Spillane ruined the moment by reminding Joe that ‘Cuba never played Gaelic football’

Joe was struggling to let ‘Croke-Park- Unavailable’ bygones be bygones

Well, good heavens.

As if Saturday wasn’t gobsmacking enough (prompting an English man on the Twitter machine to instruct his friends: “Get yourself on Sky Sports 4 now and watch a mix of rugby, football and cage fighting — this s**t is unbelievable”), along came Sunday. Colm O’Rourke declared himself to be happy to be alive, otherwise he’d have missed it all, and that was as good a reason as any to carry on breathing.

Kerry and Mayo might have been the Garth Brooks of Gaelic Football on Saturday – Croke Park but a distant dream – and as Darragh O'Sé said on Sky, "no player ever dreamt of playing a All-Ireland semi-final in Limerick", which was rude – but it didn't prevent the pair of them producing a game that would have had you drooling all over your remote control.

Meanwhile, earlier in Croke Park. The ESPN man: “This place can seat 82,000 for sawker!” As if the hurt wasn’t deep enough, like.


Penn State and University College Florida, it was. Some of our best friends are American Football fans, so we'll say nothing. Except: Gawd.

There was a highlight, though, apart from the feature on road bowling when Kenny Mayne wondered if the participants needed subtitles (at least, that seemed to be what Kenny said – hard to tell), it being Kenny’s half-time chat with Dough-naal Ogg Q-sack, who he introduced as “the Michael Jordan of Irish hurling”.

Dough-nal Ogg chuckled to himself, but was nowhere near impolite enough to tell Kenny he was talking s***e, instead getting on with the task of explaining hurling to him. And, predictably enough, he had his work cut out. “They’re using a slidder,” asked Kenny. “They are, yeah,” said Dough-nal Ogg, while correcting his American friend when he described hurleys as weapons.

Apart from that, that was it.

On to Limerick.

Michael Lyster wanted to let 'Croke-Park-Unavailable' bygones be bygones and Joe Brolly agreed, until Michael suggested there might be another replay when they finished all square at full-time and that it would, indeed, be in Croke Park. "UNLESS THERE'S A McDONALDS FUN DAY OR SOMETHING!!!!!!" Joe was struggling to let it go.

Pre-match, though, he was more focused on The Clash, which had Alan Mulholland and Colm exchanging puzzled glances, "Mayo have a keeper who's like that 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now' song – if I stay there will be trouble, if I go there will be double". Lee Keegan, of course, had fought the law and Lee Keegan had won, so that convinced the panel that Mayo had half a chance, but by half-time they were less sure, Joe noting that their "fullback line is about as composed as Fr Dougal saying mass".

Tied, then, at full-time, Michael swooning at the very marvelous spectacle, doffing his cap to the “fantastic atmosphere” in Limerick, which Joe took as him “soft-soaping” and condoning American Football evicting Kerry and Mayo from Croke Park and…. “DID I SAY THAT?!”

Extra time and Kerry were Kerry, which meant they won. Joe, overflowing with compassion, offered Mayo a shoulder to cry on. “You get what you deserve.”

On to Dublin v Donegal and you wondered if the men of Tir Conaill would even show up, the bookies having priced Dublin at 10-1 on. "I mean, that's like Arkle," said Colm, but he wasn't entirely ruling out a Foinavon, and neither was Joe, mentioning the mural on the rock outside Glenties that depicts Jim McGuinness as Che Guevara. And then he quoted Che, Pat Spillane completely ruining the moment by reminding Joe that "Cuba never played Gaelic football".

Some time later.

Darragh Maloney: “How big a shock is this??”

Martin Carney: “Seismic.”

It was too. Earth-shattering. As Che once put it. “the revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe – you have to make it fall.” And Dublin were well and truly crumbled by Donegal. Che Jimmy’s winning matches. All over again.