Monday, September 8, 2014

Flashing, cutlets, Baileys (no ice!) and another day

When you start the morning by inadvertently flashing your manhood to your long-suffering mother, the day can only get better, right? When the same woman has been sitting on a deckchair outside your apartment since early morning, waiting for you and your pregnant wife to surface, laden down with all the necessary fry-up components (minus eggs!) and bedecked in the blue and gold of Tipperary you begin to wonder are you dreaming. When you get over the shock of it all and try to decipher who got the bigger fright, you realise that the spoils were shared, much like they were nearly eight hours later in the cauldron that is Croke Park.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tipperary: Sort your shorts and pull your socks up

It’s the little things, isn’t it? The finer details. The small print. As Tipperary took to Tom Semple’s field on the first Sunday in June I noticed (being a man of some considerable style!) that a mishmash of shorts were the order of the day. Why? As the game progressed socks replaced shorts in my thoughts with Tipperary’s alarming inability to pull them up when the going got tough a source of huge frustration. Why?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dermot Earley. Army man.

As recently as a few Sundays ago I heard it said. I was remarking that Eoin Larkin's legs looked a little lacking in condition when his wasp-like socks were pulled up. My father nodded, agreed and then he said it. Army man. Then I said it, quietly, under my breath. My earliest recollection of it ever being said was in reference to former Dublin captain Tommy Carr. What does it mean though? And is my old man the only one who utters it?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mine's a McGuinness

Gerrard and Rafael traded blows earlier in the day but it was Murphy who produced the real moment to remember, a blow of his own, a killer blow to the men from the west, not his first and certainly not his last. After gathering a long ball, yes a long ball, from Lacey and easily shrugging off the challenge of Keane, the only man to mimic Molloy smashed the ball past motionless Clarke. No need for formalities here. Surnames will do. Here's another. McGuinness. 

I was just a teenager when Molloy walked up the steps of the Hogan for the first time. Dublin hadn't been football's top dogs for nearly a decade but hunger is a great sauce and McEniff's men were not to be denied their first moment in the sun. Yesterday, they repeated the trick. The link? McGuinness. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hurling was my world and the hurling world was my oyster

He probably doesn't remember it but William Maher stood beside me at early mass. Taller than me, he always was, and let's face it, always will be. Nearly 20 years ago it was normal for mass to be taken of a Sunday morning. Even lads of our age were familiar with the insides of chapels, churches or in my case, cathedrals. I was from Thurles you see, 'The Cathedral Town' and was at mass to ask God to help me, the taller Maher and the entire, assembled Tipperary ensemble in any way he could in that afternoon's final of the unofficial All-Ireland U14 championship, the Tony Forristal Tournament to those in the know. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It came and went 'the promised land'

In last Friday's Evening Herald, Liam Hayes, who the author Kevin Doyle referred to as 'once a giant of Meath football', is quoted as saying that Dublin are heading for a 'bad ending' and that their manager Pat Gilroy 'had gone soft' and 'finished his job a year early'. 

Hayes has never been backward about coming forward and is known in media circles for being controversial for the sake of being controversial. However, on the first Sunday in September his premonition came to pass, and how. The 'bad ending' materialised, Dublin's limitations were alarmingly exposed and Gilroy's men had a 'job' done on them - by Mayo, again.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shit love ma x

Taking the turn from Mountjoy Square on to Gardiner Street was my next task. Then I heard it. I felt it. A vibration. A small beep. I pulled my phone from my pocket. The message was from my mother, or 'Me Ma' as she is listed. I'd only talked to her, half hoarse, heart beating quicker than it should have been less than an hour earlier. Just before I did I used the phrase 'hurling heaven' in a tweet. 

To say proceedings took a turn for the worse when the age old rivals returned for battle would be an understatement. An understatement of an understatement. I still hadn't negotiated the turn. Something needed to be written about what I had just witnessed. What would I call it? I read the message from the woman who gave me life. Three words and a letter I'm all too familiar with. 'Shit love ma x'. That'll do.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tip your hat to the man from the top of the road

The much-hyped London Olympics is nearly upon us and the man on which most of the media attention will be focused is confident he can live up to his billing. 'The Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt' is how Wikipedia title him. To us mere mortals he's just plain old Usain Bolt. From humble beginnings in Kingston, Bolt is, as we speak, a five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medallist and without question the man to beat over the shorter distances at major championships. 

Bolt's done it all in his chosen field to date but there's more to come surely?!? 'If I'm in great shape nobody will beat me in London', the 25-year-old, in typically confident mood, proclaimed recently. Records are sure to fall, Bolt will seriously threaten a number of them, perhaps shatter them. However, there's one record Bolt is unaware of, a record that will be broken by a man, far from the glitz and glam of Stratford. That record will be broken where glitz and glam are in short supply, the Gaelic Grounds on the road out of Limerick city, heading for Ennis.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


It was always 'around the next corner'. Always 'just on another bit'. We were always 'nearly there'. Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the spiritual home of the ancient game in the People's Republic of Cork, or just Cork, as it's more commonly referred to. I'd need more than one pair of hands to count the amount of times I've attended matches there. Always the same atmosphere. Always the same tingle. Always memorable. Always.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Who needs Ó Muircheartaigh anyway?

The news that David Nalbandian had been defaulted from the Queen's club final mustn't have been relayed to Martin Kiely on Sunday afternoon. If it had he would have surely mentioned it. Very little wasn't mentioned during his radio commentary of what was a pulsating Munster hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. From German chancellor Angela Merkel to chickens scrapping for bits of bread to diving at the European Championships, Kiely covered it. Maybe co-commentator and well-known tennis lover Ken Hogan (that's pure fiction there) kept the information to himself? Perhaps the former Tipperary netminder Sky Plus-ed it, or is it Sky+ed? Not important.