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Friday 20 April 2018

If the culchies could get fireworks, then the least I expected was a huge melee

A MATE of mine -- let's just call him 'George' -- has a theory that only culchies like Gaelic football.

What about people from Dublin? I once asked him.

Ah, he said, sure that only proves that their parents were culchies and while they might live in Dublin, hell they might even support Dublin GAA, they would never be true, proper Dubs, merely boggers in disguise in a blue jersey.

It's quite a preposterous theory, perhaps even verging on the offensive, which is why he is so fond of mentioning it at every available opportunity.

This came up on Saturday, when I was talking to a true-blue Dubs fan who, despite also being a Liverpool fan (the Dubs and Liverpool? Honestly, one more strike and he's out) loves the GAA and was quick to defend them.

"You know what they're doing tonight?" he asked me. "They have fireworks, the Rubberbandits and they're letting the kiddies in for next to nothing. That's the GAA for you, they have their problems, but it's going to be a great night."

Ah yes, in terms of understatement, "The GAA have their problems" is up there with the best of them.

But still, at a time when the game is in such low order in the capital that we've seen the hilarious scenario where certain officials wanted to sue the Leinster rugby team for wearing blue, you know you're looking at an organisation that needs to do everything it can to get bums on seats.

And while my mate 'George' would no doubt snigger at the idea of GAA fans being referred to as 'bums', you have to admit that the ploy worked on Saturday night, with 46,000 people turning out for what was a thoroughly. . . pointless, boring affair.

Look, I know I don't get Gaelic football.

I never have and I never will, but I didn't pay good money to see a complete lack of fighting.

Okay, in fairness, I didn't pay any money at all, but knowing my views of the sport, the evil overlords here in Indo Towers decided to ruin my usual Saturday routine of pilates and meditation by making me watch this muck.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is GAA the only sport in the world where the League is actually less important than the cup?

Certainly that seemed to be attitude of the players but first -- what about the entertainment?

Well, the fireworks. . .

The thing is, I reckon they were provided for the edification of our visiting country cousins who don't get to see these things very often and are therefore, presumably, grateful and humbled to be in the Big Smoke and get to watch the bright, noisy things that go 'bang'.

For the native Dubs, however, there is now a tendency to simply shrug our shoulders and go 'myehhh'.

And then came the weirdest gig to be seen in Croke Park in a long, long time.

Some bright young buck in GAA headquarters obviously decided that it was time to get down with the kids and therefore they needed to get a trendyband in to open proceedings -- The Rubberbandits.

Was it for this that the brave men and women of Ireland gave up their lives in 1916?

Is it true to the Spirit Of The Gael to have two lads with their faces covered in plastic shopping bags using profanity on this hallowed turf?

Well, I'd like to think so.

The phrase 'mixed reviews' covers a multitudes of meaning but you just knew that as Blind Boy Boat Club and Mr Chrome stalked the field, stepping off a weird little stage that looked roughly the size of your average throat lozenge, that there would be outrage from some of the more, ahem, conservative people in the crowd.

And to their eternal credit, they didn't bottle their performance, leaving it as profanity-strewn as ever, so no doubt we're going to be hearing plenty of outraged parents on local call-in radio shows over the next few days.

Which is nice.

I was talking to someone more knowledgeable than me (not a particularly difficult task, it must be said) as we were watching the match and they said it was, with admirable succinctness, "total shite".

But having said that, I did learn a few things. For instance, did you know that Irish Independent fashion columnist Paul Galvin is also a footballer?

Who wudda thunk it?

Frankly, I assumed that he was going to take to the field in a pair of fetching culottes or something, but no he wore the same outfit as everyone else -- something that doesn't happen very often when it comes to Galvin, I reckon.

And so the game trundled on -- and there were no fights. None.

Well, a couple of minor shoulders were thrown sporadically throughout the game but where was the craic we saw in Portlaoise a couple of weeks ago?

Sure, there was a sending off in the last minute for one of the Dublin players for what looked to this untrained eye as a foul that would normally be regarded as a gesture of affection in the game.

And, incidentally, Kerry won. What a weird sport.

So, we had fireworks, an achingly hip and ironically post-modern act who rap about a Honda Civic, a goalkeeper who scores free kicks and a dedicated fashionista playing for Kerry?

Honestly, Pat Spillane must be spinning in his grave.

What, you mean he's not?


Sorry Pat.

Irish Independent

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