The thick and fast procession of championship games the qualifier system ensures mightn’t suit everyone. Club players are booking then cancelling holidays with reckless disregard for the hanging threat of the divorce courts.
The TV lads don’t know where they’ll be from one week to the next. And spare a thought for the hats, scarves and headbands brigade – whose procurement divisions have come under unprecedented strain.
But let’s focus on the positives. Realistically, could any of us have faced more than eight days build up to Kerry – Dublin?
Here’s what another week would inevitably have brought us.
The love that dare speak its name
Forget the Turkish Wives’ Club, is there a more off-putting romantic vista than the appalling spectacle of middle-aged men from opposite ends of the land swearing undying love for one another?
Give it another few days and we’ll get chapter and verse on the courtship that lasts a lifetime. That weekend the Bomber called into the Burlo and didn’t go home til Thursday. The time the whole Dublin half-back line slept under Mickey Ned’s stairs until he ran out of brown bread, the cure hoor.
Are there grants available to set up mutual appreciation exchange programmes?
Apparently, Mikey Sheehy scored a goal from a free in 1978 while Paddy Cullen was wandering about near the sideline enquiring about B&B’s in Ventry. You probably don’t believe me, but there’s definitely some rarely-seen footage of it out there.
If only we had another few days to analyse it, we might learn what Paddy said to the ref, what Mikey said to Paddy and discover Con Houlihan’s reservations about Paddy’s baking skills.
Envisage a story if you will. There are three characters. Paidi, Charlie and Bertie. What? You’ve already heard enough? You’re growing puce with rage. Apologies.
The attempted beheading
When Sean Doherty clattered Mickey Ned, was there a small bit of malice it in? Was it Mickey Ned’s own fault for making one burst too many? Does he remember anything at all before waking up in the hospital? Isn’t it a wonder nobody at all has asked these lads?
Was it 20 Carroll’s Heffo looked for when he pulled into the shop in Listowel a few weeks after the big beating in ’78? A pity there’s not a few more days to dwell on it and we might find out what your man said back to him. It was hardly “It’s 20 Player’s you want,” was it?
The mode of transport
For a few days there, the protests of the Clonliffe Road residents threatened to put back all of this weekend’s fixtures. Were they concerned about the racket Bono’s removal boys, or indeed Bono himself, had been making?
Not at all. With another week’s build-up, they hoped to find out whether Paidi came up on the bus or the train that time. And whether Joe McNally was hit by a bus or a train. Now we’ll never know.
Does anyone know the marital status of Micko’s marvels who shocked the Dubs in ’75? They were certainly young fellas. Perhaps further reflection might be able to identify some class of pattern there. Maybe none of them were married at all. If so, what does that say about the sacred institution and All-Ireland glory. Isn’t it an awful pity we don’t have time to do a bit of research on it?
This column first appeared in Goalpost – the GAA supplement in Saturday’s Racing Post