, banish her from the house, destroy all pictures of her and retire to his garden shed, where he could weep bitter tears of regret into his favourite Rovers away jersey.

But he has more in common with the Gah lads than he might expect – because they seem to be the only people more annoyed at the GAA-Sky deal than he is.

His resentment, at least, is consistent – he sees the GAA as the enemy and given the lengths Thomas Davis GAA club went to scupper the Shamrock Rovers move to Tallaght, he may have a point.

In fact, he thinks that the new vistas that have opened up for gaelic games with the TV deal will – quelle horreur! – attract non-Irish people to a game he thinks is an abomination.

So even he is baffled at why so many GAA supporters are opposed to the deal and when anyone looks at things from a logical level – not my colleague's strongest point, as you've probably gathered – this furious opposition doesn't make much sense.

In fact, some of the static expressed towards the deal seems to come from good, old-fashioned resistance to any change. According to Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh: "A fair percentage of elderly people and people in rural areas will not have access to Sky television. It will be a major, major break from tradition. Sky represents major multinational business and some people won't like that."

I stand open to correction, but the phrase "Sky represents major multinational business and some people won't like that" could almost be interpreted as "Sky represents English business and some people won't like that".

As for those who are so obsessed with tradition?

Well, if they really wanted to retain that tradition, should they not simply stick to crowding into someone's cow shed and gathering around the one radio in the village to listen to the matches? After all, I've read Walter Macken, I know how these people behave.

So, for the average GAA fan who feels a seething sense of patriotic resentment at the idea of a broadcaster from perfidious Albion coming along and trying to sex up their sport – can you not derive some satisfaction from the fact that the average League of Ireland fan is spitting bullets of jealousy?

After all, we're always told that these games represent the 'spirit of the Gael'.

And given the fact that triumphalism and spite seem to be an integral part of that spirit, the casual observer would have thought they'd be delighted with themselves at getting one over on their hated 'soccer' foe.

Anyway, Richard Keys and Andy Gray are still looking for work – I bet they'd fit right in.

WELL, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

The ridiculous scam that was Feng Shui gathered steam in Ireland for a few years and then promptly receded back into the wibbling, wobbling New Age obscurity from whence it came.

Further proof that the whole thing is a con came with yesterday's news that a Feng Shui expert in Hong Kong came to a suitably undignified end.

Zheng Guoqiang – for it is he – brought a family to a local cemetery to pick out the best plot. As he wandered around doing his best Feng Shui thang, he picked a spot, informed the family this was the perfect place, declared that the "vibrations are good in this place" and... was promptly killed in a landslide.

Well, he did say it was a good place to be buried, so maybe there's more to Feng Shui than I thought...

WELL DONE KIM – HAVEN'T THEY SUFFERED ENOUGH?

Renowned thinker and world-famous humanitarian Kim Kardashian has become embroiled in the fun and frolics in Syria after she posted a tweet with the hashtag #SaveKesseb.

The town of Kesseb has been the scene of some bitter fighting and, according to Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for Syrian National Coalition: "We are glad Kim Kardashian is taking an interest in this issue."

Maybe they could invite her to visit there when the fighting is most savage, so she can see the action for herself?

Sure, that would be dangerous, even suicidal.

But it's certainly a risk I'm prepared for her to take.

Irish Independent

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