Friday 22 November 2019

Painful reminder to show respect to ladies football

'Will you be travelling to watch the game tomorrow?" "What game would that be, Pat?" My heart was pumping and I was bucketing sweat; thank God this was radio and not television because I was beginning to look like a right gobshite. The few swear words that I'd let slip would be nothing compared to forgetting about a big game. I racked my brains -- who was playing?

The presenter looked at me, obviously a bit taken aback. "The ladies' footballers are in the provincial final tomorrow, surely you knew that."

"Oh jaysus yea, the ladies. Eh, I thought it was next week Pat, sorry." I hadn't a clue.

"It's great for them, isn't it; fair play to them for putting in such an effort for such little recognition. Sure no one goes to the games, but sure what else would they be . . . "

I stopped abruptly. The presenter was shaking his head ferociously and waving his hands like a madman.

"Okay folks. We'll leave it there for today, that's our time up. We'll be back after this short break." He took off his headphones. "Feckin' hell lad, you can't be saying stuff like that. It's not the 19th century anymore. There's going to be a lot of pissed-off women in the county tonight."

"Arra be grand."

My phone began buzzing in my pocket; Brother calling, something was up.

* * * * *

"Easy now, there's a good chap. Sucky sucky." The calf backed towards the waiting trailer, his head darting from left to right as he eyeballed me and my brother. He has shaking with fear and bawling for his mother. The previous hour had been spent pursuing him around the field and both of us were exhausted.

The animal turned and looked at the trailer and decided it wasn't for him. I made a desperate attempt to cut him off as he lunged to his left but it was no use; I'd been skint, again. I winced as I felt a pull up my right leg.

We've all been there; days when you'd rather hop into bed with Susan Boyle than go training. The calf episode had left me crippled. I limped out to the car and fired my gear into the back seat. I had to let the manager know what happened, but would he believe me? I dialled his number anxiously.

"What the hell was that on the radio earlier?" I explained myself and tried to divert to conversation towards my ailment. He was a very intimidating man to try and talk to. "What's wrong with your calf?" "No I hurt my hamstring chasing a calf . . . "

"What? Will you make up your fucking mind; is it your hammer or your calf?" "My hamstring. Will Miley be there tonight for a rub?" "No. Miley is lying low for a few days; someone tipped the guards off about his green diesel. There's a young one coming down instead." "Sound out I'll see you down there."

* * * * *

"She's a grand bit of stuff isn't she?" "That's Premier League material man; at least an eight. Not like the Junior D standard women you usually go home with." "I like the oul' blondes, you think she'd go for the spuds with me some evening if I asked her?" "You must be joking lad; my pedigree limousine bull will calve before you pull a woman like her." The boys laughed. We were togging out for training, everyone's eyes transfixed on this new physio as she set up her treatment table. She was tall, slim and a very good-looking girl; not much older than ourselves.

The whistle sounded and our manager walked in,

"Alright men, we're on the field in one minute. Get yourselves moving. Leanne, there's just one for you tonight; a hamstring -- or a calf -- I'm not sure."

"Okay, hop up here for me can you?" I hopped up as the dressing room emptied. "Your hamstring is it?" "Yeh, it's just a bit tender."

"Right, just tell me when I hit the sore point." "Ouch, go easy. There's the bulls-eye." I jolted as she dug her thumb aggressively into the back of my leg. The pain was like being stabbed by a thousand pitchforks. Usually physios were conservative and gentle but she wasn't holding anything back.

"You're very tight; we're going to have to do serious work on that." I quickly sat up on the bed as she rolled up her sleeves; a bottle of oil in her hand.

"Is that really necessary Leanne? I mean a few days' rest and a few stretches are usually more than enough to sort these things?" I was desperate.

"Oh no, we have to sort it now; lie down for me there." I shut my eyes and exhaled sharply, this was going to be horrific. "Twenty good minutes of work should sort you."

I bit my bottom lip as she dug her elbow into the back of my knee and agonisingly slid it up my leg.

I'm no expert, but that 20 minutes was at least ten times worse than giving birth. She relentlessly dug elbows, knuckles and fingers into my tattered hamstring without even acknowledging my groans of pain and shrieking cries. "Easy Leanne, I'm a broken man here."

"Just a little more now."

I dug my nails into the sides of the table as she began again; I started to pray in my head. "Hail Mar . . . ooooooooh Lord."

I was crying now and could taste the salty tears running down my face.

"That'll do it."

I rolled onto my back and tried to catch my breath. My hair was drenched with sweat and my heart was going 90 to the dozen. She turned her back and began to dry her hands, without even looking at me or saying a word. My leg felt like it was on fire. I sat up and hobbled over to my seat. "Thanks for that Leanne; will I be okay for Tuesday?"

"Yeh. Bye now."

She grabbed her gear and walked out of the dressing room. What the hell? I sniffed my armpit; what was her problem. I'd seen happier funerals.

"Ah Leanne, you're leaving already?" It was our manager in the hallway. "Yeh, I'm finished in there. He's fine."

"Great. Thanks for coming on such short notice the night before your big game. The very best of luck to you all; please God you bring home the trophy, the whole county is behind you."

Ah for feck's sake . . .

For more, follow The Fielder on

Twitter @TheFielder2

Sunday Indo Sport

The Left Wing: Champions Cup returns, Jacob Stockdale's development, and Simon Zebo goes back to Munster

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport