Well, the League’s come and gone, Easter has gone the same way and, if it’s the GAA you’re depending on for your entertainment at the minute, you’re not exactly spoiled for choice. There’s the hurling, of course, (more on that in a bit) and the business end of the U21 championship, plus there’s club action on too so it’s not as if the place is devoid of any diversion. It’s just that you have to cast your net that bit wider right now.
A measure of how (a) how becalmed things are at the moment and (b) how far up its own hole the so-called national broadcaster is that the following occurred today. Marty Morrissey, standing in for Ryan Tubridy (pause and take in the import of that for a minute – out of the frying pan, into the fire, for sure) on RTÉ Radio 1, had an interview with the recently-retired Colm Cooper. During this he asked the Gooch about Joe Brolly’s asinine criticisms of him as a player that the grinning goon made the other day.
So far, so Marty. Then the geniuses in RTÉ, in their infinite wisdom, decided to run (on RTÉ) Cooper’s reply (made on RTÉ) to RTÉ pundit Joe Brolly’s criticisms of him (made on RTÉ) ON THEIR FUCKING SPORTS BULLETINS! Sorry for shouting there but … what the fucking fuck?
As I said, we’re all a bit in the doldrums right now and so in need of other distractions. Mine have come in the form of some proper cycling – that explains the photo above, by the way: the pedant in me never fails to chuckle as I pedal past it on the N2 – and finally getting to sink my fangs properly into Andrew Roberts’ utterly superb and rather long biography of Napoleon. Each to his own and all that.
If you’re on the lookout for some Green and Red action, though, there’s always the hurlers. After a disappointing run of games in the League this spring, JP Coen’s charges start their Christy Ring Cup campaign on Saturday with a difficult home tie against Kildare.
The Lilywhites are the hot favourites in this one – Paddy Power have them priced at 1/7 – but our lads’ cause will be helped greatly by the return to the hurling fold of Keith Higgins and Fergal Boland. Both players were ever-present for the footballers during the League but the break in big ball action enables them to make a welcome return to the hurling squad. Report on that in today’s Mayo News here (this also covers Joe Keane’s appointment to the senior backroom team in a coaching capacity).
On the flip-side for the hurlers, Kenny Feeney won’t be available to play on Saturday. According to the match preview in the Mayo News (paper and digital versions) he’s away in the States at present. The match throws in, by the way, on Saturday at 3pm in James Stephens Park, Ballina.
Finally, something completely different. We all know that John Cuffe has a way with words but he’s now taken this to a whole new level with the publication today of his first book. Inside the Monkey House is a no-holds-barred account of John’s three decades as a prison officer and is published by Collins Press (priced at €12.99).
The book will be launched formally at St Peter’s GAA club in Dunboyne, on Friday week (28th April), throw-in 8pm. John is also planning to hold a separate launch event back on home soil, at Léim Siar guest house in Blacksod on May 13th, also at 8pm. I know you’ll join me in congratulating John on the book’s publication and wishing him all the very best with it.