Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 24 July 2017

Evolving Dubs look set for kingdom date

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

The maturing sun shone on St Stephen's Green. Hundreds ate ice cream as their main course. A large man tore at his athlete's foot with a biro. The office girls hitched up their skirts and the ducks broke bread with their feeders.

Sao Paolo's own Carlos Da Silva is a ball juggler on Grafton Street. Carlos uses his crutches as dual purpose keepy-uppies. Tap-tap. Left to right. Up on his head. Back down. There are no knock-ons. The ball is controlled only by his crutches and his head.

Our resplendent capital was full of itself on Monday. Dublin is now a truly cosmopolitan city. There were tourists everywhere this week and more long-stay residents than ever before now live in the city.

Dublin has changed more in terms of demographics in the last 15 years than at any time since the Vikings. When I worked here in the 80s, Dublin was a just a big town. The river reeked, the city was crumbling, the pubs closed early and money was as scarce as it is now, but we laughed a lot and you knew most of the influx of culchies were going to stay put and make baby Dubs. The newcomers all spoke the same language and came from the same gene pool. Mixing was easy.

Exactly what the new Dublin will evolve into is beyond me. The old cliche of mammy, daddy, 13 kids, Bang Bang, and Ronnie Drew all eatin' out of the one pot of coddle is long gone.

accents

The Dub from one part of the city may be different to the natives of another. The accents tell a tale of have and have nots. That's the way it is in a city of over a million.

I'm sure there are thousands of new Dubs who don't even know there's a match on. The plan back in the boom, if there was a plan, was to bring in labour to service the demand for what we wanted but did not need. There was no mention of integration or how the invasion by invitation would affect our culture. Every country needs new blood. The country that stays the same stagnates but Dublin needs Dublin football more than ever.

The team and their supporters ground a city in transition. A city, for all its delights, history, innate energy and irrepressible optimism, which is struggling to define itself in a word or a sentence. Maybe that's the way it should be. Unity in diversity.

If the EU ordered us to display our origins on our clothes then the majority of the labels would detail constituent ingredients such as the Rift Valley in Kenya and the Basque Country.

But maybe we left too many in. I think we accidentally got the numbers right. Time will tell.

The decent new Irish have developed their own brand of Irishness which is nearly all for the good but it's vitally important to hold on to what brings out the best in us.

Politicians shy away from the question of just how many in need we can we take in without compromising our identity and our economic future. If you say we're full, then you're branded a racist. We all know there are parts of 'culture' such as the keening of bad Irish country songs which should be banned forthwith. I'd prefer to listen to a death sentence passed on myself.

integration

This is a small island and we can only take so much change in a short space of time. Dublin is the city with most newcomers and sport can fast-track the integration process which, in the past, spanned generations.

We have written all summer of the difference in Dublin between match days and week days.

The Dubs supporters are a happy lot. We in Kerry push bits of Auntie Joan's lovely dinner around the plate like army divisions seeking to camouflage the fact we're unable to eat with the nerves. We sip brandy and port to settle the stomach and wish the match was over.

Dublin see as it a day out. A chance to dress up in blue and party. To have some fun. They're quick, the Dublin fans.

An old Dub's missus greeted a male friend with a kiss in Parnell Square on Sunday last.

We tuned in.

"I'm going to take your missus home to bed," slagged the male friend.

"Good luck to yez," replied the old Dub -- "it'll be one less chore for me to do!"

Apologies to Donegal but, as the presiding officer said in Dublin South Central recently, we have only so much room. How we long for a few days in McGrory's of Culdaff, right up at the top, nearly in Orkney.

Maybe we might get the chance to write about Donegal in the final. They will give it a fair old go but I fear even Donegal cannot play in defence and attack at the same time.

My guess is there will only be one green and gold team in Croke Park on September 18 -- and that will be Kerry.

Irish Independent

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