Tag Archives: Cushendall

Confidence stroke arrogance

After pausing to give oneself a quiet bualadh bos for parsing the De La Salle – Cushendall match correctly – it’d be tough, but a Waterford team is not going to lose its nerve against an Antrim team – let’s dig a bit deeper into that analysis. Post match, there were two interviews on TG4 which reflect this dispensation. Brian Phelan isn’t known as the Bull for nothing, and he let the cat out of the bag by effectively saying that Cushendall were a tougher challenge than he expected. When the interviewer playfully suggested that DLS may have underestimated their opponents, the look of panic that swept across his face was priceless. Rule No 1 of engaging with the media (known as the Babs rule): never admit to thinking your opponents are anything less than equals. No, he replied, we didn’t underestimate them, and the set of his jaw told us that this line of questioning was at an end.

A slightly more sophisticated point of view came from John Mullane. After the obligatory knew it would be tough etc (see Babs rule), he was asked whether he felt sorry for a club enduring a seventh fall at the penultimate All-Ireland hurdle. Having endured five All-Ireland semi-final defeats with Waterford (I’m sure he was present  in Croke Park in ’98 – shure didn’t we all feel it like we had played that day), he was not going to muster any faux-sympathy for Cushendall. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles”, sayeth John Almighty.

It does make sense to cover your ass by following the Babs rule. John Mullane probably knows that better than anyone when a casual comment about a potential September meeting with Kilkenny was pounced upon by Richie Bennis. But surely there’s got to be a point where privately Waterford teams have got to start believing that they can whip anyone and everyone we play. Otherwise, defeatist thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Feeling relief that DLS won’t be meeting the best that Kilkenny has to offer, like I did when I heard Portumna had beaten Ballyhale Shamrocks, is deranged. Portumna, by dint of hammering Ballyhale and being the defending champions, are clearly a far more formidable outfit. Yet even after breaking it down like that, I still feel happier to be facing them than any Cat. With an attitude like that, we’re never going to beat Kilkenny at anything. Hopefully the public spirit of Brian Phelan exists in private too.

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You learn a new thing every day

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During the week I received an all-too-rare comment, a post from HURLER saying that “Ruairi Og will hurl you’s off the park on sunday…” After getting over the initial sarky amusement that someone had homed in on a Googled reference to De La Salle (the school) being the All-Ireland champions (last year), I wondered who ‘Ruairi Og’ was, clearly the latest great white dope of Antrim hurling.

Which (and I’m thinking of making this the motto for this website) shows you what I know. Ruairí Óg is the name of Cushendall GAA. There’s a doctrinal thesis out there waiting to be written on the historiography of GAA club names, and a whole chapter could be devoted to why people come up with names that are never used. I’d heard of Cushendall yet I don’t feel one bit embarrassed that I didn’t know their real name (any more than HURLER should feel embarrassed by not knowing the distinction between the two DLS’s, it should be noted). One of the great clubs of recent times, St Mary’s, are known to absolutely no one as that. And my own club trade under the mouthful that is Michael Mac Craith, a name that I’ve only ever seen unaccompanied by the pregnant explanation that it’s Tramore on the clunky old scoreboard that they used to have in Walsh Park.

So will it be Ruairí Óg (Cushendall) or De La Salle (club) winning through on Sunday? Waterford clubs hold no fear for Antrim clubs, as Dunloy demonstrated in beating Mount Sion in 2003. But De La Salle have shown that they are not hamstrung by the demons that have held back Waterford clubs over the years. I’ll stick my neck out – based on the aforementioned lack of nerves and their gradual ascent towards the top meaning their presence here is no fluke, De La Salle to win. Either way, thanks to HURLER for his / her interest, and best of wishes to the good folk of Cushendall.