Think it's all over? It is for politicians

Sat, Dec 15, 2012, 00:00

There were rivers of blood in Tallaght on Tuesday night when the politicians took on the political correspondents in a soccer grudge match under lights at Shamrock Rover’s home ground.

Well, maybe that might be overstating it a little, but it was slaughter nonetheless.

The hacks beat the TDs and Senators by five goals to one.

The match was organised months ago as a charity fundraiser for Fr Kevin’s Capuchin day centre, so the politicians who signed up to play were granted temporary release from the budget debate. They made it back to Leinster House in time for the major votes.

There weren’t any yellow or red card incidents and apart from a spot of handbags between Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly and the man from the Mail on Sunday, the game was played in very best spirit.

The politicians, by the way, were togged out in the Ireland strip. (Bought and paid for by themselves.) Who said they don’t do irony? Journalists Danny McConnell (Sunday Independent) and Kevin Doyle (Evening Herald) each bagged a brace and Juno McEnroe (Irish Examiner) scored the fifth.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (right) was the only politician to register on the score sheet.

Jimmy Deenihan’s All-Stars huffed and puffed about the pitch but were no match for the nippier, niftier pol corrs.

Minister Deenihan was visibly frustrated with his charges.

They included FG’s Anthony Lawlor in goal, Damien English, Noel Harrington, Paudie Coffey, Eoghan Murphy, Paul Connaughton, Brendan Griffin, Joe McHugh, along with FF Senators Daly and Brian O’Domhnaill.

Some readers might have noticed that the team included several from FG’s self-appointed think tank of young male TDs, known as the five-a-side club. They chose this name when trying to hide the true nature of their activities, pretending they were meeting to play ball when they were discussing party policy. They still meet, despite being rumbled by Enda Kenny.

After the game, manager Deenihan gave the lads an earful in the dressing room.

“I picked most of ye because ye are in that five-a-side club” he barked, unaccustomed to losing.

“Jimmy, the five-a-side is not about football” was Eoghan Murphy’s dry retort.

Clearly, nobody had told the Minister.