Friday 22 November 2019

Paidi is up to mischief

Sir -- First we had the snow, then the big freeze, followed by the thaw and the slush. Stock up on milk and bread. Keep the fire burning and venture out only when necessary. All made worse by living in suburbia with four growing teenagers eating up the precious heat and space, not to mention the food.

Put bluntly, I am suffering from cabin fever. I devour every newspaper I can lay hands on. I trawl the various football sites looking for arguments and fight. So when I read Paidi O Se's piece in the first Sunday Independent of the new year I immediately recognised the symptoms. The genial Kerryman was suffering withdrawal symptoms allied to a bad dose of cabin fever. He missed the football and its associated banter. He was penned into his home village in Ventry.

Paidi was bored and missed the cut and thrust of what made his fame and name. He missed the bite of being head capo -- the planning, the scheming, the phone calls, the conspiracies and thwarted heaves. No more smiles and in-jokes with the greatest, his old mentor, that old fox O'Dwyer. No chance to get one over on the new kid on the block, young Harte from Tyrone. As he looked out his window he saw most avenues of escape blocked off. A season of backing everybody against Kerry and Jack O'Connor last year backfired. Jack said nothing; the All-Ireland garnered in 2009 said it all. Paidi had to dream.

No chance in Kerry, no hope in Cork, and not wanted in Tyrone. Not a lot left. Armagh had broken into the field next door and put Paddy O'Rourke in the saddle. The man whom most Armagh folk wanted back on the pony was now domiciled in Galway. Jeez what was left? Westmeath? Tried that once; thanks but no thanks. Then he smiled for the first time in weeks -- Dublin and Mayo. Why not? That's all that's left when you really think about it. It doesn't say a lot for the state of football nationwide, does it?

So, suffering from cabin fever and boredom, just like the rest of us, Paidi chanced a little mischief. Two throwaway lines about promising an All-Ireland to Mayo or Dublin if only he had the chance. I smiled and caught the significance of his mischief. I waited and watched the websites. They were slow to bite. And then the volcano rumbled.

In what was seen by some as a riposte of high merit towards Paidi, the Mayo manager opined that had he been in charge of the Kerry team for the length of time Paidi was, the return in All-Irelands might be somewhat higher.

So I waited outside the Eurospar last Sunday morning from 6 just to get the Sunday Independent and read Paidi's reply! No I didn't, I just bought it after 11.30 Mass.

In the war about nothing, Paidi came across as wounded and miffed. He closed with a plea asking the Mayoman to use the shoulder fairly next time out. Now that to me is ominous. Kerry men don't like to be ambushed as we know. The future promises to be interesting. A perceived slight that was best to be ignored, has caught a thread on a briar. One man felt the heat from another who was confined to his cabin. Our winter was shortened by the crossfire.

Oh, for the Mayoman to take that fire into the forthcoming frays, then Paidi might have to look at a different county to add to the Dublin one.

If not, then that bit of hand bagging in early January might be revisited early this coming summer.

John Cuffe,

Old Fairgreen, Dunboyne

Sunday Independent

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