Joe Brolly

JOE BROLLY: Send in a SWAT team and the end of the empire

CIARAN Foran, Dave’s brother from the great Dublin team of the ‘90s, taxied me to Croke Park on Saturday.

“Where is your wife from?” he said. “Mayo,” I replied.

“I was the first man that ever wore white shoes in Mayo,” he said. “I wore white loafers with a tassle on them at a dance in Balla.

“After a few minutes, a man came over to me and said, ‘Take them off’.” “Are you cracked?” I said to him. “Take them f**ing off,” he said. “I will not.

“Two seconds later the fists were flying. I don’t know whether he hated the shoes or wanted them.”

As I was getting out of the taxi, laughing, I said to Ciaran, “Will you win today?”

“We are not firing at all,” he said, “there is something wrong with them.”

Not even Joe Biden could have stayed awake for the first game. It would have made a dog eat it’s granny and a dog eating it’s granny is not a pretty sight.

A friend of mine was given a complimentary ticket once for a play by Gorky in the Abbey theatre. “What was it like?” I asked him. “It was so bad, I asked for my complimentary ticket back,” he said.

By half time, even the seagulls were bored. Roscommon are like the magic road in Father Ted. Everything goes backwards. Even on the few occasions when Armagh’s formidable blanket defence was not in position, they turned and handpassed it back. The game turned on a terrible sending off. After that, Roscommon’s doom was sealed. It was a great day for Armagh, but a bad day for the dog’s granny.

The second game was like the senior match after the reserves. If the first game was a fight between YouTubers, the second was Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Or rather, a bored Floyd Mayweather. Dublin started with all the veterans.

For the first half, they toyed with Galway, but like a great fighter saving his energy in sparring, they were slick but not passionate. By half time they were four up and like their semi-final against Mayo in 2021, the result seemed inevitable.

But under Dessie Farrell they lack something. They have always lacked something. Last year, their inspirational waterboy lifted them. But since he retired his waterbottle, they have gone back to going through the motions, doing just enough and no more.

In the second half, Galway sensed that, just as Mayo had two years ago. This Dublin team do not want to lose. But they are not overly excited about winning either. After nine All-Irelands, they can’t see the point of it anymore. Life moves on. Even Stephen Cluxton gets old.

Five years ago if they had been four up at half time, they would have been voracious. Early in the second half they would have scored a goal and gone on to wallop this opposition. Here, they were a ghost of Dublin past. As soon as Galway realised it, it was over. When Shane Walsh went off injured in the 65th minute, it made no difference. The Galway mascot could have come on and kicked the winning scores.

A point down and surging forward with a minute left in injury time, Colm Basquel dropped the ball and Galway came away with it.

A minute later, Con O’Callaghan was clean through in front of goal for an easy point and kicked it wide. It was a bad day for Dublin, but Galway have freed the championship for an epic finale.

The greatest team in the history of the game has come to the end of it’s natural life.

Derry will need a SWAT team to get Mickey Harte out of Owenbeg. Or rather, out of the canteen at Owenbeg. Never in the history of the GAA have genuine All-Ireland contenders been so humiliated. Never has their been such serial managerial catastrophes.

Our championship record this year: Beaten by eight points (at home). Beaten by five points (away). Beaten by 11 points (at home). Won by three points (Division Three opponent). Won by penalties. Lost by five points (Croke Park).

If he had any respect for Derry football, he would step down. Maybe Carlow need a manager. Or Kildare. Our players are in the prime of their careers.

Those careers are short and fly past. We cannot afford another year of this. Time for the Derry board to act in the best interests of Derry GAA.

Meanwhile, Jimmy is showing them all how it should be done. He is winning matches, Tony Boyle is drinking pints and Donegal are going to win Sam.

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