Thursday 14 December 2017

Billy Keane: Exhausted after putting in a hefty mileage on my double shift in the womb in the room

'Peter Crowley was cut in two by a Dublin player but there was no free.' Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
'Peter Crowley was cut in two by a Dublin player but there was no free.' Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

I travel the world here on this couch. It is my Tardis and I am a latter-day navigator who steers with the aid of a remote control. My chart is the TV page and I can cover a million miles in minutes. There are no soft or hard borders.

Busy, busy, busy. I have to watch for work now that the column is switched to Mondays. There's GAA, racing, rugby, the FA Cup and more.

Then, what happens? Herself makes me go down town for dishwasher tablets - and I didn't even know the dishwasher was sick.

I detour to Lynch's for buns and have to duck John O'Keeffe, the best full-back I've ever seen, who is out cycling in lycra.

John O is the kind of friend who will inspect and then declare "you got strong", or "you put on a bit of conditioning", which around here is polite with filters for "you are getting fat".

It's warm enough for polo shirts. That's a good one - polo shirts. Around here? Sure, there's no polo around here. Why do the drapers call T-shirts polo shirts then? Is it to make the tops seem more posh?

The farmers in North Kerry would kill you stone dead for an acre of land. There's no way they'd waste any of it with a game of polo.

A good few would stock the famous golf course in Ballybunion with cattle for winter grazing on the dry sandy ground. They wouldn't see golf so much as a good walk spoiled, more a case of a good field empty.

I've just skipped from the Sigerson Cup final between UCD and St Mary's Belfast to Cue Card's winning at Ascot by the length of the queue for a new house in Dublin.

Then, I visit Ulster and Glasgow in Belfast. It's 15-0 for Ulster. Oops, try for Glasgow. Half-time.

Back to the Sigerson. The ref has just denied St Mary's a free and guess what? UCD go up the field and score a point.

This gets me off the sofa as it is a reminder of the refereeing in the last few minutes of the Kerry-Dublin semi-final. Peter Crowley was cut in two by a Dublin player but there was no free.

Peter wasn't really sawn in two but he would have been if his chest wasn't fastened so securely to his neck. Dublin went off down the field and won the game.

We play the Dubs again next Sunday in Tralee. The game sold out faster than cheap flowers on Valentine's Day.

I'm only going to write if Kerry win. I can't do any more graciousness and sportsmanship on the lines of Dublin are the better team, best for years and years, loads of bottle, fit as gigolos in an army town, smartest manager etc.

The worst part is that all of this is real news. For years we used to say stuff like that to the Dubs just to lull them in to false sense of security. But this isn't any psychological warfare.

I'll have another story stored away in the old laptop about Ireland and France just in case.

One of the family makes a request for food. Up I get and I freeze the Sigerson. We now have the technology to stop time itself.

I detour to Browne's betting stop and risk a "what kept you?" and an "it's gone cold".

There's a man in there betting in tenners. He has no visible means of support other than his belt. "Had you a touch?" I ask. "No," says he, giggling. "I'm on carer's allowance. I get paid for minding the mother and she's really minding me."

He heads for the next at Wincanton and I go back to the couch.

St Mary's win what was a full-on game with no rests. It was the teaching college's first Sigerson triumph in 24 years and they were two goals down after three minutes. An incredible Leicester-like achievement for a college with only 200 men.

And as we are on GAA, congratulations to Beale on winning the MacNamee award for the best book. Sand in their Boots, it's called. Beale skirts the estuary beaches of Ballybunion, Litter and Beale. The book is a gem.

Richard McElligott, the eminent UCD historian, won a prize for his honest and enduring 1916 GAA history.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Millwall, who were missing Eamon Dunphy, still managed to knock Leicester out of the FA Cup. Non-league Lincoln City sent Premier League Burnley packing, and away from home at that.

I wonder if I should put in for overtime? I've also been watching Ulster, Connacht and Munster win their matches.

Munster weren't at their best. They won thanks to the genius of Darren Sweetnam, who is my Lions bolter. He is the best we have seen for some time.

I have to take today off. I'm going to Ventry for the finish up of the Páidí Ó Sé tournament.

Padraig Og has the pub buzzing. Soon enough I will leave the womb in the room.

I hear there's another Páidí in Ventry. Páidí 's daughter Siun and her All-Star partner Paul Geaney had a little boy just a few weeks ago and I'm only dying to see him.

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