This is the long day's journey into night. It may take a while but games will resume, people will argue, laugh and complain about such trivial things as football, or maybe such important things as football. Our games measure the temperature of the nation during the year and when they return we will think even more of them. A bad county match, a brilliant junior B club game and even more so a group of under 10s going at it... these scenes colour our lives.
Now we are left with thinking, wondering, hoping. This week I am indulging in what I normally condemn as a useless exercise, choosing between teams of past and present, in this case the Dublin teams of the 1970s and the present crew. Throw them all together and pick the best.
It is 46 years since the Dubs of that era brought football back, if not from the dead in the city, but close to it. In the early '70s Dublin were a bit of a joke. They were not feared by anyone in Leinster and were beaten regularly by counties who are now close to the bottom of the pile. There was no glamour in being a Dublin player then. It did not get you a job interview or a nice girlfriend because nobody heard of you. In fact, it was not mentioned in polite conversation as it carried no weight.
That side transformed football in Dublin, perhaps football in general, from a lower middle class rural game to one which started to compete in the cities with soccer and rugby. If there is a problem with football in Dublin now it is that it has become an upper middle class game. There is a huge colonisation project to bring football and hurling to many new parts of sprawling Dublin.
Of course, this exercise is impossible, and subjective, even more so as the present glorious era has seen continuous changes in personnel. Half last year's team were not playing at the start of the run in 2015.
So, we start with the goalkeeper, and over the last 50 years Dublin have had this position more or less covered by three men, Stephen Cluxton, John O'Leary and Paddy Cullen. O'Leary was not part of the success of the '70s so for the purpose of this exercise it is a straight shoot-out. Despite Cullen's great ability, the decision in this case is fairly easy as Cluxton has changed everything about goalkeeping. He could write the book and keep adding chapters - and it may not be finished yet. Probably the best goalkeeper ever.
Gay O'Driscoll was a really tough corner-back in the '70s. He hit first and second and did not bother asking any questions. In the present era it is more difficult as it is hard to nail down who is a corner-back. Mick Fitzsimons is the closest to a traditional marker who does his job. Last year someone told him to play a bit of football too and he can manage that as well. So he gets the job.
One of the strange things about the modern times is that there has not been a dominating full-back. Maybe Philly McMahon was one, but he was often deployed in other areas. But it wasn't like that in the '70s. Seán Doherty was that man. He had a fairly straightforward approach to the game, clear any ball coming in and gut any forward, and it was a bonus if he could do the two at the same time.
In many respects the left-corner selection is also automatic. Jonny Cooper has been a great player but he loses out by being the fireman who plays in all positions in defence. Over 40 years ago Robbie Kelleher played at corner-back but was a more modern type. He always had time on the ball which is the sign of a good player, and he always wanted to set up an attack. He was certainly an unusual corner-back in that era.
The half-backs are most interesting. There is one certainty, James McCarthy. He is the best outfield player of the last decade and if there was a team of the last 50 years or longer he would be on it.
Kevin Moran had a short but explosive career but I'm going for two players who have stood the test of time. Tommy Drumm was one of them, right half-back in 1976 and '77, and captain of the winning team six years later. Pat O'Neill also merits serious consideration. Another hard man in that Dublin side, consistent, reliable and a real team player. The present crew can throw up a variety, Cian O'Sullivan, who was so often the finger in the dyke and Jack McCaffrey whose speed and sheer enthusiasm has frightened all teams.
Teams now pick a man to mark McCaffrey, a complete turnaround to traditional thinking when backs marked forwards. A half-back line of Tommy Drumm, James McCarthy and Jack McCaffrey is formidable.
Picking two midfielders is the easiest bit. Brian Mullins and Brian Fenton, the man who does not know how to lose. These two men are for consideration in decisions on the best midfielders of the last 50 years. Mullins was a supreme competitor while Fenton has brought incredible skill and scoring ability to the midfield role.
There are more difficult decisions in the half-forward line. Do you chose Anton O'Toole or Paul Flynn? Both brilliant. When the banner appeared on Hill 16 about Anto 'The Blue Panther', I was there and marvelled at his ability to run, score and compete with the most awkward running gait, rugby-type boots and a most unusual kicking style. Yet it all worked. Flynn suffers because he was not Anto. The Panther has to get a place.
The centre-forward berth is between two St Vincent's players, Tony Hanahoe who conducted the '70s orchestra, and Diarmuid Connolly. Connolly had a spell of a couple of years when he was the best player in the country at club and county level. Things did not work out for him recently but he would be on any team at his best.
Left half-forward is between David Hickey and Ciarán Kilkenny. Hickey was a brilliant, athletic, tough number 12 who scored vital goals and left his mark on plenty of defenders. He would fit right in with this modern team because of his mobility and attitude, but Kilkenny is another automatic. He does everything and in nearly every game too, whether league or championship. There is no room in the half-forwards or half-backs for Brian Howard. Within a short space of time he will probably be one of the greats but again, playing well over a period of time is a prerequisite for selection.
The full-forward line has all the talents. Bobby Doyle was unselfish and again would be suited to the modern game such was his mobility. He had an eye for goal, hitting two in the 1977 All-Ireland decider, but was only interested in the team. Jimmy Keaveney in some ways defined that side. He came out of retirement and scored freely. Never the most athletic, he had music in his feet from play and frees. He enjoyed life and his football, and the scene of him sticking the ball in the net while Tom McCreesh of Armagh tried to struggle to his feet in the 1977 All-Ireland final is imprinted on my brain. Cool hand Luke strikes again. The last remaining of the old class is John McCarthy, father of James, a fantastic athlete who always seemed to be on the end of the goal moves.
But I have not gone for any of them. Con O'Callaghan may only be around for a while but he has become virtually unmarkable. And we could not have a selection without Bernard Brogan. He finished his career sitting on the bench, but there was a time when Dublin would not have won All-Irelands if he was not there. It also means no place for his older brother Alan, who had played most of his best football before the gold rush. Finally the left corner-forward has to go to the under-rated Dean Rock. He is one of the best freetakers ever, even better than Keaveney, and scores a few valuable ones from play too.
So there it is. Ten from the modern group and five from the 1970s. I played against the older Dubs and have admired the newer team. In many ways I am glad that it was not the other way round.