Football Championship 2014.....

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  champers on Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:40 pm

Interesting match v Monaghan if they try to play football it could be very interesting as they have some good players that can play at speed,if they withdraw to a blanket defence i think Dublin will steam roll them as the game goes on.

After watching 4 games in croker the weekend they were played at a much slower slow pace to what the dubs play at just can't see a winner coming from that group,looking forward to seen donegal on saturday as i have not seen them and there defence sysyem in years

Funny how the purist love the football dublin have brought to the game,but at the end of the day if puck football was to beat the dubs,they would have a wry smile


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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:05 am

champers wrote:
Funny how the purist love the football dublin have brought to the game,but at the end of the day if puck football was to beat the dubs,they would have a wry smile


I didn't highlight the rest of your post because there was no need. Dublin excite me, they're great to watch, flowing football, tremendous athletes and a great selection base. This, of course, has been the case for generations and has been addressed by:

i) Physicalality and ability by Kerry in the 70/90's.
ii) Negativity and strategies by Tyrone/Donegal in the modern era.

I've seen about 55 finals either live or on TV. Upon reflection, possibly the greatest, for me, has been the Final of 82', as Kerry sought the Holy Grail. A final, on an horrible day, pitted the heirs to immortality against the un-yielding sons of Uí Fháilge....Matt and Richie Connor's finest day...

I met all the components of this great day (Offaly side, including Mick O'Dwyer) there a lock of months ago, at a funeral of a parishoner (Walsh Island) and fíór Gael Liz O'Loughlin...An occasion to realise our own mortality, what we can offer while we take, the ability to be a great neighbour, a confidant, an outlet as in "getting you out", a mother/friend/all round sound skin.....Liz was 54 but she'd put 104 into it...
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:57 am

Boxtyeater wrote:
i) Physicalality and ability by Kerry in the 70/90's.
ii) Negativity and strategies by Tyrone/Donegal in the modern era.

I've seen about 55 finals either live or on TV. Upon reflection, possibly the greatest, for me, has been the Final of 82', as Kerry sought the Holy Grail. A final, on an horrible day, pitted the heirs to immortality against the un-yielding sons of Uí Fháilge....Matt and Richie Connor's finest day...

55 finals seem to have taken their toll. The 80s was a dark era for football. It started with the worst final of all time between Kerry/Roscommon in 1980, while the 8 goal semi-final that year (also featuring Kerry) was so bad that it resulted in the handpass being banned. Then we went on through the dirty dozen in 1983, before finishing with the Meath/Cork wars. Brutal stuff the lot of it, and barely the same sport as, for instance, Tyrone/Kerry in the brilliant 2005 final.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:26 pm

Luckily Boxty's short term memory is better than his recollection of the ancient past.  Some interesting and salient points made on all games.  My own take on last weekend is as follows:

- Fair play to Grimley and McGeaney for doing so much with so little.  Before this game, they even lost their captain, but still managed to win comfortably.  Armagh are fit and organised and have a couple of good, young midfielders.  Still, they'll need more from their star forward if they are to progress further.

- Meath disappointed.  Again.  Loyal2theroyal will be better placed to explain the reasons, but they don't really seem to have improved at all in the last 12 months.  They have some very good players and others with potential to develop but, on the other hand, they've plenty of passengers, and we've seen the best of Stephen Bray.  For all the optimism, they put in one good performance all year, and had a few shockers.

- Monaghan did well to guts out a win in tough conditions, especially on the back of such a disappointing Ulster final performance.  It's hard to see their efforts not taking a toll next week.  To make real progress in 2015, they'll need to add new blood in midfield and attack.  Oh, and if there is a less likeable footballer in Ireland than Kieron Hughes, I've yet to see him (though his brother would be close).

- As Boxty says, Kildare should have been good enough to win in extra time.  They had more options on the bench than Monaghan, yet seemed to lose their shape.  Kildare are fine when moving quickly, but they lose their way if you can hold them up and make them go sideways.  Their main goal must now be to keep their young players out of the clutches of Tadgh Kennelly, while trying to find a more established team for 2015.  Too many changes throughout thie last couple of years to become consistent.

- Galway have some talent, but they are also flakey.  Kerry were there for the taking with 15 minutes to go, but Galway never really believed that they could push on.  I agree about Finian Hanley having a nightmare, and he wasn't alone in the fullback line.  Finding 3 new defenders, and a ballwinner up front should be top of their agenda for the off season.  And a bit of belief wouldn't go amiss either.

- Kerry won on reputation alone.  Galway stood back and admired them for most of the game, allowing James O'Donoghue to show just how good he is.  I'll not go as far as Martin McHugh did, but I will say that O'Donoghue is one of the top 3-4 forwards in ireland just now.  Given Mayo's power around the middile of the field, Bryan Sheehan's fitness could be key for the semi.  The Kerry full-back line is also there to be roasted, but Mayo lack the inside forwards to do it.

- James Horan continues to get a lot right, but a lot wrong too.  Cunniffe should always be first choice for a marking job while, by comparison, Barrett is very limited.  As for their leaky defence, I actually think it is because Mayo are playing a more attacking game in an attempt to compensate for a limited forward line.  Alan Dillion and Andy Moran should only be playing 70 minutes between them at this stage in their careers, while Alan Freeman is a shadow of what he was 12 months ago.  On the plus side, the O'Sheas are both fine footballers, and it's hard to believe that many on this forum still doubt the outstanding Aidan.  Also, their opening 15 minutes of the second half was awesome, and only the Dubs can dominate other top sides like that.  If Mayo had converted one of their goal chances in that period, Cork would have folded.

- Cork are a better side now than they were a month ago.  Perhaps by chance, Cuthbert has hit on a system, and I suspect that they would have continued to improve if they had secured a draw at the death.  They've a lot of decent young lads (Damien Cahalane isn't one of them), and should push on in 2015.

- It's hard to believe that any sport has worse referees than the GAA.  Their ability to make mistakes and/or ignore the rulebook is staggering.  I'd be in favour of adding a second ref for intercounty, and also paying them.  They are too poor to be endured.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  patk on Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:37 pm

Great result for us at the weekend in awful conditions. For a team that prides itself on it's defensive solidity, the first half was a shambles. Obviously the weather didn't help with the slippy ball(most notably for Kildare's second goal), but to be opened up like that so easily was very poor and a repeat performance this Saturday will see the contest over very early. Given that we concede so few goals, to let in two in half an hour was a fair shock, but luckily the lads dug in and kept in touch. We started the second half well and Vinny's brilliant goal sent us ahead. I thought we'd see the game out from there but Kildare never gave up either. We just seemed to have that bit more in extra time to secure the win.

Some players really stood up when needed. McGuinness rewarded O'Rourke's faith in starting him with a crucial scoring return. He's probably the most ruthless player we have in going for a goal, in that kind of game that was vital. McCarron's cameo off the bench was encouraging, a huge point and a key role in the 2nd goal, it's a bit of a mystery why he's been used so sparingly since the league given his obvious talent. It was a great sight to see Drew Wylie racing forward in the last few minutes to score a great insurance point, his first championship score. And another massive performance from Dessie, the heartbeat of this Monaghan side.

Of course there's loads that can be improved upon, and which will have to be for us to even trouble the Dubs this Saturday. If Kildare had a decent left-footed freetaker they'd have won, and if O'Callaghan had taken that goal chance when they were on top it may have been too much for us to come back from. But I suppose we took the chances we had to, and thankfully we go on. It's another poor record gone for us also with our first championship win in Croke Park for decades. Regardless of what happens this weekend it's been another good championship despite the Ulster final. Another promotion, a few good championship wins and a good level of youth introduced. Agree with TC that we need new blood in midfield and attack. I think we might be ok in that regard up front, as I'd expect McCarron to play a much bigger role and a couple of last year's minor forwards may come in, Conor McCarthy in particular is one to watch. But midfield is the big worry, as it has been for a while. Dick will be gone, and Lennon won't be far behind him, and when he goes we're in trouble. We have very little coming through though. Gavin Doogan is a good option but he's not a traditional, fielding midfielder in the mould of Lennon.

P.S. TC I can understand your dislike of Kieran Hughes to an extent, but what has Darren done? Kieran does have an awful petulant streak it has to be said, I thought he'd have cut that out from his game after the Tyrone game last year but it still remains. Maybe the media coverage of this incident will be the push he needs. He's a great talent so doesn't need to act like that. He gets his fair share of abuse on the pitch but that comes with the territory of being a forward at the top level. On a side note, the extended coverage that TSG gave this incident was a bit much in my opinion, it was as if they're encouraging a match ban for him. They don't highlight every niggly incident like this for 2-3 minutes.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:48 pm

patk wrote:
P.S. TC I can understand your dislike of Kieran Hughes to an extent, but what has Darren done?

Cut from the same cloth, albeit a bit craftier…



That's both of them taunting opponents after victories. (For fear of bias, I'll admit that our manager's behaviour after than game was just as bad.)
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  champers on Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:54 pm

It didn't look good for huges on the sunday game,he looked like a bully in the school yard

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  patk on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:02 pm

Yeah fair enough, I'd forgotten about that. Still wouldn't have said Darren would be "dislikeable", the reaction after the Tyrone game was an exception, whereas unfortunately you'd have more examples of Kieran acting out. There was alot of emotion after that Tyrone game. A tight game going to the wire, Darren feeling hard done by after the black card, the usual mouthing that does go on in these games, it all came to a head at the final whistle and I heard him say afterwards he regretted his reaction. It's not the first and won't be the last this craic goes on in Ulster unfortunately.

Oh and not to be pedantic, but it wasn't a victory yet but before extra-time that Kieran acted out against Kildare! Wink That makes it worse in a way, the game was still going and the ref could have shown him red if he felt it warranted it, and we'd have been rightly fecked for extra-time, especially when you consider Kieran set up the crucial goal.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:13 am

Looking forward to today's games, and in particular to see if Jamie Clarke can fire Armagh to victory. This is the biggest game that Clarke has ever played in for his county, and his form this summer has been just average. People have been telling me that he has been sacrificing his own game to make space for others, and is doing great work off the ball. Well, that isn't enough. Jamie Clarke is Armagh's star player, and he has to start scoring heavily from play. If he can weigh in with 1-6 or 2-4, his side have a real chance.

If he really is as good as advertised, it's time for Jamie to deliver.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:30 pm

Caught snatches of this on radio, a turgid affair from what I heard of it. Brolly, the tit, laughed off an "incident" where the team doctor got overturned while medicating to a player as "horseplay, par for the course. You's boys (Des Cahill and McStay in studio) would want to play up here" or words to that effect.

Dublin seem to have pulverised a tired Monaghan despite missing a hatful of goal chances. Dick Clerkin allegedly battled to the bitter end, good man Dick.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Gaa_lover on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:37 pm

Donegal v Armagh a good bruising encounter where Armagh were playing the better football before the Donegal goal gave them a foot hold in the game and in truth were rather lucky to be leading at the break. Second half it looked like Donegal would stroll to 3-5 point win but the Armagh goal out of the blue changed the pattern of the game and i think over the course of 70 minutes a draw would have been a fair result.

Dublin v Monaghan for the opening 20 minutes this game had the makings of good contest however Dublin's two goals in a few minutes opened the flood gates you could see at half time with the Monaghan body language that their goose was cooked. 2nd half a defensive system that Dublin had to break down was long gone and they kicked scores with ease with barely a hand laid on them. It was so comfortable that the Dubs could afford to miss a number of other goal chances.

Donegal are unlikely to topple the Dubs but surely they won't throw the towel in after 25mins like Monaghan today?

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  OMAR on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:55 pm

The positive is that Donegal managed to get over the line when a point down with 3 minutes to go.
But a lot of concerns. Armagh kicked 7 wides in the first 25 minutes 4 of them replicas of each other from 21 yards.
Also Armagh turned a scoreable free into a hop ball and twice made Donegal 40 metre frees into tap-overs through after the whistle indiscipline. I would also concede that Murphy and Mchugh each won a very soft free - so things could have much different
Durkan's kickouts were a disaster we won two of the first 12 and gave up a goal from a kickout to an armagh player 20 yards in space.
When Donegal did get in top they made some crazy shot selections - Neil Gallagher trying to kick a ball from 50 yards out the most striking along with McFadden shooting for gial from 30 metres - plus 4/5 various outside of the boot attempts all if which ended horribly.
Positives - full back line were solid - Murphy showed flashes - gallagher won a lot of ball in the second half - McBrearty got two big points when most needed.

Very little cause for optimisim looking at Dublins form - Seldom have I looked less forward to a fuxture. Its not just the scoreline prospects but I was close to the end of my tether at listening to Constant jingoistic moaning From dublin fans during todays game. If we lose im certain the victors wont be gracious.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:34 pm

OMAR wrote:
Very little cause for optimisim looking at Dublins form - Seldom have I looked less forward to a fuxture. Its not just the scoreline prospects but I was close to the end of my tether at listening to Constant jingoistic moaning From dublin fans during todays game. If we lose im certain the victors wont be gracious.

Dublin actually weren't that good yesterday.  They struggled for 25 minutes, and were very sloppy for the rest.  

However, the thought of a mentally sharper Dublin is probably of little comfort to you.  I share your pessimism.  I think that the talk of Donegal being back to 2012 levels is wishful/creative thinking by a media desperate for a challenger to sell to the public.  To my eyes, Donegal are not as crisp or sharp as they were 2 years ago, and they are also missing a couple of key players (notably Mark McHugh and the may-as-well-be gone Colm Anthony).  They have beaten very average sides up til now, and have rarely looked particularly good in doing so.

It's sport, and anything can happen.  Dublin may not be as good as some believe, and I do think that the biggest advantage that they've had over opponents thus far is speed and power (this advantage always lessens as the summer goes on).  Having said that, if Dublin are really dialled in, and if they get any sort of a good start, Donegal could experience something akin to the Mayo game last year.

(Oh, and I'd ignore their fans - given the population and resources at their disposal, their victory would be as impressive as Israel's in Gaza.)
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  champers on Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:14 pm

Ewan McKenna [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Fergus Connolly [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The Dubs are just having fun and playing the game the way it should be played a joy to watch.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  OMAR on Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:33 am

champers wrote:Ewan McKenna [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Fergus Connolly [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The Dubs are just having fun and playing the game the way it should be played a joy to watch.

The brand of football played over the past 15 months is indeed positive and It looks like it is A shoe in for all Ireland success but the analysis is somewhat myopic. Their gameplan was undone by the Genius of Gooch in 2013 until we saw one of the most cynical deliberated calls ever seen in Gaa to neutralise that problem.
Same as the Karl Lacey call in 2011. The white knights have dark arts. If I was Lacey or Murphy iI would increase my health cover
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:25 am

The biggest difference in Dublin and the rest is physical. It's not that they are more skillful than the other top sides, or that they are mentally or tactically better prepared - it is simply because they are faster, fitter and more powerful, and with those advantages comes space in which to play. Quite a few Dublin players have made huge improvements in the last couple of years, and I think it is down to them becoming more explosive. I know that all top intercounty sides prepare well, but Dublin seem to be producing stronger, faster athletes than everyone else.

Guys like Andrews, McManamon and O'Gara and even Flynn are in no way special when it comes to raw skills, but they have all become much faster and bigger in the last 2-3 years, and that is why they are able to power past opponents and, more often than not, kick scores under little pressure. Even Connolly has gone from a skillful but peripheral forward to a hulking brute of a man.

Until someone is able to match them in terms of power and speed, Dublin will continue to blitz opponents.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  champers on Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:24 pm

Thomas Clarke wrote:The biggest difference in Dublin and the rest is physical. It's not that they are more skillful than the other top sides, or that they are mentally or tactically better prepared - it is simply because they are faster, fitter and more powerful, and with those advantages comes space in which to play. Quite a few Dublin players have made huge improvements in the last couple of years, and I think it is down to them becoming more explosive. I know that all top intercounty sides prepare well, but Dublin seem to be producing stronger, faster athletes than everyone else.

Guys like Andrews, McManamon and O'Gara and even Flynn are in no way special when it comes to raw skills, but they have all become much faster and bigger in the last 2-3 years, and that is why they are able to power past opponents and, more often than not, kick scores under little pressure.  Even Connolly has gone from a skillful but peripheral forward to a hulking brute of a man.

Until someone is able to match them in terms of power and speed, Dublin will continue to blitz opponents.


The difference between dublin and say the 3 ulster sides that played saturday is that ulster have gone for pure bulls like body builders this is where you lose your speed


Dublin have more speed spend less time on the weights have core strenght and speed

The U21 players in the squad are only back full training 6 weeks

What gavin has shown is they have a tailored plan for each player alan brogan looks back to his best




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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:03 am

champers wrote:
The difference between dublin and say the 3 ulster sides that played saturday is that ulster have gone for pure bulls like body builders this is where you lose your speed

Dublin have more speed spend less time on the weights have core strenght and speed

I don't agree with .

Firstly, have a look at the builds of top 100m sprinters - they are basically glorifed bodybuilders. More time lifting the right weights leads to more speed.

And Dublin are more powerful than the Ulster sides. Paul Flynn is huge, as is Connolly, O'Carroll - most of them clearly have been fed a diet of weights for the last couple of years. Donegal are as big, but I'd doubt that they are more powerful.

I accept that Dublin may be a lot smarter when it comes to physical preparation, with a mix of experts, money and commitment all contributing.

I still hold to my point that Dublin's biggest advantage is physical. Speed and strength give you time and space on the ball, and it's a lot easier to kick scores when you have time & space. That's not to diminish what is an excellent side - just trying to point out where their advantage comes from, and how others need to change in order to catch up.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:07 am

champers wrote:
What gavin has shown is they have a tailored plan for each player alan brogan looks back to his best

I do agree with the need for tailored plans for players. I heard at the time that this was one of the reasons that led to the Gallagher/McGuinness split in Donegal - Gallagher supposedly favoured tailored training, while Jimmy preferred to keep the group together.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Gaa_lover on Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:30 am

Any views on the Mayo v Kerry semi final? Kerry named their team no Sheehan,Young,both O Sullivan's starting i presume a few late changes will be made.

Mayo team not selected yet but they will likely be sticking with the tried and trusted with up to 12 starters that lined out in AI semi final in 2011. A real crossroads game for this Mayo team the last time Mayo supporters were as confident of winning against Kerry was in 1997.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  champers on Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:05 am

gaa lover the way i see it is If kerry are to win it will be in the corners that will pave the victory,jod and geaney will just have to much for the mayo full back back line

maybe that is wishful thinking

but i hope not Twisted Evil 

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:03 pm

champers wrote:gaa lover the way i see it is If kerry are to win it will be in the corners that will pave the victory,jod and geaney will just have to  much for the mayo full back back line

maybe that is wishful thinking

but i hope not Twisted Evil 

Whatever about the 2 mentioned and the damage they done, the arxe fell out of Cafferkey altogether when Donaghy entered the fray. Horan was very slow there on the line, I'd have fired on Barry Moran to contest with him in the air.
Taking the natural introduction of Andy Moran for granted, Mayo haven't much on the bench. Freeman is having a crises of confidence, McLoughlin was running down blind alleys, Gibbons is hardly better than Barry Moran and Richie Feeney has disappeared into the ether. Conroy won't light many fires either.

A big ask for Mayo on Saturday....
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:08 pm

Shamelessly lifted from another forum.....

The Sour Grapes of Wrath

An Epic Tale of Gaelic Football Adventure in the Wild, Wild West


by John Maughanbeck

Once upon a time there was a family, the Joads, who lived on the Plain of the Yews, in the great state of Mayo. A harsh place, a barren place, but populated by resilient people, their lives shaped by the rocks and the stones that littered that plain. Life was tough for the people there, and for the Joads. But the people were stoic, learning to deal with the regular misfortunes that came their way.

Willie Joad, his son Billie Joad, and Ma Joad lived in a small house on the plain. Willie Joad was a farmer who worked the barren soil as best he could. A humble man, he worked every hour of the day that God would give him. He was a striking, handsome, man, with a moustache and a mane of hair as long as the ones on the odd wild horse that roamed around that plain. Willie Joad did his best for his family.

And then the great heatwave of '13 came, and the land could give no more. It shrunk, shrivelled, and eventually blew away, leaving just rocks and dust. September of '13 was the worst time. The weather forecast was set for rain. The people of the Plain waited expectedly. But the rain never came. That winter was tough. The local Super Valu could only provide so much.

The summer of '14 came, and the people could take no more.

One day, word spread of a far off land, three states away, a land of oppurtunity, a place called Limerick - the promised land. But the people didn't want to go to Limerick. They wanted to go to the even more promised land - a place called Dublin. But even without maps, they soon learned that the road to the even more promised land would have to go through Limerick.

"We have to go", said Willie Joad. "The journey will be tough, we may not even survive it, but we have no choice. Nothing remains for us here."

And so Willie Joad, Billie Joad and Ma Joad set out in their wagon across the plains. As they travelled, they soon realised that there were other wagons, thousands of wagons, as far as the eye could see, all going the same way, making the same journey. Five, six, maybe seven thousand wagons, most painted green and red, many of the occupants of the wagons shouting, screaming wildly and honking strange horns.

The wagons made their way to the one track that could bring them to the promised land - the N17. Willie Joad drove the wagon slowly but made good progress at first. Good God-fearing folk, the Joad family stopped at the holy shrine of Knock, to give thanks and praise for what they had and for what they might have. And most of all, for a safe journey.

The line of wagons was long and slow, but it kept winding its way down that N17, past the stone walls and the grass so green. The journey was going well so far. And then the plains ended, and the Joads crossed into the state of Galway. This was hostile country where the natives were restless, and didn't like the people of the Plain travelling through. The Joads got past the outpost of Tuam. But as he tried to turn left at Claregalway, Willie Joad could feel a lump in his throat. What is it, Pa? asked Billie Joad.

"Wagons", replied Willie Joad, choking, "thousands and thousands of wagons". The scene was like a battlefield. A crowd of natives had blocked the way. The green and red hordes ground to a halt.

Willie Joad could take no more. He got out of the wagon and collapsed from exhaustion. "Pa", shouted Billie Joad. "You gotta get up." Ma Joad held Billie Joad back. "It's OK, son."

But it wasn't OK. "You have to go on without me", said Willie Joad, lokiing up at his son. "I won't make it to Limerick. But you'll make it to Limerick one day, son". And with that Willie Joad breathed his last breath.

By now the natives had dispersed and the way was clear again for the green and red wagon train. Ma Joad drove the wagon.

As they passed Oranmore, Billie Joad cried. "Why did Pa have to die, Ma?" I thought you said you saw doctors. Could they not have helped him?"

"No, I was singing a song by the Saw Doctors", said Ma. "We have to go on." "But what about the sandwiches in the back? asked Billie Joad. "Oh yeah, I forgot about those. We'll stop later and eat them. But we have to go on now. We don't have much time. We're already late as it is."

They reached Clarinbridge, and again the way was blocked. "What is it?", Billie Joad asked Ma. "It's that oyster festival. We have to stop. I have to try some", said Ma.

Ma got out and walked as far as the weir, Moran's On The Weir. "A dozen large and a half bottle of chardonnay, please." As Ma feasted on the oysters, Billie Joad asked her for some of the water she was drinking. "I'm thirsty, Ma."

"This is not water, son", said Ma, who devoured her fourth oyster before forgetting to take the shell off the fifth. It was too late, The shell had stuck in her throat. As she turned blue, a shade of sky blue that brought back bad memories of the drought of September '13, Ma could just about spit out the words to her son. "Billie Joad, you have to go back to the wagon. You have to make it to Limerick." And with that Ma Joad breathed her last breath.

None of the natives could help. None of the natives wanted to help the suddenly orphaned Billie Joad. But he knew what he had to do. He had to make it to Limerick. This was more important than life or death. He raced back to the wagon. As he did he was followed by a friendly young man with a shock of blond hair who was also from the Plain. "Hey lad, any chance of a lift? I'm after losing me buds down in the pub there. I'm the Mini-Mort, by the way, but you can call me Conor."

"I suppose so", said Billie Joad.

"It's fuckin' mental, isn't it, all these wagons?", said Conor. "Hey lad, where's your Ma and Pa?"

"They're dead, they died on the way", said Billie Joe.

"Ah, sorry to hear that, lad. Fair play to ya, yer one hardy buck to shtill be headin' down. Have ya got a marker? Oh wait, I have one meshelf", said Conor, as he took out the marker, lifted up his green and red top and wrote "RIP Ma and Pa Jaod" on his white t-shirt underneath.

"We have to make for Limerick", said Billie Joad. "Right you are", said Conor. "Full shtame ahead for Limerick. Tish' good road from here on in."

Billie Joad and Conor passed into the state of Clare, where the natives had no particular quarrel with the people of the Plain. Billie Joad was learning fast. The wagon picked up speed. "Hand me those sandwiches from the back, Conor", he said to his passenger.

"Right you are. Oh great. Ham salad with avocado. And a bag 'a Tayto. Me favourite" exclaimed Conor with delight. "Get that down ya, horsh. Tish' alright if I have a couple too?"

And so they approached Limerick. But a few miles from the promised land, the red and green wagon train ground to a halt again. "Ah f**k it", said Conor. "We'll have to leave the wagon on the side of the road and walk."

Empty wagons lay strewn across the land as far as the eye could see as the people of the Plain took to their feet and advanced the last few miles. Balls of tinfoil, flasks, straw hats and empty Tayto bags littered the landscape. Billie Joad and Conor walked, walked for miles.

Then Conor ran. "Sorry lad, I see me buds over there drinkin'. Thanks for the lift. Shmell ya later." And with that Conor was gone.

Billie Joad was now alone, but he was not alone. He knew he was near. As he crossed the River Shannon, the dividing line into the state of Limerick, with his people, he knew he had done it. He knew he had reached the promised land.

Suddenly, in front of him, a wall of strange people emerged in front of him. He could hear their conversations. "Where are you from, darling? Oooooh? Mayo? Saaauuucccy!!!"

An old man with a weather beaten face, an anorak and a green and red scarf gave one of these strange people a kick, and grabbed a hold of Billie Joad. "Why did you kick that man?", asked Billie Joad. "That washn't a kick at all", said the man. "If yeh call that a fuckin' kick this country's in a worsh shtate than I thought. The place is gone shoft. But anyway. Keep away from them, lad. They're quare. You don't want to be associatin' with those people."

"But you're wearing a scarf?", said Billie Joad. "I thought only the quares wore scarves?^

"It's a fuckin matchday", replied the old man. "The resht of us are allowed wear one on matchdays."

"D'ya remember me?" said the man. I'm yer Uncle Sam from Kiltimagh. I'm Willie Joad's brother. I came down from Dublin on the train. Where's yer Ma and Willie Joad?"

"They're dead", said Billie Joad.

"Ah for f**k's sake", said Uncle Sam. "Typical. I fuckin' knew this would happen. And it's the fuckin' GAA's fault, the bashtards. This fuckin' match should have been played in Dublin. It's a fuckin' insult to us. Here, come on, ye're after walkin pasht the shtadium on the way in. 'Tish back the other way."

And so the green and red hordes descended on the Gaelic Grounds, despite all the people they had lost along the way. packed in tighter than the sandwiches Ma Joad had made that morning were packed in tinfoil.

Billie Joad could hear the people talking. He loved the atmosphere. His Ma and Pa were but a distant memory now. "Tish not a bad 'oul shtadium, sham, is it?" "Grand shpot, bosh. Better craic than at Croke Park, way better. I'm glad they played it here."

The teams took the pitch and the people of the Plain roared. Mayo scored, and scored again, and scored again and again, as they mauled the rival green and gold army. Billie Joad was ecstatic as his Uncle Sam raised him on his shoulders.

It had been a memorable day. Two dead parents, a discarded wagon, dehydrated, exhausted, but happy. The journey had been worth it for Billie Joad. The promised land had been reached, and he'd lived to tell the tale.

But the even more promised land lay somewhere over the rainbow. For now.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Gaa_lover on Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:39 pm

Kerry had not one but two chances to win that semi final by a point and I think it kinda shows how much Kerry are in transition that they couldn't close out the game with extra man and four point lead at half time. Dillon,Andy Moran are still major players for Mayo between them 0-5 from play. I think Donegal would have beaten both Kerry,Mayo if they faced them unfortunately for them they now face the best and the curtain will likely come down on their championship campaign this Sunday.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:21 pm

Gaa_lover wrote:Kerry had not one but two chances to win that semi final by a point and I think it kinda shows how much Kerry are in transition that they couldn't close out the game with extra man and four point lead at half time. Dillon,Andy Moran are still major players for Mayo

Valid points GL but despite the transition phase, Kerry's concept of the game remains steadfast - get it forward quickly. You'd have to give Fitzmaurice a lot of credit for the manner he's wrung the very last drop out of his veterans, Donaghy being the master-stroke last Sunday. They could ask Mayo harder questions in the confines of the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday. Mayo still lack the cutting edge forward - the man with the composure to find the right ball. Kerry don't have that deficiency.

In other news, this venue (Limerick) is causing the Mayo hoors no end of grief on another forum. Short of having it on Hook Head, these numptys are on the verge of conniptions (courtesy JS) about getting there.
Bear Grylls may be summoned yet, such is the angst...

In other news extra, I'm on the Lower Hogan on Sunday, row 328, much the same as last year. And to show how modern and hip I am, guess what, I'm attending Electric Picnic on Saturday in Stradbally. A Junior Boxty is lashing out a few choons (well, the band are) and the brother thinks I'm stone daft. He's hitting the Picnic with us (freebies X 4) and will manage to squeeze his not inconsiderable bulk into a pew in the Hogan on Sunday. Whatever they say about me, I can show visitors anything they want. As long as it suits me.

I've had a blinding 3 weeks, replete with the lynch-pins of rural Ireland, weddings (1) wakes (2) funerals (3) and mighty sessions from Rosses Point to Terry's in Monaghan town, the Briar Rose in Cork city to Jimmy's of Riverchapel in Wexford.** We fitted in Albert's funeral as well, being the staunch followers we are, a grand oul' day despite the rain. The Dauber and myself brought the house down with a bit of mischievery in the Ashling Hotel in the evening.

The country and it's people may be on their knees, but as the brother says "The aul' lad wudda been proud of you Boxty, no Boxty ever gave an inch"..Sad in a way, in the midst of all this revelry and horsing about, his 10th. anniversary occurred on Aug. 22nd. But in my own way, while having no direct involvement, I orchestrated the wedding to ensure the bro was here for the anniversary....We had 2 Jemmys each.....

** We have accommodation/relations, of 1 sort or the other, complimentary across the nation - lest you think we're on a jolly of some sort...
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

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