With Americans playing football in Croker, Limerick has to be a lady

Limerick does not seem to be a popular choice for semi-final . . . not to be insulting

Kerry supporters celebrate the equalizing point: “Breathless was the only word, really, for that second half”. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kerry supporters celebrate the equalizing point: “Breathless was the only word, really, for that second half”. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 06:00

Well, after that second half, you can only be grateful there’ll be a sequel, although the venue for Kerry and Mayo’s re-match didn’t have Colm O’Rourke and Joe Brolly crooning “the beauty that surrounds you, I’ll take it with me love where e’er I gooooooooo”.

Colm: “It’s absolutely dreadful that we have to go to Limerick for an All Ireland semi-final!”

Joe: “A disgrace!”

Colm: “And that’s not being insulting to Limerick in any way!”

James Horan echoing those thoughts post-match when the Mayo gaffer suggesting the city was not the one true love he’d ever known: “Limerick wouldn’t be your preferred choice of venue, no.”

So, the only punters we’ll see in Croke Park on replay day will be of the Penn State and University of Central Florida kind, unless the GAA opts for a double header, which would surely confuse our visiting American friends.

Although you’d have to think they’d be well impressed with wide receiver James O’Donoghue.

“He’s the Luis Suárez of Gaelic football – without the taste for human flesh,” Joe said before the game, the multiple-trick pony reminding him of the old line about Peter Canavan: “What’s the difference between Peter Canavan and a black taxi? A black taxi only carries seven.”

Oh now. Mind you, after Lee Keegan was sent off on 33 minutes for a little footy flick at Johnny Buckley, you wondered if both sides would be down to seven men after a bit if that was the red card standard.

Michael Lyster, though, dusted down his rule book at half-time, and the referee had it spot on. Footy flicks not allowed.

Was that Mayo banjaxed? Joe feared as much, but not just because they were a man down, reckoning if they carried on playing as they did in the first half, the outcome would be “inevitable”. And the Kingdom would send the West back in to a Gaelic football slumber.

Second half. Cripes. Mayo wide awake, as epic a display as Marty Morrissey’s introduction to the encounter. Marty is kind of our Maximus now, “at my signal Kerry and Mayo, unleash hell”.Breathless was the only word, really, for that second half, “extraordinary” and “heroic” said Joe of Mayo, somewhat tempering his praise by suggesting they were “far too nice” when they were five points up in the dying moments, “when it’s there for them, they’re far too brittle”.

Colm suggested that was “a half backhanded compliment to Mayo”, and he wasn’t wrong, instead choosing to salute them after a ropey first half, and responding manfully to “questions about their manhood”. “I suppose the prospects of an execution concentrates the mind,” he said. True.

Outstandingly entertaining as it was, that second half paled next to the sporting highlight of the weekend, Soccer Saturday’s Jeff Stelling’s reaction to his beloved Hartlepool getting the winner – “Maaaaaaaarlon Haaaaaaaarewooooooood!” – away to Wimbledon, Paul Merson nearly getting an ‘art attack in the process while Jeff punched the air and hollored.

The lowlight was the 0-0 draw between Aston Villa v Newcastle, which BT Sport brought us live, leaving you wondering if Roy went up to the man to whom he is an assistant post-match and said, “Sorry Lambo, life’s too short for this”, before heading for the exit. He’d have been wise, maybe, not least because there might be a vacancy at Old Trafford soon, although he’d have to tread easy and not go up to Angel Di Maria in training on Day One and say: “HOW MUCH?!”

Some were unkind enough to say that the selection of Lee Cattermole as yesterday’s man of the match in the Sunderland v United draw was an indication of how the United midfield might be a tad lacking, the fact that the iPhone auto-corrects his name to “Chatter Mole” another sign that names that are less than household are bossing LvG’s centrally positioned chaps.

Sky’s Geoff Shreeves informed Chatter Mole after the game that he was Gary Neville’s man of the match. What he failed to mention was that Gaz had prefaced his announcement with: “I’m scraping the barrel here”. Oh.

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