Wednesday 24 May 2017

Billy Keane: Bad eggs sour tasty rivalry

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

I had a dream. A cold turkey dream, about an egg. A big huge soft egg, the size and shape of a giant rugby ball. I remember the nightmare as if it was only the other night, which it was.

The runny yolk spilled all over the meadow-flower Laura Ashley duvet that cost the price of a middlin' sized boom-time building society.

I hear the rebuke from beside me: "Didn't I tell you not to be bringing giant eggs to bed?" I'm eating the egg with a tea spoon, hoping to cap the well. It's as impossible as shovelling dung with a domestic fork.

A massive decapitated egg top is revolving on the floor waiting to be excavated. Butter and black pepper are flying around inside. Escape from the bed inevitably means getting swallowed up in the maelstrom.

My hands are bleeding. Worse than Padre Pio on Good Friday. The serrated egg edge is the same as the jagged glass they used to cement into the walls of GAA grounds before the claims started coming in.

The egg is suspended on a tiny cup, no bigger than a thimble. The pepper brings on a sneeze. The giant egg sways to and fro but there's no equilibrium to the oscillations. The backswing tilts ever nearer as I lie trapped under the duvet. It topples over. The now gluey yolk fluid envelopes my face like a Venus fly trap.

I'm being licked to death as the shell shards rip my flesh.

I didn't wake up dead, though. That's the upside of those off-the- drink-suddenly dreams. It's like those lads who are clinically dead and meet their Auntie Noreen who died in 1990, the last time Cork won before this September.

I'm up at the crack of noon. Struggling to make sense of it all, I go out for the paper. I meet Christy Sheehy who invited us to his surprise 60th earlier in the week. His pals surprised Christy with an erotic dancer.

"That was some bird, that topless dancer," says a passer-by. "What dancer?" asks Christy.

Like I was saying, there was a lot of drink this week. I give him the egg dream. "Go back on the drink," he says. "Don't tell me about the Ryder Cup," I plead. "I have it taped."

What is it about telling people not to tell you the result? Christy relates the shot-by-shot story of the matches. I don't give out. He's too nice. I still can't make any sense out of the dream. Could it have something to do with the big game between Leinster and Munster?

Is the thimble the Magners trophy, and could the rest of the terrifying nightmare possibly be a metaphor for Leinster, who couldn't beat an egg all season?

The thing about the Magners is that you only have to finish fourth to qualify for the play-offs. It's a type of rugby back door. The losers can get over the mathematics of defeat but the big games are fixed for the two weeks after this in the Heineken Cup.

That said, it's Munster and Leinster, and the Magners is now a really worthwhile competition.

There is a certain amount of rivalry. It's nice for those who like to hate people to have someone other than themselves to hate. It's gone too far with players being abused off and on-line by a minority -- but a growing minority -- which is how the Nazis got going. It's not the type of rugby rivalry I was brought up to love and admire.

The old school, who never boo, love the way Munster are playing. It's back to building inch by inch until you're near enough to the line to crash over. We'd rather the Munster flop to that of Fosbury and Louganis. Building the phases over and back, but eventually forward, with two-inch passes paints the most vivid and beautiful canvas of all -- on the scoreboard. Lego for grown-ups.


I suspect Galwey and Foley have persuaded the Aussies that risky off-loading is alien to our natural game. Occasionally the forwards can try the fancy stuff. It works then because it's not expected.

Leinster are better at the fast- pass game. They haven't clicked yet but expect a different team today. Home advantage is just that now, as many cannot afford to travel and buy tickets.

I don't know if Sexton will play. Leinster may not start him. Stuart Barnes of Sky feels players should be allowed play with their clubs when needed, even when "75pc fit". Whatever that means.

England usually do well in the World Cup because it's held in September -- before the Premiership gets under way. They have a woeful Six Nations record over the last seven years and that's due to player burnout.

We're dealing with young lads here who will grow into arthritic, slightly older men, if they are not minded. Kidney is right. Our boys must be kept healthy for the Irish team and for their own long-term welfare.

I don't know how I'm going to face going to bed tonight. The egg had to come from somewhere: in this case the egg came first. So where's the giant chicken? The dream could be a cholesterol warning. I booked a cholesterol test but there's to be no drink the night before, which means I'll be killed by the chicken.

Irish Independent

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