Shemozzles and she dazzles as Maher the All Star takes senior All-Ireland at last

Galway defender takes her first senior camogie medal after 16 years of trying

Kicking coach Ronan O’Gara and his new great friend, Jonny Sexton. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Inpho

Kicking coach Ronan O’Gara and his new great friend, Jonny Sexton. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Inpho


Shemozzle. One of the very great words. Hands up how many of you thought your Granny invented it, only to read it comes from the Yiddish ‘shlimazl’, meaning brawl? According to the internet any way. And it’s never wrong.

Hats off to Cyril Farrell who dusted it down for yesterday’s senior All-Ireland camogie final between Galway and Kilkenny, which, at times, he reckoned, was shemozzley.

It was a bit too, but, in the end, Galway’s stamina matched that of Darragh Maloney, who had to commentate on both the Intermediate and Senior finals because, Michael Lyster told us, Marty Morrissey was “having trouble with his auld voice”.

You’d guess it started going when he saw Mario Rosenstock impersonate him on the Late Late Show on Friday night, a sight that will live with the nation possibly forever, or maybe as long as the Bishop and the nightie.

But Therese Maher, you’d imagine, wasn’t too perturbed by the final being a bit shemozzley. “It’s great for her,” said Cyril, “she’s announced her retirement, she played for, I dunno, her whole life, really.”

She had too. Five lost All-Ireland finals to count and, at last, pure unadulterated joy.

“Every time we came up here, and every time we came home defeated, you’d always think, ‘will it be next year, will it be next year?” she said to RTÉ.

Maher, who already had four All-Stars to her name, can retire in the company of the medal she most craved. Sweet.

“They’ve a very, very big monkey on their back,” Therese O’Callaghan had said of Galway before the final, and to put it in context: the last time they won it was the last time Ireland won the Eurovision Song Contest (The Voice).

Yes, that long ago. 1996, to be precise, before Eastern Europe contrived to put an end to our singing streak.

Mind you, Kilkenny hadn’t won it since 1994 – when Ireland, lest you forget, also won the Eurovision (Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids) – so there was actually a pair of them in it.

Galway it was though, capping off a memorable and – at times – a tumultuous enough week in Irish sport.

“I felt embarrassed for soccer, embarrassed for the country, embarrassed for all the good players, for our great tradition in soccer,” said Eamon Dunphy.

“John, would you go as strongly as that about it?” asked Bill O’Herlihy.

“John never goes as strongly as me on anything,” said Eamon, before John had a chance to open his mouth.

“But I’m thinking of men like him, all the great players we’ve produced, the Peter Farrells, the Liam Bradys, the Ronnie Whelans, the David O’Learys – this is a great footballing country and we go out and play that rubbish.”

Trapattoni? Nah, it was a clip from 1990 as shown on RTÉ’s Second Captains Live, the time Eamon emoted after Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Egypt.

Remember? When he fired his pen across the studio in an incandescent-with-rage kind of way. Ah, the memory: it’s a mad divil for playing tricks and ensuring the story grows in the tellin’. All he actually did was drop his pen on his desk, with all the aggression of a gazelle.

Any way, the Second Captains being of this parish, it would be unethical to say anything nice about their debut on RTÉ last week, so we won’t - except to suggest it was ridiculously fabulous.

Not least that chat with Ronan O’Gara. “How are you settling in, have you made friends?” asked Eoin McDevitt of O’Gara’s new life as a coach with Racing Metro in France.

“Yeah, I’ve made one very new friend . . . Jonny,” he said of the Sexton man, his erstwhile, well, rival.

Time then for O’Gara to choose his favourite Irish sportsman of all time. His former Irish captain was atop the Second Captains hall of fame. Was O’Gara good with that? “Roy should be first, Drico you’re gone.”

They’re a tribal bunch, these Corkonians.

Ronan, you reckon, would even choose Roy for the Irish job. Now, that would be shemozzley.

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