Sunday 24 March 2019

Billy Keane: Dublin a sure thing to win again - and I hope you all become an awful man in the year ahead

Dublin will win four-in-a-row
Dublin will win four-in-a-row
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

The main resolution for 2018 is to become 'an awful man'. You're in the pub. Some lad you know is sitting nearby and you send him over a pint.

He doesn't say 'thanks', but he does say 'you're an awful man'.

The phrase is pure Irish.

His calling you 'an awful man' means he is grateful. And you are a decent, considerate and caring person. In Kilkenny they say someone is 'a horrid nice chap' - a massive compliment. A horrid nice chap can be an awful man.

And I will strive in the year ahead of us to become an awful man.

We will now switch rapidly from a resolution to a prediction.

The ting is, Dublin will win the four in a row, handy enough.

Yes, the word is ting. I know of no one around here who can pronounce the 'th' sound, except for news readers and speech and drama teachers.

Come to think of it, I know of some sportspeople and every time they speak there's drama.

Jose Mourinho told his own players they aren't much use because they didn't cost as much as the Man City players.

Jose Mourinho is under increasing pressure to turn Manchester United's fortunes around.

If you tell players they aren't good enough they will play accordingly. Troubled times ahead for Jose if he fails to nail a Champions League place, at the very least.

I hope he stays. Jose is a one-off who speaks his mind and fears no man, awful or otherwise. Isn't it ironic, too, that a family by the name of Glazer are so involved in the January transfer window?

And will Jose get to say thank you very much Mr Glazer or maybe we might teach him to say 'you're an awful man Mr Glazer', when he gets as much to spend as City.

We're not done with the Dubs ting yet. Every time I try a 'th' the person opposite gets covered in spittle. The trick is to lightly bite on your tongue while pronouncing the 'th'. A little trickle of blood once flowed down the corner of my mouth like a vampire after a good drink. Or is it a feed? Blood is like soup. You wouldn't know if it's ate or drank.

So here's the next New Year's resolution and it's never to even try to pronounce 'th'. Dublin for four in a row. And dat's dat as far as I am concerned.

One ting I would like to see is Dublin play more games away from home. They are without doubt one of the greatest teams of all time and their chief executive John Costello is the best writer.

All I'm saying is a system whereby one team gets to play nearly every game at home is seriously flawed.

Now that Páirc Uí Chaoimh is open, Dublin should be made to play all quarter and semi- finals in venues such as Cork , Limerick and Thurles.

There could be a home and away agreement with Kerry. The Dubs fans are brilliant on the road and, as we said here last spring when they came to Tralee, Dublin didn't bring their own sandwiches.

Kerry will be competitive. Croke Park is as much about stamina and pace as skill. Kerry must bring in new players for the league and sacrifice the U-20 team.

Mayo, our favourite other team, will not give up. They never do, and they never will. We live in hope.

So here's the next New Year's forecast. This football migration will never happen because Dublin pay the bills.

The difference in capacity between, say, Thurles and Croke Park is about 30,000, which converts into a nice bit of money at around 40 bills a ticket. This is no fault of Dublin's.

And I am fairly sure this team of so much skill and tenacity would win most of the away games, but we will never know, will we?

The next prediction is North Korea to win all their home basketball games in 2018.

The North Koreans have come up with a novel tactic. They pick not only their own team, but the opposition team as well.

I have no notion of criticising the North Koreans now that they have the capability of nuking Ireland.

It might be as well if we sent over Kieran Donaghy to get on the right side of President Kim Jong-un.

The President loves the basketball and we might as well keep in with him.

Which brings us nicely to the next resolution and it is to avoid getting bombed by bombs or bombed by liquor.

And what of it if Kim Jong-un did away with a few of the relations. Sure doesn't nearly everyone fall out with the relations.

Our relations with the Welsh and Scottish rugby unions are at an all-time low since they betrayed us over the World Cup. The people of both countries, our much-loved Celtic cousins, were all for Ireland.

I'm fairly sure Ireland will win the Six Nations. We have the best-coached team in the tournament.

Joe Schmidt has transformed Irish rugby. I hope he realises how much we appreciate him. Thank you, Joe.

There will be no more digs about the IRFU not giving Munster enough dough, but I happen to know Peter and CJ stayed home for less money.

So much for those who suggested CJ was only here for the cash. He is Munster and Irish through and true. CJ, I hereby confer on you the title of 'an awful man' in our New Year's Honours list.

Happy New Year and I hope every one of you becomes an awful man or an awful woman in 2018.

Irish Independent

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