Monday 20 January 2020

2020 Vision: 'If any county bar Dublin wins the football we could have a GAA version of the Mighty Ducks'

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

AS per usual, I have been charged by the sports editor, a temperamental sort with a wicked sense of humour, with the 365-day sports forecast.

This is the tail-gunner's job. You are there to be shot down. The task was much easier in the old days. The internet was but a dream and vast acreages of newspapers were piled high in sheds.

Hardly anyone remembered your forecasts, although there was a man who kept these New Year crystal ball columns in his wallet.

The man in question spent a lot of time sitting down on a bar stool in our pub and the forecast columns were flattened into wafers of paper.

Out the piece would come on New Year's Eve for the end-of-year review. He annoyed me no end but there were prediction successes such as the winning of the Grand Slam, the defeat of the All Blacks, the ending of the parish rule in Crimea or any country bordering Russia, and the famous hurling win for Limerick, even if it was a year early.

I also forecasted a movie would be made out of the Jamaican bobsleigh team's heroic efforts in the Winter Olympics. And this year coming, if any county bar Dublin wins the football we could have a GAA version of the Mighty Ducks.

Last year I went for Tipperary in hurling, and they won. This year's forecast will send the odds tumbling even though the only time I ever held a hurley was for knocking the froth off the top of a cappuccino.

I never made one of them. I am a porterista. The only coffee available in John B's is instanto. And that's what is expected now in sport – quick success. The very mention of team building drives Kerry supporters into a frenzy. But Kerry are still building and improving. Kerry played two All-Ireland finals in the one year, which could take teams four years to achieve. Now we know what has to be done. Dublin will be physically stronger and fitter again this year. Enjoy yourselves in Bali lads. Dublin are there on holiday. Eat plenty of chips, and drink every drop down. There was a time in the GAA when heavy drinking on foreign holidays was known as bonding.

This next decade will still be dominated by Dublin. Kerry will win at least one in the 2020s. And maybe more if Dublin lose home advantage for a few knockout games.

There is little hope of this happening, seeing as GAA jobs are paid for by Dublin's big-spending supporters. The only hope of fairness is if Dublin fans grow tired of home games.

They are mad for the road and if numbers drop, the away games will come not because of fair play but for the money. Donegal tried their best last year to end the incredibly unfair gifting of two home games for Dublin in the Super 8. The biscuit-dunkers at Congress put an end to that.

Money talks. Neil Diamond was wrong. It sings and dances too. I was going to ask the lads in U2 to help out by playing loads of gigs in Croke Park to make up for the lost money over the playing of All Ireland semi-finals in such far-flung regions as Cork and Thurles.


So Dublin it is then for six, with Kerry to keep them honest. Watch out for Cork who probably need another year to catch up to Dublin's fitness levels. Donegal could be there in September.

I was going to keep the hurling forecast until the end, for the suspense of it all. I'm on at 12/1.

Shane Ross, I know you never miss the column. Here's an end to your FAI troubles. Throw €8 million on Clare and you will win €96m, tax free. The Clare players have more medals pinned to their chests than step dancers. Brian Lohan (pictured) will fire them up and they are hurt.

Their nearest neighbours won the last three All-Irelands.

The €96m will easily get rid of the debt and will cover the cost of your trip to Japan to offer congratulations on behalf of the nation when the hockey girls, the boxers and the rowers medal at the Olympics.

Our weather forecast for 2020 is that the Olympics will be challenging due to heat and humidity. It was bad enough in September. August will be impossibly humid.

The IOC force athletes to compete in dangerous conditions. The Japanese Medical Association warned the conditions will be dangerous for spectators and competitors. Last summer the heat killed 138 people and sent 80,000 in to hospital.

Like the GAA, it's all about the money. The Japanese were wonderful hosts and their country is a

life-changing experience. I was even a nicer person than usual after the return from the Rugby World Cup. There was an inner calm and a listening ear, but some of us were so debilitated we were able to fit snugly into our First Holy Communion suits.

The good news is the boxing is indoors and once again our fighters will be in with a good chance of winning medals.

We haven't even touched on rugby or soccer yet. Maybe next week and we have a big tip for Cheltenham.

And now for our annual Sports Star of the Year Award. The title for 2019 goes to Jim Gavin who helped save Gaelic football and proved five is more than a number in his little blue book.

In the meantime have a happy New Year and sincere thanks for all your support in the last 12 months.

Online Editors

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