Epic stuff as the panel are blown away by the fare served up

An occasion which will prompt the question ‘where were you when . . . ?’

 

Epic? Would that be the right word? Strict definition: “A long poem narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures.” Ah yeah, that’ll do. Dublin v Kerry - ‘epic’ it is.

It was one of those occasions which will prompt the question “where were you when . . . ?” in years to come. “In front of the telly, where else, like?’ the most probable reply. Unless you were one of the fortunate 82ish thousand in Croke Park, among them Colm O’Rourke, who’d rarely seen the like of it.

He begged to differ, though, with Darragh Maloney who had described the contest as “maybe the game of the decade”, Colm going up a few notches when he said it was “one of the greatest sporting occasions I’ve ever been at, one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen, it had it all , I feel privileged to have been here today.”

His his only regret, come fulltime, was that it hadn’t been a draw so we’d get a sequel. Possibly not an opinion shared on Hill 16. And you know, looking at the faces on Hill 16 left you guessing that for the bulk of them, those epic Dublin v Kerry ding-dongs from the 1970s were familiar only through snippets on Reeling in the Years. Put it this way: goal-getter supreme Kevin McManamon wasn’t born until 10 years after the epic 1976 final. Mad, like.

Pat Spillane was no less effusive about those now destined to start in, say, the 2076 Reeling in the Years, sitting so far forward on the edge of his seat you feared it would flip and he’d somersault head-first on to Michael Lyster’s lap.

Redeemed his faith
At half-time he had declared that the game had redeemed his faith in Gaelic football, himself and the fella to his right – Brolly, Joe Brolly – noting that neither Dublin nor Kerry is “Tie-rone”, which, they reckoned, accounted for the loveliness of the fare.

And Tie-rone might have thought they’d have the day off.

The panel, to a man, had been quite hopeful of a zinger even before the ball had been thrown in, Pat dumbfounded by Kerry’s odds of 2/1, struggling to recall a time when they were written off before even unpacking their gear in the Croke Park dressingrooms.

But this, he said, was their “last, last hurrah”, while adding a little warning – they’re “dangerous underdogs”– lest anyone be reluctant to put a euro or two on them. Who would Mayo prefer in the final? Michael told us Joe had been out west during the week, so he should know, but the Derry man confessed to not remembering what he was told thanks to the 10 pints he’d downed.

So that was helpful.

The first half and the first 23-ish minutes gave us a blizzard of goals and points, divil a sign of blanket defending. The second half might not have been quite as splendiferous, certainly not for Kerry, but the panel were still doffing their caps. Joe emoted. It was blissful, he said, but he noted the “repeated cynical fouling by Kerry”.

Now, at this point the folk from the Kingdom might have anticipated Joe having a word or three to say about the Gooch being, well, impeded en route to goal by another fella called Cooper, but nothing at all. Sean Cavanagh, you’d imagine, smiled a little.

“Don’t be negative Joe,” Pat advised, “pot, kettle, flippin’ black,” Joe might have replied.

“Joe’s nitpicking and being negative,” said Pat, at which point Michael had to step in, verbally at least, to prevent a dust-up. And just as it all calmed down they went after each other again over whether McManamon was actually looking for a point when he scored his goal.

Mad stuff. A bit, some might say, like Gareth Bale’s transfer fee – just the €100 million. Sky News cut away from their coverage of Syria to pass on the word, priorities spot on as ever. An epic fee, you’d have to say, now all the fella has to do is produce deeds of the heroic and legendary kind for Real Madrid. No pressure.

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