Home thoughts from abroad on the All-Ireland championships
‘A lone Donegal fan was in an empty carriage and had his head in his hands. He cut a forlorn figure. Who says nobody cares about the provincial championship?’
– There was only one Donegal fan to be seen in all of Manhattan on the Sunday of the Ulster football final. Clearly, the days of hundreds of Irish lining the streets for big GAA games are over. That’s live streaming for you. This particular lad was travelling on the A train about an hour after the game and was wearing a vintage Tir Conaill shirt from back when McGee tailoring were the sponsors.
– He was in an empty carriage and had his head in his hands. He cut a forlorn figure. Who says nobody cares about the provincial championship ?
But if Donegal get past Laois this afternoon, none of the provincial champions is going to want to draw them.
– Galway hurlers are, without doubt, the eternal mystery of GAA summers. They might go out of the championship against Clare on Sunday. They might win the All-Ireland. And not one Galway supporter travelling to see them has a clue which will occur.
– Kieran McGeeney should stay with Kildare
– It was deadly to see/hear Joe Brolly quote some Paddy Kavanagh on television in honour of Monaghan’s day. This is an improvisation that RTÉ should maintain. If London do the impossible and win in Croke Park today, it behoves Dessie Cahill to open his show with a rousing version of The Old Main Drag by the Pogues.
– No GAA county other than Mayo could leave their imprint on the Tour de France. Mayo GAA people are compulsive graffiti artists. The roadside declaration was both insane and wonderful.
– There should always be a Brady and a Reilly on Cavan football teams. Even if the day comes when not a single Brady lad in Cavan is bothered kicking football, they should stick one on the team anyhow, just as a charm.
When Monaghan celebrated with gusto the last day, it was impossible not to think of former Monaghan boss Banty McEnaney, in the corridors of Croke Park minutes after a narrow quarter-final defeat to Kerry, explaining that the feeling was like having your heart ripped out – “without an anaesthetic”. The moment was at once as moving as the climactic scenes featuring Ricky Schroder in The Champ and as chilling as anything Anthony Hopkins achieved as Hannibal Lecter.
– We need to something about Jamie. The Armagh lad is clearly going to be double teamed into oblivion. The next development in Gaelic football will be to teach more functional forwards how to set screens so sublime talents like Clarke can shake off at least one of their pesky defenders and work some magic.