As someone who grew up in one-channel TV land in the Ireland of the 1960s and ’70s, I find that memories of certain TV series have left an indelible mark on my mental hard drive. Remember the theme music from Hawaii-Five-O? Could have been yesterday, couldn’t it? Or all those doors that Don Adams had to get through each week at the start of Maxwell Smart? Spooky, isn’t it? While I was never an enormous fan of the 1970s cult classic The Incredible Hulk, it did have its moments, especially when the diffident Bill Bixby ends up getting the hump about something or other every week and then utters those immortal lines as he morphs into his shirt-shredding alter ego, Lou Ferrigno, and sets about doing some serious damage.
For some strange reason (perhaps my difficulty in following the commentrary on TG4), my mind kept wandering back to thoughts of Bill and Lou this afternoon as I watched Kerry uncharacteristically lose their way to Derry in the league final. Derry were seven points adrift of the Kingdom at one stage in the first half but stormed back to win by a comfortable four-point margin at the end. It was a great win for the Oak Leafers because, as we know to our cost, if you give the Kerrymen a head start, you normally don’t see the hoors for dust thereafter. However, having fallen behind to two stupidly conceded goals, Derry managed to make their more illustrious opponents cough up two equally dreadful green flags at the other end and, once they had regained parity and then took control of midfield, only one team was going to prevail.
Kerry looked distinctly bad-tempered today (how do all those O Ses managed to avoid red cards, by the way? Any one of the three of them could have walked today while the poor old Gooch was extremely unlucky to get his marching orders just before the end) and their mood will obviously not have been helped by the mortification felt at losing a national final. And to a Northern team too.
While some may start to bleat about the feet of clay exhibited by the Kingdom today, remember that it’s just April and also bear in mind that a number of their top stars were either ring-rusty or not on the field at all. And it was only the league. More importantly, perhaps, it’s worth remembering how the Kerrymen use the “hurt” they feel from defeats such as this to drive them onto ever-higher feats of performance a short while later. In this respect, Derry would be well advised to give the Green and Gold a wide berth over the course of the championship.
Paddy Crozier’s men may have come away with the silverware from Parnell Park this afternoon but, in the broader scheme of things, what happens in Parnell Park in April don’t count for Jack Shit. Croker is where the real issues are decided and where, when they’re stirred to anger, Kerry take out their frustrations on whatever poor sods happen to get in their way. (Like us, for example). After today, you can be sure that they’re angry and, like every other year, whoever gets in their way isn’t going to enjoy having to deal with Kerrymen roused to irascibility in this way. Oh bugger, here we go again …