Terrapin bowl has spoken and odds are against the champions
For a good many years, around now, here in this very paper, I used to write what is known in the trade as a crystal ball piece.
And for most of that good many years I was very accurate with my predictions, so much so that world leaders called on a regular basis with questions like whether or not there would be a future.
Oul' Moore was their nickname for me. The President of a large country which will soon be run by a hotel manager said I was an almanac of a man and the Russians wouldn't so much as take a sip of vodka without first consulting yours truly.
Financiers with billions to invest for hedge funds and gardeners who were wondering if the coming year might bring leaves back on their sea salt-burned laurels were constant callers.
The advice for the gardeners was that the most important thing is cover, whether it be shade for flowering plants or plastic for hedges in winter storms. We can readily apply the concept of cover to the Rugby World Cup when injuries put paid to our chances.
To the stock exchange investors, I would say it's a form of gambling. What goes up must come down and the opposite is not necessarily true. Very often what goes down stays sunk. Fish swim now in Spanish Armada wrecks and they are selling fridge magnets in the ruins of the most magnificent stadia of the ancient world. Teams, like dynasties, have a finite run at the very top. The secret to survival is constant renewal of the spirit. Management is vital. If Rome had a succession of able Caesars we would be writing this in Italian.
So because this is supposed to be a sports column we will apply the advice given to investors, gardeners and world leaders to our sporting outlook for 2016 but all in good time.
I know there are some of you who seek instant gratification. Only the other day I saw a woman place a frozen block of ice cream in the microwave and the result was meltdown.
Munster fans take note. Rome wasn't built in a day but it was destroyed in a day. Anthony Foley will come good.
I can hear you saying, 'Will he ever cut to the chase', but you see the problem is I have lost the gift of prophesy.
Time was when we got it all right. Munster to win in Thomond Park in the Heineken Cup was a constant. Manchester United won the Premier League every other year. Kerry for Sam came up regularly. Hard to believe now that at one time last week my three teams had lost 11 games between them - in a row.
We have sad news this week which puts such losses in their true perspective. Kerry's Paddy Curtin was lost in Guatemala and the North Kerry legend Der O'Connor was laid to rest on New Year's Eve.
We never know what the future holds.
Back then when our teams were winning, forecasting was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel which is a pretty stupid thing to do when you come to think of it. So you shoot the fish and the bullets go through the scales and out the other side. The barrel is holed. All the water leaks out. The fish are gasping for breath. There's nothing left to shoot. Only the breeze. Time for a new cliché then. So here it is. Crystal-balling used to be "as easy as straining terrapins".
Terry and Pina were terrapins, tiny turtle types, and they were filthy creatures. Their watery home was in a type of crystal ball called a goldfish bowl. The open sewer super bowl had to be cleaned out about three times a day. You could boil a turkey in the bowl it was that big. It would be easier to clean the grime off a swimming pool.
Terry and Pina were removed from the murky waters by means of a strainer. A little bit of fishing about and they were caught. Hence the expression "as easy as straining terrapins". Other sports writers please copy.
And what became of Terry and Pina? They disappeared. I think the little darlings may have been accidentally thrown down the toilet bowl. The terrapins were ferocious little creatures which probably explains why there have been no sightings of crocodiles in the sewers under Listowel. I now use the bowl for prophesy.
Dublin will not win the All-Ireland in 2016. I double-checked the forlorn terrapin bowl and there was no sign of any signs indicating a Dublin win. The stats are against Dublin. Only Kerry have won the two-in-a-row since Billy Morgan's Cork teams won in 1989 and 1990. So that's just one double in 25 years. Logically Dublin are 25/1 to win the All-Ireland in 2016. Our advice is to back Dublin but only if you get the champions at 25s.
We visited the excellent Langton's in Kilkenny a few weeks ago and I had a private chat with one Brian Cody, in front of about 500 people. I read Brian's mind.
Before the hurling forecast, I must recommend a book written by the only Kerry hurler to win 10 All-Irelands. Shefflin is a fine read. Henry, like yours truly, was reared over a pub and is related to half of Lyreacrompane in the foothills of the Stacks Mountains. Henry, who qualifies under the grandmother rule, will surely play for Kerry this year. It's in the bowl.
I was trying to explain to the Kilkenny people that we never rightly got over the Seamus Darby goal back in AE2 (1982). Time in this case was anything but a healer. In fact, the pain of losing was made worse by the fact we haven't succeeded in winning a consecutive five since, or even four or three.
Brian didn't respond but I could see in his eyes that he was thinking of the five-timer. He couldn't let on. Managers take every game as it comes. Players who think too far ahead lose track of the present. Like the song, take it one day at a time. Kilkenny are going for the bare three-in-a-row.
No county has won the five-timer in the 119-year history of All-Irelands. Going on the same indisputable logic that has Dublin at 25/1, Kilkenny should be 119/1 to win the five-in-a-row in 2018. The oracle of the bowl has spoken and ask your bookie for these fair odds. Tell him I'll get Terry and Pina after him if he fails to deliver.
The bowl never lies, as the employer said when he arrived in his worker's home to check if his employee was skiving off after producing a sick note for diarrhoea. So that's it from me for 2015 .
Happy New Year.