Friday 17 November 2017

All dressed up for a day on the couch

WATERPROOFS, fleece, umbrella, gloves, golf shoes and woolly hat – I was all set for the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday. It was that miserable and cold I even rooted out the hip flask.

I must be getting old. I remember years ago smiling at the all the old lads on the bank as they passed the whiskey round to keep them warm. Thought they were ancient. I've now become one of those old men.

Anyway, it's all to no avail. News filters through mid-morning of the waterlogged pitch and postponement. Christ the weather's been awful recently. Recently? As far back as this time last year! Rain, rain and even more rain. The meteorological optimists tell us 2013 can't be as wet as 2012, but their pessimistic cousins are predicting more of the same. 'A day for the ducks' or even 'the high stool'. A friend of mine text me 'fire and TV for the afternoon'. I took his advice.

Kerry/Dublin in Killarney, Ireland/England in the Rugby and United /Everton on Sky along with extra coal and logs for the fire. Sounded good to me. A bit of 'flu' descended on our house so we were all in bed for the afternoon. Peace and quiet ... . and TV sport.

Damp squibs

First up was Dublin and Kerry. A non-event unfortunately. Tropical sunshine in Killarney failed to inspire the home team as Bernard Brogan and Paddy Andrews ran amok - just like they did in Drogheda two weeks previously.

Hard to know if Dublin were that good or Kerry were simply that bad. New Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy must have been tempted to tog out for the second half. Kerry failed to register a score for the final 40 minutes last week against Mayo and could only muster four points for the entire 70 minutes on Sunday. Still only February but the traditionalist in the Kingdom must be worried.

Jim Gavin on the other hand could be forgiven for being a little smug at the apparent extent of riches currently at his disposal. By my reckoning Dublin are still short seven or eight of their regulars, but it's not showing. Already he has successfully integrated a lot of the recent minors and under-21s into his senior set up and even at this early stage look to be a force to be reckoned with come summer time. Such was Dublin's dominance there was no need to endure the second half so I threw another shovel of coal on the fire and flicked to the rugby to savour the build-up.

Brian and Amy's (pictured) new daughter Sadie dominated the pre-match coverage, but it was a burly English pack which dominated the game. In the past it would have been Ireland who'd have welcomed the rain when the curtains were opened on Sunday morning. But we've kind of moved away from that type of traditional Irish game.

England took full advantage of the conditions and Ireland's early injury woes to win more comfortably that the 12-6 scoreline suggests. It was hard stuff to watch. Especially after England's Dylan Hartley was introduced as a second half replacement. I don't know what it is about the Northampton hooker, but he just gets up my nose. Low swinging chariots began to reverberate around the ground. Cue another early exit. Another log on the fire and over to the soccer.

12-points clear

After some early shadow boxing United, with Robin Van Persie to the fore, bag another three points to go twelve points clear in the Premiership with twelve games remaining. Everton are quite game early on but they lack the quality and skill of their northwest neighbours.

Many pundits questioned Alex Ferguson's wisdom in forking out almost £30 million on a 29 year-old striker with a dodgy injury record. However, yet again the wily Scot has proved just why he is the most successful manager in the history of the English game. I was never a huge fan of the Glaswegian but you have to (however begrudgingly) tip your hat to him.

He is still at the very top of his game and is no doubt looking forward to locking horns with Jose and Real Madrid on Wednesday night. In stark contrast to what Mancini and Co are feeling in the blue half of Manchester. Half time - 2-0 - game over. Another shovel of coal and looking for the remote again. Perhaps there's a decent film on. What a disappointing afternoon of TV sport.

Drogheda Independent

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