That Croke Park five-in-a-row. Tis impossible really - not even Garth could manage it

‘And Mr Brooks, I just want to say I love your music’

Garth Brooks in Croke Park after announcing details of his concerts.

Garth Brooks in Croke Park after announcing details of his concerts.


Phone ringing in Croke Park.

“Cumann Luthchleas Gael?”

“Howdy. May I speak to your President? ’Cos my heart’s breakin’ here. I called the house but no one answered. I thought we had a friendship.”

“Is this John Delaney again? May I ask who’s calling?”

“Sure can, Ma’am. It’s Garth here. Garth Brooks.”

“Is this a prank? If that’s you, Shane Curran . . .”

“No Ma’am. This is Garth. I promise.”

“Sweet Mother of Mercy. I’m really sorry, Mr Brooks . . . I think an tUachtarain may be out . . .”

“Slipped on down to the oasis, huh?”

“Well, you see, he has a meeting with the Central Disciplinary Committee, lunch with the Central Competitions Control Committee and then he has to set up an advisory committee on the establishment of new committees.”

“Woh! Sounds heavy. Well, if you could just let me have a word, I’d be mighty appreciative. ‘Cause what your doin’ now, it’s tearin me apart.”

“I’ll just see if he’s still in the office. And Mr Brooks?”

“Yes M’am?”

“I just want to say I love your music. Sure we’re all devastated about this in Ireland. I’ve all your albums! I’d never have learned the line dancing if it wasn’t for you. Met my husband at your concert in the Point in ‘94. We were there to see you in Croke Park in ‘97. Best show I was ever at. Better than Billy Jo-el even.”

“Well, that kills me. It really does. When we were talkin’ about a comeback, Cro-park was the only place. You guys knew how to have a great time. And you know every word of every song. And I told you then, M’am. I said it to the people of Ireland that night in Cro-park: ‘I promise you. If you wait for me, I’ll be back’.”

[Muttering]“You took your feckin’ time about it, though. Garth, we all had tickets for this year. Fifty-five of us going. Himself camped out overnight for the tickets in January . . .”

“Well M’am. I’m just so blessed and grateful to hear you say that. Ireland’s home for us. I feel like an adopted son here. Cro-park. This is the place. We just want to have fun. Make history. Now, operator, won’t you put me on through . . .”

“Lord above, Garth. You’re making me cry here. And you’re not even singing! I’ll just connect you. Hold the line.”

“God bless, M’am.”

Phone rings again:

“Garth, a chairde. What can I say? It’s a sad day for the association, for Gaels and fans of country everywhere.”

“Mr President, I sure am pleased to speak with you. And I just want to say to you that, Hey, I didn’t mean . . . to cause a big scene. Just give me an hour and then.”

“Garth, a stor, Garth. Sure, it’s not your fault at all. It’s the bloody committee. They’ve thrown a spanner in the works.”

“I know it, Mr President. But I blame it all on my roots. Cos this is the place. When people say, what’s the best: everyone thinks Central Park’s gonna be the answer. But you tell em: Guys, Croke Park . . . something magic happens. Something religious goes on here.”

“That’s the truth, Garth. You should see it when the Dubs play. Or the Cats”

“The Cats ? They a country band? Do they sell out?

“It’s a full house every time they play.”

“See, that’s what I’m talking about. The music is timeless. The magic happens. I just don’t want to let the people of Ireland down, Mr President. That’s why it got to be five or none at all.”

“Well, the five-in-a-row is never easily done in Croke Park, Garth. Tis impossible really.”

“Be a shame if I’ve gotta show myself the door. You remember when I came to Ireland in ‘97? Biggest crowd in Ireland since the Pope came to visit. That’s what I was told.”

“Garth, we are working on this around the clock. We are praying for a solution.”

“Well, Mr President. You might know this but: Remember when you are talking to the man upstairs, just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.’ You ever get that feelin’?”

“I do, Garth. Every time I phone the Ulster Council.”

“I’m too young to be feelin’ this damn old. It feels like no time has passed at all.”

“That’s what they all say Garth. You have to know when to hang up the boots too.”

“ Cro- Park’s home to us, Mr President. In ‘97,in Cro-Park it was like there was this white film over everything . . . kinda like a haze. It was almost like we were communicating without saying anything at all.”

“Sure I know, Garth. Congress can be a bit like that. Particularly after the late Friday night.”

“So I guess we got ourselves a problem here. I guess I was wrong. I just don’t belong. But then, I’ve been there before . . .”

“No, no, Garth, you’re a friend of the association. But we are great believers in compromise. We have other venues, you know. Bob Dylan played Nowlan Park. Brilliant acoustics in Kilkenny. Michael Jackson played Cork. The Boss played the Gaelic Grounds. Would you not take the show on the road? Sort of like the qualifiers?

“Gee, I’m not sure I can oblige, Mr President. We got 400,000 people with their hearts set on hearin’ Calling Baton Rouge in Cro-park. If I let one of em’ down, I let all of ‘em down. It’s gotta be five. Is there nothing we can do here? Don’t you guys have any, you know, friends in low places?”

“Not since the last election. Listen, keep the bags packed. We have a committee on this as we speak. And we will talk tomorrow.”

Singing together (tearfully). “So tell that someone that you love what you’re thinkin’ off, if to-morr-ow never comes.”

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