Oof again. You know I love you, TG4, I really do. But showing the Under-21’s getting massacred as they were in Cusack Park tonight . . . that’s cruel. I convinced myself before the game that I was more prepared for defeat at this level than I would have been at Minor level. We have a far worse record and have endured some awful beatings, even in recent years, and playing away from home would probably be the straw that would break the camels back.
Complete tosh on all counts. While prepared for defeat, I wasn’t prepared for a defeat of this scale, our fourth-worst ever in the Under-21 championship. As for playing badly away from the comforts of Walsh Park and Fraher Field, even if you strip out wins over whipping boys like Kerry and Antrim we still have recorded more than half of our victories in the competition away from home. In short, it was bad. No wonder the man in front of Michael Ryan above had his head in his hands.
It’s one of the great truisms of the GAA that underage success does not inevitably lead to Senior glory. But winning underage trophies is worthwhile on its own merits. Ask anyone who was in Nowlan Park in 1992. And while having talent coming through is not a sufficient condition for success at the highest level it has to be a necessary one. After a good couple of years (not least in Colleges and the Tony Forristal) this year has been a horrible reality check. Damn you, TG4, for inflicting this painful reality on me! What I need is some escapism, and what better place than Pravda, aka Liverpool FC TV. Ooh, it’s Liverpool 1-3 Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, I wonder what happens next . . .
Update 25/7/2012: DeiseHurling informed me via Twitter that the man with his head in his hands is Timmy O’Keeffe, Secretary of our beloved County Board. Perhaps he was banking on a money-spinning home tie in the Munster Under-21 final against Tipperary at Walsh Park. There’s always next year, Timmy.