Sunday 23 October 2016

Cork-Kerry clashes as divisive as mixed grill menus

Published 18/07/2015 | 02:30

Kerry and Cork supporters will flock to Fitzgerald Stadium once again this evening
Kerry and Cork supporters will flock to Fitzgerald Stadium once again this evening

Gone are the days when men took their bikes out for a walk. There they'd be, walking the bike up a hill with the messages hanging off the handlebars like a pair of antlers.

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I always said I'd take a vow of silence if I started to talk like an oul fella about the old days. And there they'd be, the oul lads, boasting about cycling 40 miles to the Munster final and then they always say "and 40 back". As if it wasn't the same distance from as to.

They were racy nights, too, after the games. And one man told us, in strictest confidence, the menage a trois of the '50s was when one girl was dancing with you inside the hall and the other was outside minding your bike.

The laochra lycras of today do that much as a warm-up. It comes down to fitness. The men and women of the olden times were too worn out from work to go on cycles. They only went cycling when they were going somewhere.


The laochra lycras cycle on standing bikes. It's called spinning. If the pedalling made electricity or ground grain I could make some sense out of it all.

Yes it's all about fitness even if you're on a pedalo in Fuengirola, and so it is this evening's Munster final replay between Kerry and Cork will be decided by the team that sees it out.

Mick Galwey felt Cork had "more done" for the drawn game. There's no better judge. We met up after the drawn match in the Killarney fatherland, where old ghosts kick adjourn and the game is forensically examined by the learned from both sides of the border.

The fortnight's break is perfect for Kerry. A week's hard training and a week of easing up and figuring out will have our boys ready for the fray.

We have a very bright man in charge and a very honest one. He admitted to making a mistake.

Managers are supposed to know it all but the concept of infallibility is just as illusory in Fitzgerald Stadium as it is in the Vatican.

Go easy on yourself young Eamonn. Just put a man in at the back of the midfielders and Cork will have to take the wing road unsuitable for horse caravans.

Billy Morgan had Kerry figured. His clubmate was his attacking centre-back. Stephen O'Brien was up there with Kevin Moran when it came to cutting through the centre. And like every Cork person who was ever born, Stephen hated giving in.

What is it about Cork and being written off? The pride burst out through their heaving hearts and there's a not giving it to say written in to every rattling play.

The hurlers were written off too by the cognoscenti and yet they are still in the All-Ireland series. We'll go to the hurling for a while.

The Munster hurling final was a heady day out.

The hurling people were giving out about sweepers. There was only the one on each team. What will they do if Jim McGuinness takes over the Cats? Welcome to our world, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Hurling is best served al fresco.

Brendan Maher's block-down was a highlight, as was his perfect passing. We met him in Borrisoleigh and there's no sounder lad. He has the hurling touch but the common touch is every bit as important. Brendan has both.

Good news from Templemore where they make the guards. The mixed grill is back. The Templemore Arms fed us so well we had to take a lie-down. The sausages alone were a feed in themselves. There was jelly and ice cream for dessert and White Gypsy Blond - the local All-Ireland Champion brew would tempt Michael O Muircheartaigh, who has more pioneer pins than Matt Talbot.

Our hero broke the journey home in Templemore and is a member of the committee for the preservation of the mixed grill.

I'm all for the inclusion of kidneys but the rest of the association are liver men. Especially the Offaly lads. I hope the difference in tastes will not cause a split. There were no tomatoes long ago and if there's any attempt to introduce coleslaw I'll form a breakaway association.

And as for them huge mushrooms with the heads as big as sunflowers, don't get me going. . .

The local Pitch and Putt Club were celebrating their 50th and the greens are as smooth and tuftless as a mannequin's abdomen. Ronan Loughnane's seminal history of the club is a must for anyone who loves the par-three game. We'll be back for a round when the back is in alignment with the front. And for another feed.

If Kerry are ravenously hungry for two in a row, we will win and if Cork have retained the hurt they could do it. A second draw maybe, at the end of 70 minutes, with every chance of third draw after extra-time. Like the spinning, the game could go on forever in the one spot - Killarney. Unless Kerry take over the middle, which we might well do.

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