Tuesday 6 December 2016

Billy Keane: I apologise for my part in the plot to con the Dubs into thinking they're the best

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

'Here’s one last piece of advice for Dublin, don’t believe one word you read in the papers. It’s all a plot'
'Here’s one last piece of advice for Dublin, don’t believe one word you read in the papers. It’s all a plot'

Dublin I have badly wronged you. For I was wounded by the pain of defeat. The hurt that begot insecurity fed and led to a touch of paranoia and a fondness for opinionated declarations.

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I now hereby formally apologise to the people of Dublin for suggesting their team could not be beaten. Suggesting? I shouted it from the top of The Spire, which up to then was only of any practical use for crows with itchy bums.

I solemnly declare that henceforth I will not engage in the old country spin of Building Up Dublin.

There's a conspiracy for sure. All of us country media folk meet up around this time of the year in a secret place where the signposts are turned the wrong way for Building Up Dublin. The plan is simple. Keep telling the Dubs they are great. It's all part of the Power of Positive Winking. Older hacks use tried and tested expressions like a stroll in the park, without breaking sweat and pulling a train. It worked for years but I have decided to break ranks. I will be blacklisted from every press box in the country.

I will not be taking that view, publicly. We will talk down the Dubs. The Brogan brothers aren't good enough to play for their mother's home club Listowel Emmets. Stephen Cluxton's kick-outs are unstrung kites in a tempest and none of the Dublin team were breastfed. All lies and blatant lies.

Dublin play more home games than lifers in Sing Sing. That's true but it is also true that when Dublin go behind, The Hill can go quieter than lights out in North Korea. And then there's the fact that some of the Dublin players are embarrassed at having to play every match at home. Like all young lads, they want to travel. See places where the Dubs never go. Like Mullingar, Navan and Newbridge. There's a bit of the Bear Grylls in all of us. David Attenborough made the definitive nature series Life On Earth and now Dublin want to sample a bit of Life On Leinster.

GRAZE

The Dubs crave day trips to places where sheep graze the football field to keep the grass down and towns where cows can be heard mooing in the main street. The pubs would only be too glad of 10,000 thirsty Dubs who wouldn't be as tight as the country lads and so would leave home without their sandwiches.

There's no more generous tourists than the Dubs but here's the rub, they are not as field-wise as the country lads who will invite them to the feast but will attack once the main course is served up. When the road to Croker is indirect, the perils of the journey will eventually take their toll. The curious part is Dublin are funding all the big jobs in Leinster GAA with the gate money from Croke Park. That's not Dublin's fault.

Kildare have only a short drive up the motorway. That M50 has made Ireland smaller. Brian Cowen seldom gets the credit he deserves for promoting the building of the motorways. You would hardly know the difference between built-up Dublin and built-up Kildare, but inside the GAA houses, the Kildare supporters would prefer to beat Dublin than win the lotto.

But it's only in GAA houses. I have often banged on about the big pick Dublin have and it is a huge advantage, but there are probably more youngsters playing football in Knocknagoshel than in Blackrock and Foxrock.

Sport in Dublin and most of the rest of our country has become selfish. It's look after your own body in a team of one. Fair enough but team sports are suffering. The GAA gives a cosmopolitan city an identity. There's friendships and looking out for each other and a sense of belonging.

I was watching this lad running to the office from Rathmines. His suit was in his knapsack and he was wearing lycra underpants. I'd hate to be sitting next to him at work. He'd nearly slide off his leather swivel chair. I knew by the gimp of him that he had never kicked a ball in his life and I knew by the cut of him that there was no way he would ever bring the kids down to Kilmacud Crokes. The pick thing isn't as big a factor as I made it out to be.

Kildare should be doing better. Their numbers are huge but are the GAA doing enough to get the kids from the non-GAA families out playing? There should be a house to house canvass in every town in Ireland. Kildare will have a right cut. Jason Ryan knows his stuff. Kildare are match fit. This is their All-Ireland final. Why is it the Dubs fall for the devious country tricksters every time and believe in their own supremacy? We will illustrate by way of a parable.

This local man came into our bar with his young American cousin. "There are two ways of pulling a pint of Guinness," he told the American lad.

"The first is the American method which is all one go, and then you gulp it back. It's worse than putting the glass into a washing machine and drinking up the suds. Or there's the slow way, the Irish way. The pint is pulled at a slanted angle to avoid bubbles and froth.

RESTED

"Then the two thirds-full glass is rested. Then and only then do you top up. The pint is allowed to settle once again until it becomes the blond with the black skirt. Now young lad, you will take your first sup and savour."

The American took it all in. "Which would you like," asked the Irish advisor "the turbulent American pint or the slow-pulled creamy Irish pint?" Sure what could the poor American boy say only: "Cousin Sean, I would love to drink the Irish pint."

"Sound man," praised cousin Sean "and would you like a fast one while you're waiting?"

This trying to win the game in one pull and leaving the back door open when you go out the front is always a danger for the over-confident.

Donegal caught Dublin out last year. Dublin are a truly great team but they must not believe that being the best will not win the All Ireland.

And here's one last piece of advice for Dublin, don't believe one word you read in the papers. It's all a plot.

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