Father Deccie gives protégé ROG the boot instead of kicking boots


IF YOU ASK ME:The politicians must be chuffed with all the debate this week raging on who should and who shouldn’t be playing number 10 for Ireland on Sunday. A moment of perspective please, we all know the show is over as soon our number 13 decides to wrap it up anyway, so let’s just cool the jets and get a grip. Yikes, maybe that’ll start another national debate.

The debates, such as they were, not surprisingly went around the houses in the usual way. Former Munster players took the loyal stance on the O’Gara question (shocking I know) and on radio, former Leinster players felt Ian Madigan should’ve “at least made the bench”.

Not exactly ground-breaking views, but nonetheless the story received blanket coverage. You know the way it works, TV panels discuss what somebody wrote in a newspaper or said on the radio, newspapers discuss what somebody said on TV and radio, then a radio panel discusses what somebody said on TV and in the newspapers. Is it any wonder they all talk in circles.

For a seemingly conservative type, Declan Kidney’s straight talking has caused quite a stir this season. First there was the gobsmacking decision to relieve the one and only Brian O’Driscoll of the captaincy. But when Jamie H stepped into the breech, up to the plate and most crucially it seems, in front of Mick Corcoran’s RTÉ microphone this week, it all made ahem . . . sense.

MC: Jamie, this is a big one, a lot at stake, what’s the mood in the camp?

JH: Ah it’s just, you know, buzzin’, you know, we’re all psyched, you know. We were just saying there this is like ‘Scotland’ in ‘Edinburgh’ man, you know, so it’s just like whooooooaahh, you know?

MC: Right! (MC looks at JH like he’s an alien and has no idea what he’s just said) Em, you’ve been there, done that, what have you said to the young lads, Jackson and Marshall to ease their nerves?

JH: Ah just you know, we’re all pretty chilled, just told them to do their thing and just go for it, you know? Well I didn’t actually say it to them . . . I tweeted it . . . saves the hassle, you know, so that was pretty cool.

MC: (Lost. Gives up) Jamie Heaslip thank you.

JH: Nice one, cool man.

Kidney certainly doesn’t make it easy for himself. His next task was to negotiate the tricky matter of informing his protégé – with whom the course has not always been smooth – that he is required to play second fiddle to a chap 15 years his junior. Now how did he manage that?

Kicking practice

Carton House. Deccie breaks the news to ROG during kicking practice

February 19th, 11.07am.

An anxious Father Deccie watches as ROG goes through his ritual. the ball placed carefully on the tee, the slow walk back, the turn around the corner, the horse-kick, the hands thing, the look at the posts, the look back at the ball, the nod of the head, the “up-on-the-toes” thing, the run-up, the strike and . . . the ball sails between the posts. this makes it even harder. ROG lines up another one as Deccie approaches.

DK: Ronan, a quick word. Look we go back a long way so I’m going to say it you you straight.

ROG: What the f*** is that supposed to mean?

DK : Well this is a massive game for me, sorry not me, forget me, it’s nothing to do with me. I’m just a coach who has no interest in a new contract, no, no, it’s a huge game for YOU, well not just you, but for all the lads, but I just wanted to be sure you’re feeling up to the . . .

ROG: Up to the what?

DK: Well up to the p . . .

ROG: Up to the pressure? Go on say it!! YOU THINK I CAN’T HANDLE THE PRESSURE IS IT?

DK: Jesus reel it in there Ronan. No, no, never, you’re the best okay! The penalties that’s what I was going to say. Like out of the hands? You happy to take those on too

ROG? Like with everything else that’s . . .

ROG: Course I’m up to taking the ****ing penalties, who else’d take ’em?

DK: Well I was thinking, if you were having an off day maybe . . .

ROG: Off day, I’ll give you an off day, how about a f*** off day. Listen if it wasn’t for my boot you wouldn’t even be in this job so don’t give me that b*****.

DK: No, no, sorry Ronan I know that. You’re my number one . . . eh or so.

ROG: Yea whatever. Who you puttin’ on the bench? It better not be that Madigan poser.

DK (Quietly): No, well now this is what I wanted to say to you. I’m eh putting eh . . . I’m actually putting YOU on the eh, on the bench eh . . .


ROG: What?

DK: We’re going to go with Jacko.

ROG: Who?

DK: You know the young Ulster fella. Good steady lad, no airs and graces. Looks like Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. There he is.

Deccie nods to Paddy J who is lining up a kick.

ROG: Jeez him? For the last month I assumed he was just a ball boy!

DK: No, no he’s starting on Sunday.

ROG: And I’m on the bench?

DK: That’s right.

ROG: And who’ll do the kicking?

Deccie nods in the same direction as Jackson shanks one under the bar.

ROG: Good call Deccie. Good call!

Well he can’t be accused of being conservative now can he! Wrong? Maybe. Mad? Perhaps. Either way he might be the first Munsterman in Murrayfield to start “Stand up for the Ulstermen”.

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