TV View: Groundhog day as Mayo resume their eternal quest

Men from the west the only ones standing between Dubs and their ol’ pal Sam

Well, we’ve been craving a return to normality all year, so for anyone complaining at the end of the weekend, it was a case of “be careful what you wish for”.

Dublin mullering opponents followed by a debate on the future of the game when there appears to be no end to the mullerings. And Mayo yet again the only ones standing between the Dubs and their long-term relationship with Sam.

And the sheep of Mayo rolling their eyes at the prospect of being painted green and red for the fifth time in nine years and featuring in the quirky closing item on the RTÉ news.

Groundhog day, then. Although none of the contributors on RTÉ or Sky offered as ingenious a solution as the Monaghan GAA Supporters Club: “Can ye split Brian Fenton in two and give us half of him?”


That could do the trick, for Monaghan anyway, and the GAA Congress will no doubt consider the proposal next time around, but so downcast was Colm O’Rourke come full-time on Saturday, he suggested going the whole hog – not splitting Dublin in to two, but in to “three or four”.

Tomás Ó Sé wasn’t convinced that even that would fix things, possibly imagining a semi-final line-up of North Dublin v South Dublin and West Dublin v East Dublin.

“Analysing this game is pointless,” he said, “it was actually boring.”

That contrasted severely with his pre-match mood when he didn’t entirely dismiss Cavan’s hopes of the mother, father, aunty, uncle, niece and nephew of all upsets, it being 2020.

Dublin are like the grim reaper, when anyone comes here they put them away with brutal efficiency. They've created a monster

“Are they mad enough to think they can actually win today,” he asked himself. “Are they,” asked Joanne Cantwell. “I’d say they are,” he replied, “Cavan people are mad in general.”

A 15-point defeat in the end, though. There might even have been some folk bored enough to switch over for a glimpse of West Ham v Manchester United, only checking back occasionally to see by how much the Dubs had stretched their lead. This isn’t good.

“Dublin are like the grim reaper,” Colm sighed, reckoning the romance had been sucked out of 2020, “when anyone comes here, they put them away with brutal efficiency. They’ve created a monster.”

The fence

It’s at times like this that you feel a little alone on the fence, part swooning at the exquisite excellence of this Dublin team, part pining for a competitive championship. You’re allowed to have both the feels, although sometimes you’d think it’s written in the Constitution that you can only have the one.

And another set of dreams were crushed come Sunday, Tipp annihilated by Mayo, for whom Cillian O’Connor scored just the 4-9. Mind you, if the Tipp attack had displayed as much movement as the Elf dressed as Santa on the RTÉ set, they’d have converted the bulk of their copious goal chances.

Or were we hallucinating? Did an Elf dressed as Santa switch from Joanne, Cora Staunton, Pat Spillane and Ciarán Whelan’s podiums every time we had a wide shot? Or were those brekkie mushrooms magic?

No matter. By the end of the coverage, the fog made Joanne, Cora, Pat and Ciarán look like Haircut One Hundred appearing on Top of the Pops in 1981, smothered in dry ice. Tis odder things are getting.

“The silence around the kickers is so eerie, so weird, and then you look at the corner and you see a massive Christmas tree – with lights on it! Surreal!” We weren’t alone, then, in wondering if our mushrooms were magic, Donal Lenihan having the same feels during Ireland’s tussle with Scotland on Saturday.

“It’s been a nothing tournament,” said Stephen Ferris pre-match, evidently not receiving the memo that said “look, we know the Autumn Nations Cup is a nothing tournament, but as a pundit you are obliged to talk it up like it’s a Lions tour of New Zealand”. Colm, Pat and the lads have probably received similar memos (“Look, we know the football championship is as competitive as a lion versus a gazelle, but . . .”).

Our boys won, which would have ended 2020 on a high if Eddie O’Sullivan hadn’t described the visitors as “a bucket of steam”, thereby inserting a pin in our balloon of happiness. We need a vaccine against this class of joy-deflating. Or, at least, a magic mushroom.