Saturday 24 March 2018

Billy Keane: Munster need a holy water-carrier to stop bullies taking over

'Anthony Foley, who has done an excellent job, deserves no less than a miracle' Photo:Sportsfile
'Anthony Foley, who has done an excellent job, deserves no less than a miracle' Photo:Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

Munster is still in Europe both geographically and mathematically. I tried to figure out the equations but after seven hours of calculations I had to take a lie-down.

The miracle of the loaves and the fishes was all about numbers, and who knows, by Sunday evening the water could be changed in to wine and Munster will be in the quarter finals of the European Cup.

Mentoring is more than a friendly ear, as the man said when he was nibbling his girlfriend's lobe. They confide in me sometimes, the kissing classes, under cover of the strictest anonymity. The Nibbler used to tell him he was a handsome man and was well able to talk up for himself and to have confidence in himself.

Hopefully GSOC aren't tapping my phone. You'd never know who would be listening in. Soon we will have to turn on the taps in the bathroom when we are talking to each other, just like they do in the spy movies. But a real, live and living Big Brother can be a great friend too.

We all need a bit of mentoring from time to time. In this job it's mostly to do with editing and our colleagues who check out the written word have saved my bacon many times.

So it is Anthony Foley showed true courage, humility and intelligence when he took up the offer of advice from Andy Farrell. And now Andy is back in the land of his forefathers to advise those who wear the green and the red too.

Patriot song

I wonder is Andy related to Shaun O'Farrell, who was the hero of the patriot song The Rising of the Moon?

Men find it hard to ask for help. It is seen as an admission of failure.

This redundant concept of manliness manifests itself most often in DIY. There he is, with his bzzzzz bzzzzz drill, boring holes in all the wrong places like a dodgy oil exploration outfit. Then when the shelves are finally stuck on the wall with a mix of screws, spit and superglue, the construction lists like the Titanic and all the books fall off.

The GP has a good look at his patient, scratches his head and refers him to the brain surgeon because even though he's a good GP, he is not a brain surgeon.

That's what Munster did, and there's talk Sir Alex Ferguson will have a word with Ryan Giggs should Louis van Gaal be given his P45.

My source is a taxi driver from Manchester who wears a hearing aid, even though he doesn't need one. The source maintains the hidden hearing aid enables him to listen in to whispers even when the dividing window is closed.

There's a slim chance Munster might manage yet another miraculous escape. At the very least we can boast Munster are still in the competition, and while five points in Treviso will be a tough ask, it's a lot easier than five points in Toulon.

We need multiple miracles to get us through to the quarter-finals. But it can be done. On paper we have a chance. That's all I'm saying.

But back to getting in the bit of help. Men are vain and hormonal creatures but sometimes we must give way to the 'I'm the only bull in the field mentality'.

On my nights off from the pub I like to watch wildlife documentaries. I'm there looking at David Attenborough looking at bull elephants fighting over territory every Good Friday.

Ulster is a part of the world where stubbornness has often been seen as a virtue but now in recent and more peaceful times, resilience has taken over from a blind adherence to failed values.

Ulster were hammered on the plastic pitch at Saracens, which often happens to teams unused to the synthetic surface. It's the very same as asking those hardy men who walk bare-soled on red-hot coals to take up ice skating.

The grandees of England and France can do what they like. Money rules and bullies do as bullies do, which is bully the small people.


They have gerrymandered the European Cup and the likelihood is that by Sunday evening, for the first time ever, there will be no Irish team left in the competition.

Ulster too need Lotto winners' luck. The Lotto is at a record high tonight and I hope I don't win as it might change me as a person. Money is ruining rugby.

The qualification system is a shambles and the French and English grandees who own the game might rue the day.

The Irish travel to away games. The loss of funds and atmosphere will not be compensated for by creative TV directors showing small pockets of away supporters getting all excited.

Only the Ospreys will go through from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

Munster need a holy water carrier but you'd never know. There have been miracles in the past. Who would ever have thought that some day Dublin would beat Kerry three times in a row? Or that a man would rise from the dead - which is probably a lesser miracle than the Dublin one? But more about Dublin and Kerry next week.

Anthony Foley, who has done an excellent job, deserves no less than a miracle. He always puts Munster first. The Holy of Foleys is as honest as any man could ever be. He is Munster to the core.

And yes sometimes the righteous are rewarded, but if we go on to the quarter-finals, the vendors and business people of Knock will wonder and worry. Their renowned miracle might will be relegated to second place.

Irish Independent

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