TV View: Katie-George, Eve, Kellie, Katie and Leona... We don’t even need surnames

A fair old chunk of Mná na hÉireann are really quite useful at this sporting lark

Did you ever see such happiness? The  Meath players celebrate their  victory in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph:  Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Did you ever see such happiness? The Meath players celebrate their victory in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

 

Meath? As TG4 would put it, súil eile.

Even before they produced a display for the ages in the All-Ireland final, you couldn’t but have concluded, if you’d done a bit of channel-hopping the past few days, that a fair old chunk of Mná na hÉireann are really quite useful at this sporting lark.

On Friday there was Katie-George and Eve in Tokyo and Kellie in the back of Ryan Tubridy’s Late Late taxi, and come the weekend, Katie and Leona were popping up on our screens. See? We don’t even need to use their surnames.

While Leona was ripping up the Solheim Cup, Meath were shredding the Dubs’ five-in-a-row hopes. And if any of you outside Meath claim you saw the latter coming, off with you, you shower of Pinocchios.

“We haven’t been destroyed yet,” Meath manager Eamonn Murray told TG4 before the final, intimating that they were about to be. But he just about suppressed a grin that would have suggested he’d a notion his team had no intention of being destroyed in their first ever senior All-Ireland final, even if most everyone else thought they would be.

When Emma Troy put them five points up shortly before half-time, he patrolled his sideline with a smile, like he knew this was always coming. And all that “sure, if we lose, what harm, we’ll have had a nice day out” talk was the greatest deceit perpetrated on the Irish population in the history of the State.

Come the closing stages of the game, TG4’s Brian Tyers’ voice was rising so many pitches he was close to running out of them, the impossibility of what he was witnessing enough to send his commentary to Jupiter levels. These upstarts from Meath, who were playing flippin’ intermediate football last year, were humbling the Dubs, playing with energy and pace and drive when they had to, and a keep-ball savvy when they needed to.

Emma Troy, Mary Kate Lynch, Maire O’Shaughnessy, Stacey Grimes, Niamh O’Sullivan, Vikki Wall, Emma Duggan, the streets of Meath should be named after them. And if we ever end up in the trenches, we’d want O’Sullivan alongside us. She was immense.

Come full-time, did you ever see such happiness?

“The happiest day of my life,” Murray told TG4, and then he was reminded that he never even wanted the job in the first place, him being more than happy to stick with working with the county’s underage teams. And when he took over, he struggled at times to even get the numbers to put together a team, the county having suffered so many maulings, a heap of players walked away.

Was he happy now that he took the job?

“Yeah, well, I probably am – I might hold on to it for a while now,” he said, on the eve of being offered a contract for life.

Fun

And then he revealed the secret to his success as a manager: “Fun. And fun can win games for you,” he said, which could be interpreted as a most excellent message to the Pep Guardiola-wannabes who think their counties will prosper only if their players endure unrelenting misery in their quest to reach the heights. We could name names, but the High Court is a cold place.

Captain Shauna Ennis, quite beautifully, saluted all those who had gone before, the women of Meath who had worn the jersey in the grimmest of times, but kept on plugging away, paving the path for this extraordinary bunch.

If Meath were playing in the Solheim Cup, they’d probably have birdied every hole. Leona didn’t quite manage that feat, but she did majestically fine in her Solheim debut, beating all before her in her opening contests.

“Give me a sense of your emotions, I want to know what goes on underneath the surface,” Sky’s Henni Koyack asked her, hoping that the Cavan woman would emote. She just shrugged in a this-is-what-I-do sort of way. Leona is, then, sort of the Eamonn Murray of sport. No drama, just win. A decent formula, that.

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