Tuesday 25 October 2016

Billy Keane: Outbreak of truth-telling has made cute hoors an endangered species

Published 04/07/2015 | 02:30

Kerry's Colm Cooper
Kerry's Colm Cooper

The cute hoor is a dying breed. He's being killed off by Pat Spillane and Tomás ó Sé. These two men with 14 All-Ireland medals between them should be banned by the county board from writing or commentating on Gaelic football.

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There's no meaning to all this telling the truth.

For years and years Kerry have somehow convinced the other counties that we are team-building. Kerry have been in transition since 1896. The cute hoor is about to lie not only in state but in a desperate state.

After all the years of pretending, the left hand finally knows what the right hand is doing. Tomás is going on about lack of leaders and Pat tells counties they should have stayed in bed.

Here I am, a sleeper, spin doctoring counter-intelligence. It's not confession lads. No one expects to read the truth in the papers. I'm undermined. Tomás tells the whole country of a Friday that Cork are as rudderless as a rubber duck in Ventry Harbour and on Saturday I tell Cork we have no chance. Did you ever listen to your Uncle Páidí, young Tom?

Páidí praised the opposition so much in the build-up to games that you'd wonder if Kerry were going to field a team.

It was back about 30-something years ago in Tralee when Kerry scored seven or eight goals against Kildare and their brilliant All-Star goalie Ollie Crinnigan. There was an outcry. The GAA banned the fast-palm handpass and so Kerry were denied the 37-in-a-row.

It was the custom in Kerry back then to have a harmless looking lad walking around the opposition dressing rooms with a bucket or a stepladder or a ballcock and he'd nearly always have a Woodbine over his ear, it being a well-known fact since Newton's time that it's very hard to store a cigarette under the ear.

And, as we're at it, there is no evidence to suggest an apple ever fell on Newton's head. All Isaac ever said was that he was in an orchard when the theory of gravity came to him. Pat and Tomás must have been sitting under a tree in a coconut orchard when they came up with this mad idea of telling the truth.


Anyway, the lad wandering around the dressing room pretending he was a bit off was really a genius who got seven honours in his Leaving when he only did six subjects. He reported back.

These two Kildare lads were talking away in the corner of the dressing room with their socks down after a day chasing spirits in human form when one lad says to the other, "It wasn't all bad."

"How?" asked his friend who at that moment was contemplating spending a night under a furze bush in the Curragh rather face in to Coffey's Under the Clock in Newbridge.

"Well," said the young player. "I was talking to Tim Kennelly after the game and he told me we would have been close enough only for the goals."

There was more to it than pretending we were lucky to win. Timmy was always a good winner. He didn't want the Kildare boys to get too downhearted. I was there last Sunday and Kildare tried so hard. Dublin were just too good.

Now Cork is a county famous for ambushes. They'll be bursting out of traps tomorrow like a greyhound who has been told he'll end up on a supermarket shelf in Korea if he doesn't win. I can sense it. The hurt will bubble up like beer stored in a tumble drier.

I know Cork. I went to college there. So did three-quarters of our children. I ghosted for the football genius Billy Morgan. I know what it means to Cork when Kerry are beaten. There are underground rivers where the real Cork stories are told.

On Thursday, I was in Cork gathering up intelligence and spreading misinformation. Hundreds of us are sent to Cork in the days before the Munster final.

This lad who walking his dog in the small park off the Victoria Road where they play the American football said: "I suppose ye'll hammer is by 20 points."

And off he went pulled along by the big mad-looking hound. And it was then I came to the conclusion the dog was walking the man. I followed on at a safe distance.

"Are you going to the match?" I asked. "Nah," he said. "I have no one to feed himself." The dog snarled. He smelled a Kerryman.

But I knew. Because I know Cork. The fan with one arm longer than the other will be in Killarney tomorrow with his sombrero and the red flag borrowed on permanent loan from a glasnost Russian submarine parked up on the Tivoli Docks. The Cork fans can't resist a red flag. And the hungry dog will have to make do with a burglar.

The Gooch wouldn't say much before or after matches. There's no cuter player though on the field. The Gooch (pictured) has a hidden eye. I agree with Eamonn Fitzmaurice's decision to keep him on the bench until the game opens up and there's more space. Cork will probably stay up all night trying to figure out the when and where of The Gooch's entrance. Our subs are the best in the game and that might win it for us.

Cork will have no worries about travelling to Killarney. The Killarney Munster final is the best day out of all and be absolutely certain Cork will give us plenty of it. This is not spin. Their full-forward line could win the game in five minutes. Cork are proud. They are hurting.

We'll go with both eyes wide open, as we have always done. You couldn't trust Cork. The remaining cute hoors aren't all from Kerry. Cork have just as many and maybe even more.

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