Archive for the ‘Down’ Category

Mayo 5-29 Down 2-3

Posted: August 7, 2012 in Down, Mayo
Tags: , , , , , ,

There is a time when you have to naval gaze. It seems that when the Gods decide to do their business on me, they do it from a great height. It’s like a triple whammy of a speeding fine followed by a clamping and then having to go to dinner with the mother in law, all in the one day. I was over Antrim. I’d forgotten Tipp. Now, Down had won my affections like nothing before. Puffed with confidence, an array of heroes and the fearsome red and black – how could you not fall for their charms. What’d they do? They completely capitulated to Mayo, a team the experts tell me perform equivalently to England at a major championship after walking the qualification tournament. I liked Mayo. They had a lovely accent and approach to life, like as if everything was a surprise. I witnessed a father buy a son (in Mayo colours) a packet of crisps. The young fellow reacted like he’d been offered the keys to a Lego factory. I’m going to do them a favour and not weigh in behind their cause. They don’t deserve my curse. But…I hope…..

Mayo child loved getting McCoys

It all started so well. Down ran onto the field as the stadium shuddered under the pressure their legendary tree-trunk thighs. Mayo, on the other hand, meekly made their way to the photographers’ bench apparently amazed that they were invited to the whole shebang. I remembered the boy with the crisps and it’s just their way. I saw one of the Mayo forwards smile heartily when he picked up one of the balls thrown towards him, as if he wasn’t expecting one. It does the heart good to watch these Connacht men simply live. I can just imagine them waking up in their beds every morning and shrieking in delight when they look down and it dawns on them that they have hands. I lovely bunch but back to the game.

Mayo man uses phone and laptop for first time.

It was tit-for-tat at the start as goals rained down. Mayo would show their hand, only for Down to trump it. Suddenly, something happened. You know when sometimes you look at a word that you’ve read and written thousands of times in the past and all of a sudden it seems strange to you. The word ‘the’ does it to me often. Even now. Anyway, it suddenly dawned on Down that they couldn’t defend. It completely escaped them. Mayo ran at will like the England rugby blitzing the first year hockey side at a convent sports day. It was hard to watch. Mayo piled on the scores. The Down keeper left the field at half time pushed in a wheelchair such was the pain in his right thigh from kicking out the ball repeatedly for 20 minutes. The upside is that he has a massive right thigh this week and he should put that to good use by entering hopping competitions or something.

Down Keeper used both legs

I don’t know what the Down manager said at half time but it didn’t work. In fact, it got worse. Maybe he told them to give up. The Mayo players were initially slightly amazed that they were allowed to play another half but soon settled down to settle Down. The crowd soon became disinterested in the one way traffic and I could see over in the Hogan Stand a Mayo priest celebrating Mass with about 2000 dedicated followers. In the Cusack a section of Clonduff parishioners were apparently having a heated debate on the bother in Syria with applause ringing out for well-reasoned orations. You have to give it to the Irish. They will find something to do in the face of abject boredom. And that’s what was being dished out on the field. The one-way traffic was so mesmerising I imagined there were 3-4 balls on the field making their way over the black spot above the head of the Down keeper.

Bored Mayo fans celebrate Mass

In the last few minutes one of the Down stars, Benny Hill, scored a Messi-esque goal taking it around 12 Mayo players and slamming it into the top corner. True to form, the Mayo defenders cheered in amazement. The referee put us out of our misery and ended the debates and ecumenical happenings. Mayo go on to play Dublin. I wish them well but, as I said before, I won’t jinx those fine breed of people.

As for me, I’ll throw my lot behind Donegal. I’m sorry Mr McGuinness.

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That’s like a second family loss in a week. Having finally got over the elimination of my dearly beloved Antrim last week, I’ve now gone and lost her all over again as Tom Hanks said in Cast Away. Tipp were starting to feel like a second home. I’d watched them go toe-to-toe with Antrim twice and now they’ve been put out to graze for the rest of the year by the mighty men from Down. I didn’t shed a tear but it was a sad farewell to that famous war song. Antrim have wafted from my heart.

Yet, I may be in love again. Down. It’s a defeatist name but boy do they play out the oxymoron value here. There’s nothing down about Down. It’s like calling Messi, Lionel Dowie. There’s nothing Iain-ish about the little Argentinean magician. When I experienced that black and red burst on to the field for the first time, their chests puffed like a thousand big puffy things, I knew I’d found the one. I’m sorry, Antrim. You’re cold in the grave and I’m courting the blond buxom bimbo from two doors down. Cold but clinical. I can’t resist. I’m a Durham man and there’s something regal about the men from Down. Something Cromwellian.

Down. Definitely not Dowie.

A look through the team sheet and you could not be anything but impressed. Flash Gordon. Flash effing Gordon. If ever I experienced manlove it was then. He lined out at full back but it was full frontal I was imagining. I make no apology for saying that. I’m sorry but it stirred something in me I never thought I’d possess in the company of men only. That was something else I tell you. Like a re-awakening. He ran the show. A man mountain with lava spewing from his nostrils. Add to that, wait for it, Buck Rogers. BUCK bloody ROGERS! The man lorded it in midfield and won the hearts of a nation. Never did one man do anything so mindnumblingly complete as Buck did last weekend. At one stage he leapt like the proverbial salmon. All scaly and fishy but metres into the air. He was the Maradona against Shilton.

Down midfielder Rogers.

The main man seemed to be Benny Hill, a rotund, comical looking figure but lethal finisher, a bit in the mould of Mick Quinn or Gazza at the end of his career. He scored 1-10 without breaking sweat. I’m sure when he came out for the second half he had mayonnaise down the front of his jersey and seemed to be picking stuff from his teeth with a toothpick. He showed Tipp no respect and why should he. A turkey shoot with big 20 foot turkeys in a small cup. It appeared to me that, such is his genius, the management turn a blind eye to his KFC half-time tradition. They also have a couple of men under 4 foot in attack under the names of Laverty and Poland. They’re like two magically talented oompa Loompas. They’d run under the legs of the Tipp defenders singing little inky ditties.

Poland, Laverty and wee James.

Down won well, the players ole-ing the last few minutes amongst themselves. I’d never seen that before.

It’s early days but I’m off to see them play Mayo, a team that’ll surely put the hunger again in young Hill.