Tuesday 27 September 2016

Who knows what delights await us

Eamonn Sweeney

Published 25/10/2015 | 17:00

'He’d seen a young lad playing for Cobh Ramblers the other week and was sure he was going to make it to the very top. Keane his name was'
'He’d seen a young lad playing for Cobh Ramblers the other week and was sure he was going to make it to the very top. Keane his name was'

Dateline: December 1989. Tony McCarthy was heading home from the Savoy Cinema after seeing Back to the Future Part II. It wasn't as good as the first one to be honest but the stuff about the future really made you think. Would you really have all that stuff in October 2015? The flying cars would come in handy, they might be easier to control after a few pints of Furstenburg than this Opel Kadett.

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The bit he really liked was Michael J Fox and your man getting hold of the Sports Almanac from the future that told them the results from all the games up to the end of the 20th century. Wouldn't that be something? He couldn't think of anything he'd like more at this moment than being able to see what sport was like in 2015.

Suddenly there was a huge flash of lightning (use your imagination, the special effects budget for this column isn't great) and before him stood a mysterious figure dressed in some form of outlandish costume (Sort of a Mad Max rig-out, just go with it).

"I have travelled from October 2015 to make your wish come true for I am the spirit of Sports Future."

"They're right about that Furstenburg - it is rocket fuel. Well then, if you are from the future who wins the 2015 All-Ireland. The football."

"Dublin, they beat Kerry in the final."

"Ah back to that old racket again. I thought we'd got rid of them. Was it much of a game? We had a great final here this year, Cork beat Mayo, loads of good attacking play. What was the score in yours?"

"0-12 to 0-9."

"That's a bit like the one we had in the drawn game between Cork and Meath last year, 0-12 to 1-9. And then the replay, 0-13 to 0-12, a fierce scrap, people were saying the game is gone to the dogs."

"People in 2015 are saying that the game used to be great back in the old days and that it's much worse now, far rougher and more negative."

"Well unless they've started murdering each other on the pitch, I don't see how that could happen.

"Mayo gave it a great crack this year, they'll surely break through soon, won't they?"

"Everyone is still saying that in 2015. But the thing is that I had a chat with the man from 2055 and . . . actually, I can't reveal what happens far ahead to you."

"How about the hurling. I loved Antrim making the final this year. Even though they got a trimming, it'll stand to them. What's it like to have seen the first Ulster team lift the Liam MacCarthy?"

"Your guess is as good as mine. Antrim never make it back to the final."

"That's fierce. I'll tell you though I was bulling to see Galway being blackguarded over the Tony Keady thing. I'd say they bounced back to win it in 1990 though."

"Nope."

"'91?"

"Nope."

"'92?"

"Nope and I'll have to stop you there because I haven't got all night."

"I suppose it's back to the big three on top then."

"No."

"Oh that's good."

"It's the big one. Kilkenny."

"Sure maybe the GAA won't be that big by then. Right now everyone's mad about Jackie's Army. Do we qualify for all the European Championships and World Cups from now on?"

"Afraid not. Though right now we do have a play-off to get into the European Championships coming up. Against Bosnia-Herzegovina."

"Where? That's not a country."

"It is in 2015. It used to be part of Yugoslavia."

"A play-off to make it into the last eight in Europe isn't too bad."

"The last 24."

"Twenty-four? There are hardly that many countries in Europe."

"There are a lot more now. We did OK in qualifying though, we beat Germany."

"East or West?"

"There's only one Germany now."

"Oh yeah, I saw that stuff with the Berlin Wall on the news the other night. That atlas we have at home is going to be no use when the kids start going to school obviously. Who won the English first division this year?"

"Bristol City."

"Now that's some change. That's brilliant. Where did Liverpool finish?"

"Oh I see. In 2015 Football League Division One is actually the third division. The top division is called The Premier League and the second division is called The Championship."

"Go 'way. And we used to be laughing at the local junior soccer league when they did that. Who won the Premier League then?"

"Chelsea."

"Did poor old Man United ever manage to win the title again?"

"Things worked out alright for them."

"I'm glad to hear that. Because your man Ferguson won't do for much longer. Eleventh in the league? I suppose the Anfield boot room has kept things rolling along at Liverpool?"

"Not exactly."

"How about the rugby? It's fairly depressing lately, second bottom this year, wooden spoon last year."

"Ireland are actually after winning the last two Six Nations championships."

"Brilliant. Six Nations? Oh good, they're after letting Romania in at last. Fair enough after them beating Wales in Cardiff last year."

"Italy are the sixth team."

"Ah now, keep it a bit realistic. Didn't you see the All Blacks putting 70 points on them in the World Cup two years ago? Romania are the boys, apparently your man Ceausescu is big into the rugby."

"He'll have other things to worry about."

"Have we any boxers like Barry McGuigan?"

"Katie Taylor would be the closest thing. The most admired sportsperson in the country."

"KT Taylor. What's his full first name?"

"Katie. She's a woman."

"Women boxing? Oh I see. I saw this thing on Channel 4 late one night, Foxy Boxing the Yanks call it, a bit like Mud Wrestling and didn't . . ."

"Women's boxing is an Olympic sport in 2015 you sexist ignoramus. Katie Taylor won gold in it and she has more world titles than any other Irish sports star in history. There isn't a finer athlete in the place."

"Believable I said."

"You know who the Team of the Year were in 2014?"

"Kilkenny?"

"The Cork ladies footballers. There were more than 30,000 people at their All-Ireland final match against Dublin this year. Do you want to lie down for a bit?"

"Ah no, it's a lot to take in. Who's the world heavyweight champion? For men like."

"A guy from the Ukraine but no-one cares."

"Was Pele right about an African team winning the World Cup?"

"No. And according to Mister 2055, oops, nearly let it slip again."

"How are we doing in the athletics?"

"We've been doing very well in the walking."

"There's no need to be a smart arse. Have we anything like Coghlan or Treacy?"

"Well, an English lad from Letterkenny won a medal in the 800m at the European Championships."

"Don't tell me we're after giving Donegal to the Brits. I knew there was something dodgy about that Anglo Irish Agreement."

"No, no. His name is English, Mark English. Actually they've stopped shooting each other in the North."

"Is there a united Ireland soccer team?"

"There isn't. That reminds me, I must give Mister 2100 a call."

"Pity about that. Any more good news?"

"We've been doing great stuff in golf. Four different Irishmen won Majors and one of them ended up being world number one."

"Big changes in golf then."

"Huge. The world number one for years was a black guy from the States."

"Now I know you're messing with me. Next thing you'll be telling me they made Jesse Jackson president over there."

"No, they didn't do that."

"What are you smirking for? Listen, before you go, I want to ask you a personal thing. You know my brother Seán that's in the musical society. I just want to, how will I put it? Does Seán ever get married?"

"He's getting married in a few months here."

"Phew. What's the name of his other half?"

"Pat."

"That's gas her having a man's name because we used to think . . . anyway."

"Well, you see . . . ah, it's all ahead of you. You'll be grand with it, you'll be Best Man."

"Very good. Do we ever get jet packs or hoverboards?"

"No. But you do get twitter."

"What's twitter?"

"It's a Social Media thing that enables . . ."

"What's Social Media?"

"It's an internet-based . . ."

"What's the internet?"

"Look, don't worry about it. Enjoy Italia '90 and when your cousin Liam asks you to invest in an overseas property development company in 2005, tell him you're not interested. But I've already said too much. Goodbye man of 1989 and don't tell your kids about those Jive Bunny records you bought this year. They won't understand."

And so the visitor from the strange world of the future disappeared and Tony headed for home. His only regret was that he hadn't asked him about the League of Ireland. You saw some good stuff in the League, he'd seen a young lad playing for Cobh Ramblers the other week and was sure he was going to make it to the very top. Keane his name was, he'd be playing for Cork City for years to come.

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