It was billed as Messi’s day – but another ‘Special M’ claimed the limelight early on Saturday with an intervention straight from the world of boyhood dreams. What a sporting moment it was, courtesy of Micheal Kelly.
I’m not sure if a reporter or a friend or even a voice in Micheal’s head said the following to him in the days leading up to Saturday’s Nicky Rackard Cup Final, but most of us have imagined a scenario something like this at some point in our lives…
‘So Micheal, Roscommon are playing in a national final in Croke Park. You are the captain. Time is up…the seventy minutes have elapsed and the one minute of injury-time has elapsed. You are trailing by two points. You’re awarded a free from about twenty metres out. Your opponents fill the goal with men. You strike an unstoppable shot past everyone, high into the net, and seconds later the referee blows the final whistle. Roscommon win by a point and you collect the cup in the stand.’
It is, as I say, the stuff of boyhood dreams. It’s no longer a dream. It did happen. Roscommon trailed hot favourites Armagh by two points after 71 minutes of today’s Nicky Rackard Cup Final. Roscommon, at one stage five behind and having had a man sent off, were heroic.
Kelly lines up the free. Kelly lofts the sliothar into the air. Time stops still. It is his Roy of the Rovers moment. It’s his Special M moment on the very day that Messi is (again) in the world spotlight. It’s Micheal’s boyhood dreams paused. Then the strike, which looks more fabulous every time you see it.
For Micheal Kelly, you could say that it was the moment when hurling and history and hope all rhymed. And well done to the entire panel and management and ‘backroom’ folk; it was a victory secured by skill and courage, and a welcome boost for Roscommon hurling.
(In ‘other news’, Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 3-1 win over Juventus in an entertaining Champions League Cup Final).
In the ‘LIFE’ magazine in the Sunday Independent, they’ve asked ‘Ireland’s best known people’ what the secret to happiness is. ‘Ireland’s best known people, from Bertie Ahern to Chris de Burg’ is the slightly less than appetising cover headline.
I had a quick look, and was stunned to discover that Miriam O’Callaghan wasn’t amongst those interviewed. Cue a serious fall in happiness levels all over the country, one assumes.
Still, all wasn’t lost: Imagine my relief when I found that Gerald Kean, Lucinda Creighton, Rosanna Davison and Mary O’Rourke had been included amongst the contributors.
We’re used to seeing the odd television and assorted items appearing in drains near where we live, as people persist with littering our otherwise beautiful countryside.
This morning, at Casey’s roundabout at ‘round about’ 9.20 am, there suddenly emerged from the car in front of me a bag of crisps (Hunky Dorys, no less) which was brazenly dumped on to the road.
Yes, a half-full bag of Hunky Dorys, its contents spewing all over the place, flung from a moving car on a sunny morning at a roundabout in Roscommon town – in full view of other motorists.
By the way, the Tidy Towns judges are due to visit in June and/or July.
Perhaps this less than ‘hunky dory’ motorist had just decided to start a diet at that very moment. As in ‘It’s Monday morning, I’m starting today!’ But they could at least have waited until they got home…
Cute hoorism has not been completely banished from the land. In decades gone by, it was to be found in every town and village in Ireland, and in every walk of life.
Then cute hoorism was outed and attempts were made to remove it from Irish society. Initially it looked like this process had been a significant success, but we were only fooling ourselves.
It turns out that cute hoorism, like golden circles, is extremely difficult to completely eradicate.
Over the past week or so, the FAI boss John Delaney’s conduct has reminded us that cute hoorism is alive and well. I didn’t hear his interview with Ray D’Arcy at the time, but Delaney had already been grating on me in the days after the FIFA scandal broke.
Delaney was popping up in the papers virtually every day, invariably with a righteous perspective on the FIFA story. It was becoming tedious; then the ‘€5m payment to the FAI’ story broke.
Now one can argue for or against the €5m payment, but what many people are increasingly feeling uncomfortable with when it comes to Delaney is his demeanour, how he conducts himself.
He may be a really nice man, but too often his behaviour lacks the dignity one would associate with his prestigious position. In the interview with Ray D’Arcy, Delaney began by saying he didn’t like Sepp Blatter’s “modus operandi” and “style” and accused him of having a big ego. One might say much the same of Delaney.
This was a crass interview by the FAI man, in which Delaney took every opportunity to be scathing of Blatter and to try and come across as a cool, clean hero. He scoffed at Blatter’s alleged staring at Delaney’s girlfriend; boasted that he had used expletives to put the FIFA chief in his place; even said, with a condescending chuckle, “he’s four foot something” when asked what height Blatter is (he’s five foot seven!).
What was the purpose of all this childishness? It was to reinforce the sense of Delaney as a man of the people, a tough-talking hero who gets things done, a nice guy with the common touch. I don’t think it worked; Delaney, who went on to take credit for the now infamous €5m payment, merely reminded us that cute hoorism is alive and well.
Still, let’s not kick a man when he’s down. Delaney should learn his lesson. He should remain in office, concentrate on what he’s good at – and rein in his ego.