Back-to-back

(Updated below)

It was pleasing to see that precious little of note happened while I was effectively incommunicado from the internet over the last fortnight. Okay, plenty of note happened – that Graeme McDowell; wow – but nothing happened that I couldn’t keep tabs on by reading newspapers or listening to the car radio. It was good to know that the internet is not all that.

The point was rammed home upon arriving in Liverpool for a friend’s wedding. Last night, the evening before the nuptials, we were in the company of several people we knew but many more that we didn’t. One lad, in a typical display of Scouse bonhomie that is simultaneously endearing in its friendliness and creepy in its overfamiliarity, latched on to us as if we really needed new friends. After several polite exchanges which didn’t really go anywhere, he says “so that Ryan Sidebottom is dead”.

What? Ryan Sidebottom? The Ryan Sidebottom, possessor of the floppiest haircut in cricket? When did this happen? Had he been ill? Why hadn’t I heard? Damn and blast the brick-and-mortar news industry for letting this one past me!

A few confused sentences later, the truth emerged. It hadn’t been Ryan Sidebottom . . .

. . . who had died. It had been Frank Sidebottom . . .

. . . who had shuffled off this mortal coil. No disrespect to the departed Sidebottom or his family but why this cheerful lad thought I would have even heard of this performer of it’s-grim-oop-north variety hall tat is beyond me. Ironically, I had heard of his death having read about it in passing in a newspaper. Looks like the old media world isn’t dead just yet. Like Ryan Sidebottom.

Back in the much more important world of Gaelic games, you would have needed the internet to find out that Clare bounced back from their loss to us in the first round of the Munster minor championship to reach the final. Should we reach the final, the Minors would surely be well placed to become the first Waterford team to successfully defend a trophy of any hue. But that means getting past Cork tonight. In Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Good luck with that, lads.

Update: I hate checking forums for results of matches – it’s hard to put up with the sneers of the victorious team, as if the keyboard warriors pucked every ball. But even the usually excellent SportsNewsIreland had nowt about Munster minors, so I had to go to AFR where I found out it was a draw. If they were three points down in extra time then we should probably be grateful for the second chance, this time at home on 7 July.

Update II: July 7? That’s four days before the final! People will no doubt be whinging about burnout, but I’d subscribe to the school of thought that says 18-year-olds should be full of energy and well able to cope. Still, all other things being equal it’s a bonus for Clare, whoever they might end up playing.

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