Monday, February 22, 2010


Aontroim beat Sligo in a cracking game in Casement a fortnight ago and although they kept us hanging on until the final whistle before the victory was sealed this blog went home happy and vindicated by the success of our senior footballers.

Then not long after that came news of the win against Cabhán.

Two in a row!

What bliss. Long journeys home after defeat after defeat after defeat. For years and years and years. Then to add to my glee there came news of Doire’s dismal display.

In a totally non-partisan, non-triumphalistic and absolutely comradely way, I dropped a suitably comforting text to my leader, the deputy First Minister. His answer was illuminating.

‘Too many injuries, the grass was too long, the cows were in the wrong corner of the fields around Swatragh and the away jersey doesn’t work. But all will be sorted come the Championship.’

Scéal about Tír Éoghain going down to Maigh Eo prompted another one of my consoling texts to Mark McLarnon, an occasional Tír Eoghain man and a well-known dart thrower. His response was curt but no less entertaining.

‘Early days yet,’ he texted ‘ye Antrim people can book your summer holidays in August. The problem for us Tyrone ones is that we have to keep our summers free. Right up till September.’

Then on Sunday last on a bitterly cold day in Casement our senior hurlers saw off a hard-working Carlow side. Both sides made hard work of it but a win is a win is a win. After the umpteenth wide the two elders standing behind me commented on the unfortunate mispucking Carlow player.

‘I wonder what is going through Mark’s head at the minute?’ one of them

‘Don’t know’ his friend said ‘but there’s plenty of space’

Hurlers on the ditch often have a way with words. A wee book, The GAA,
Fun and Games by John Scally, published by Wolfhound Press contains many
of these fine words. From Joe Brolly as well as Pat Spillane, Ger
Loughnane and many many others.

Here are some gems, Pat Spillane first.

‘The first half was even. The second half was even worse’.

‘My mother has arthritis but even she has more pace than the Armagh
full-back line.’

Ger Loughnane,

‘I’m not giving away any secrets like that to Tipp. If I had my way, I
wouldn’t even tell them the time of the throw-in.’

‘He had a photographic memory which never developed.’

Joe Brolly.

‘Several of those players out there today aren’t even the cousin of a
county player.’

‘Geoffrey McConigle has an arse like two bags of cement.’

John O Mahoney, ‘Good ball is when we have it. Bad ball is when the other
side have it.’

Mickey Harte ‘We had to work very hard for this – it took 119 years for us
to get it.’

Liam Griffin,’ He had an eternity to play that ball, but he took too long.’

Jimmy Deane, ‘Hurling and sex are the only two things you can enjoy
without being good at it’.

Colm O Rourke, ‘Benny Coulter has a left foot in the wrong place’.

DJ Carey, ‘If a team scores early on: it often takes an early lead.’

Henry Shefflin,‘I am a firm believer that you have to score more than the
other team if you want to win.’

And to finish…. some anonymous bits and pieces.

‘Even the McKennas don’t go to the McKenna Cup.’

‘Kerry would have won if Meath hadn’t turned up.’

‘Avoid excitement. Watch the Dubs!.

‘Ref!! you cudn’t see a foul in a henhouse.’

So there you are. Just to show there is more to life than meets the eye.
Or as Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh put it in one of his magical commentaries,

‘…and Brian Dooher is down injured. And while he is down I’ll tell ye a little story. I was in Times Square in New York last week, and I was missing the Championship back home and I said “I suppose ye wouldn’t have The Kerryman would ye?” To which, the Egyptian behind the counter turned to me and he said,’ Do you want the North Kerry edition or the South Kerry edition?’.. he had both …. so I bought both. Dooher is back on his feet”.


Eoin McGarrity said...

Book your summer holiday Gerry, you won't need to worry about any trips to Dublin.
However, us Tyrone folk will have to miss out on another summer, and the 3 weeks of September.

Linda Coleman said...

I love this comment: "Geoffrey McConigle has an arse like two bags of cement."

It could be a compliment or an insult, depending on the sport.

In weightlifting, for instance, having a butt like cement could be...dare I say it...quite an asset. :)

But for a sport requiring speed and agility, the last thing you want back there is two bags of cement!

Timothy Dougherty said...

thanks Gerry I did get a great laugh out this post. Sports comments are so authenticated, that is the real way people do talk.No thing celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship, than the way people talk about it.A medium to spread the message of unity and peace. An ambitious sports persons faces the ultimate test of performance. What makeswinners achieve their goals? How does their passion fuel them to scale new heights? The answer to these questions can be found withinthe most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself.
Thanks Gerry good post, I wish I had been in London for the Unity Conference , looks like it was good and had a good review on Twitter .

Anonymous said...

Gerry, To be critical,
Sinn Fein have become very predictable over this last number of years be it Commerorative Gardens, Marches and Campaigns etc to keep the Troops mobilised so to speak which i find very smart and understandable. However i think that this tank has now run dry.Martin spoke in Tyrone recently about the sacrafices that had been made by dead voluteers , he said it was for change and equality, but it was for more than this Gerry, it was for a United Ireland, people joined the IRA for a United Ireland Gerry, not to have the right to compromise our beliefs and ideals without loosing face about it. But sure its very easy to e critical of people when you could not stand upto the measure of the people that you are critisising, but sure thats life.A clearer image on Westminister expenses and activities as well as more transparency over Community takeovers and jobs for the boys would help to restore some much needed credibility as the dogs in the street know the crack. I myself now know former republicans who would just as soon as vote SDLP as Sinn Fein.So Gerry , On a brighter note, going by what happened last night in Newry, All is not lost, Shake all the elected Clanns up as they must be accountable, apart from Alex ive never seen some many conveyoer belt politicians coming out of the one family as the Maskeys.
Good Luck A Chara Paddy

Micheal said...

Very funny, yes, I'll have to look out for that book, GAA fun and games.

Well done on your victory over Sligo. I'm sue Antroim will only go from strength to strength, so you will enjoy many more victories following your team.

It's the taking part that makes everyone a winner, in my book, but, I know what you mean. It is nice to win and it can be very unpleasant to lose.

Loss of any kind can be a very difficult thing to deal with, particularly depending on the psychological place the person that has to deal with it is in.

The Irish Unity Conference, held in London on Saturday, was an excellent event. The speakers were top class. The questions from the floor were also of a very high quality. There was widespread Trades Union participation.

The seminars were, by all accounts I've heard, interesting and constructive.(I attended the one on building a dialogue with Unionism).

Pat Doherty provided solid leadership to the opening plenary and Conor Murphy brought things to a conclusion with great aplomb and good humour.

It's a pity you couldn't come, but, I very much respect your decision to remain with your wife at this difficult time due to personal reasons.