What could Mullinalaghta achieve if they were a full parish?
TV View: Mourneabbey – much like Man United – decided they were sick of losing
Mullinalaghta manager Mickey Graham celebrates at the final whistle of the Leinster club SFC final win over Kilmacud Crokes. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Their supporters must have wondered if they’d ever see the day. The players might have had their doubts too. They’d endured much more than their fair share of disappointment in recent times, so there was something overwhelming joyful about witnessing their full-time celebrations at the weekend. Enough about Manchester United, though, hats off to Mourneabbey and Mullinalaghta too.
While United received no actual trophy for winning an actual game, playing reasonably well against the behemoths that are Fulham, and managing to find the net on four occasions in a league fixture for the first time in 13 months, Mourneabbey left Parnell Park and Mullinalaghta departed O’Connor Park laden with silverware.
“What was different this time,” TG4’s Gráinne McElwain asked Doireann O’Sullivan after Mourneabbey had beaten Foxrock-Cabinteely to win the All Ireland club title for the first time, having lost three of the four previous finals. There’s only so much heartache a collection of football-playing human beings can take.
“We were sick of losing,” said O’Sullivan, “we just said enough is enough.” And from the opening minutes such was Mourneabbey’s purpose and evident aversion to making it four defeats out of five, you had a notion nothing would stop them. And nothing did.
It was a tighter squeeze for Mullinalaghta, but as man of the match Patrick Fox explained to Mícheál Ó Domhnaill when asked about the effort put in to improbably beat the mighty Kilmacud Crokes to win the Leinster title for the first time, “well sure, we weren’t going to die wondering”.
And Mullinalaghta, we were reminded, is only a half-parish, leaving TG4 viewers wondering what they could achieve if they were whole.
It was marvellous stuff, TG4’s to-be-cherished coverage of club football in these murky months a very agreeable excuse to leave the plum puddings unmade for another day or three.
The other heavenly distraction from Christmas prepping this weather has been, of course, ’Arry Redknapp in the jungle. There were far too many highlights to list, but him not recognising Prince ’Arry in the waiting room of his physiotherapist was especially good (“I thought, I know ‘im from somewhere – didn’t he used to play for me? I’ve gone, ‘alright, mate’”), as was his encounter with Princess Beatrice, who he didn’t recognise either (“She told me her gran loved horse racing and won the Gold Cup at Ascot. I thought, ‘her Gran must have a couple of quid on her’.”).
Also too, the last time ’Arry was in the cinema was when he went to see Doctor Zhivago in 1965; he met his wife Sandra 54 years ago in a nightclub called the Two Puddings; he loves her intensely, rings her 10 times a day, but once ran over her in his car; he bought a “jet thingie” to clean his car but decided it to use it to water Sandra’s flowers and decapitated every one of them.
Movies have been made out of lesser lives.
But, disappointingly, when he was hosting Have I Got News For You last week, Danny Dyer suggested that Sam Allardyce, rather than ’Arry, could be the man to solve the Brexit impasse. “The government suffered ‘free defeats in a row, so send in Sam, old big nut . . . he’s got a massive ’ead,” he told Ian Hislop, who sported the blankest expression ever witnessed on the face of a homo sapien.
Judy Murray, Ian’s team-mate, reckoned that wasn’t a bad idea, but she was less impressed when Danny read out one reaction to Martin Solveig the Berk asking Ada Hegerberg if she could twerk after she’d become the inaugural winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or.
“Who stuck ‘is bloody oar in,” asked Danny. Judy chortled. It was her lad Andy. (“Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport ...”). But? “It was blown out of all proportion,” said Judy, “it’s trendy to be indignant about things, it’s what makes headlines.”
She’ll be on Henman Hill next summer, rather than in the family box.
Tony Pulis might agree with Judy. He was spittin’ after his Middlesbrough drew with Blackburn Rovers, among his many gripes that time one of the officials deemed Britt Assombalonga to be offside when he was clean through on goal. “The linesman puts the flag up . . . the lady linesman . . . that’s not offside,” he said.
This gender language business can be a minefield, of course, but there’s an argument for suggesting that until the day comes when Tony uses the term a “gentleman lineswoman” then and only then will the struggle be over.