Understandably enough you’re starting to worry. You’re sure you’ve tried every possible avenue; the lad at work from the club in Mayo, the brother’s girlfriend’s cousin who cleans the windows in Ken’s sports shop, the PP, the curate – you’ve got cold feet halfway up the Bishop’s driveway.
You’ve severed relations with the young one you met in Langtons whose salacious, late-night promises of corporate box access failed to survive the cold light of day. Or will you text her again just in case? No, don’t panic yet. First make sure you’ve tried this lot;
Remind the club secretary of the time…
He had you on the back foot straight away during the week, with poisonous talk of unpaid subs and your marked lack of active participation since the time you let in six goals through your legs in an U14 B debacle. Time to turn the tables; Is it widely known what promises he had to make to get his young lad on the Tony Forristel? Were all those bottles of Blue Nun at the Sale of Work accounted for? Had he anything to do with the suggestions of impropriety that saw the set dancers reduced to seven before the second figure in the Scor county final. All these lads have weaknesses. It’s up to you to find them.
Shift one of the players
Even in these enlightened times, this one is perhaps better employed by the women out there, although that’s not to say that an All-Ireland final banquet isn’t the ideal arena for a county man to come out. But there’s a tried-and-trusted formula that has served enterprising ladies well for years. Check into the Burlo tonight and emerge complaining from your room in your best nightdress when you hear the lads pucking up and down the corridor. Nowadays, teams travelling on the day can stymie the best, er, laid plans but wherever you find him, choose your man carefully though – there’s no good picking out a grand, quiet corner back who’ll be afraid to tell the mother she’ll have to go to Hill 16 tomorrow.
See if there’s any funerals rising out
Wear the county polo shirt – ideal for drawing down the match during those crucial seconds following “Sorry for your trouble, missus.” Imply strongly that the great orator with one arm was a lifelong friend of the deceased. Be strong – tact and diplomacy will have another day out. Any failure of nerve will be all the more galling when you see the departed’s brother on the telly Sunday week, up in the Hogan and the funeral Mass barely over. Actually, don’t mind what the mother says – wear the country jersey.
Exhaust the six degrees of separation
Kevin Bacon won’t be worth three knobs to you this weekend but successive censuses have confirmed what everyone knew anyway – there’s nobody in the country more than six steps from being related to Donie Nealon. And sure Donie wouldn’t see a pal stuck would he?
Spend Saturday evening tactically
Get the loan of a piano accordion and a couple of rosettes and secure a slot on Up For the Match. We have it on good authority that Dessie likes nothing better than have lads plague him for tickets all the evening. Failing that, head out to the airport to meet the last plane in from JFK. Everyone knows that’s where all the good tickets are going.
Don’t worry one bit about it
Sure don’t you know fine well that by two o’clock on match day, you’ll eventually be trying to offload the two Cusack you got outside Fagans and that Canal End you panic-bought in Rody’s the night before and that’s even before you get round to worrying how that grand, quiet corner back will introduce you to Marty Morrissey later on tonight.
This article first appeared in Goalpost, the GAA supplement with Saturday’s Racing Post