Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 19 November 2017

Send Dubs out of pale to end culchie woes

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

There was a time, not that long ago, when Dublin teams were composed mostly of second and third-generation culchies. The youngsters were brought to the local club, having had the love of the game instilled in them from the cradle, and then fostered and nourished.

And that is still the case, in part. But now Dublin is a truly cosmopolitan city.

The Dublin Pride parade will clash with tomorrow's big game against Wexford. The parade used to be called gay pride, but for some probably very good reason the 'gay' bit has been removed -- just as it was from the title of the Ballybunion Gay Bachelor Festival, which had nothing to do with gay people back in the days when gay meant great oul' sport.

You'd wonder how many of the Dublin football supporters will head for Shirley Temple Bar's Pride Bingo in The George tomorrow night, but I'm sure there will be Dublin jerseys calling 'check.'

That brings us nicely to the question of how do you get a 90-year-old daily communicant to shout f**k? Get the woman next to her to screech 'check'. Yes, it takes all sorts and that's what makes life and Dublin.

So, how do you unify a city with such an eclectic mix? The answer is simple. The Dublin football team did it last September when they won Sam. Yes, it was bad for Kerry, but a good thing for our capital city and the ailing game of football.

The 'Pride' event will not take from Croke Park one bit. Dublin is that well populated, the city could hold an in-calf heifer sale on the same day as a Holy Communion and a bazaar.

Yes, Dublin football is now in a rare oul' time.

You saw it coming, didn't you? All the praise leads to what?

The GAA have sold out on their principles. Dublin have more home games than the North Korean Army.

It's true Dublin would win most of the away games, but that's not the point. Wexford play Dublin away for the third year in a row. No doubt the boys of Wexford get a great thrill out of playing in Croke Park in front of a huge crowd, but they would have a much better chance of winning at Wexford Park.

Dublin gets far too much. Decentralisation would be a huge boost to the economy of provincial towns.

The Dubs are not ones for carrying their own sandwiches and drinking tea out of the boot of car. Anyone here in Kerry will tell you the Dubs are spenders. When they're out, they're out. But they're kept in.

The GAA will rightly point to the huge loss of revenue in bad times.

Thurles holds 50,000. There's a direct a rail link to the city and it's only a short journey from Wexford.

It would be plenty big for a stand-alone fixture between Dublin and Wexford.

Still, who wouldn't love to be in Croker tomorrow for the double-header?

Meath will put it up to Kildare in the first match, but it's hard to see them winning. The Lilywhites are genuine All-Ireland contenders. Their people are football-mad. A measure of their allegiance is the changing of the Irish Derby to a Saturday so as to avoid a fixture clash with big Kildare games.

No other county other than Mayo has more of a right to win an All-Ireland.

But the Seanie Johnston transfer brings no credit to the Kildare County Board, who were involved in a transfer that has been adjudged to be within the rules, but is patently far removed from the spirit and ethos of the GAA.


Kildare are ahead of Meath in terms of physical conditioning. The levels needed to win an All- Ireland are not built up over just one summer. It's progressive, and Kieran McGeeney knows how to get things done.

Meath have some very inspirational motivators on the sidelines, but the present team do not work hard enough and, while they are very skilful, their game lacks intensity.

Dublin showed the grit needed to win an All-Ireland, not just in the final, but also in the final frantic few minutes of the Leinster final against Wexford.

All three of Dublin's full-forward line were replaced that day and Wexford are one of the few counties outside the top four who have the fitness levels to stay with a Dublin team whose work ethic weakens opponents in the same way as boxers work on the body and then go on to finish off the job in the last few rounds.

That is probably what will happen tomorrow, even though Wexford, in the tradition of the county, will shed their last drop. So we predict a Dublin- Kildare final, hopefully to be played at the Curragh or Punchestown.

Irish Independent

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