The only surprises at this year’s end of year awards was that there was an end of year awards ceremony after the darkest year since black was invented.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Dickens could have been writing about the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen and Louth GAA’s very own annus horribilis. It was the year that the Wee County gave a resounding “NO!” to football at a meaningful level.
It was a car crash of a season. Once proud supporters rubbernecked through their fingers during the league before becoming full blown voyeurs for a mercifully brief Championship. It was a bombastic statement of disintent, a blot on the copybook of mediocrity, a wee stain on Cú Chulainn’s mighty hurl, a county wide omnishambles, it was that feeling of shame you get when you wake up with a first cousint the day after a family bereavement with regrets in your head and Buckfast on your breath.
It all goes back to 2010 so it does.
But there were brief highs when the summits of gently sloping hills were conquered. It was clear that a higher power guided the defeats of Wexford and Clare in #FortressDrogheda; champagne points being guided over the bar as if in the slipstream of some invisible matter.
Then there was the raging performance at home to Leitrim in conditions almost as dreadful as proceedings on the turf. Watching that game, one felt almost at one with nature and the atoms. The crowd began to understand that space was cold and unforgiving. But the record books won’t mention that, they’ll just say that Louth won that day.
He caught that ball like he’d no arms!
They say you have to hit rock bottom before you can begin healing. We haven’t hit rock bottom just yet; Louth County Board actually threw an end of year awards ceremony. If Cú Chulainn was master of his own image rights he’d be suing the county board for defamation.
The theft of the tactics book was a cruel hammer blow from which we never recovered.
The awards night was hosted as usual by Marty Morrissey, ably supported by ex-Louth legend Johnny Logan and the ghost of Jimmy McGee. The function room reflected the current state of the county, with a Louth flag draped on the stage and a highlight reel that was finished before they could click unmute on the laptop.
A list of the winners:
Best County Board: Louth County Board
County Board That Doesn’t Deserve the Stick it Gets Sure Aren’t All the Members Decent, Hardworking People: Louth County Board
County Hit Hardest by Defections, Disillusionment & Retirements: Louth
Best Renault Ambassador: His Excellency Colin Kelly
Manager of the Year: His Excellency Colin Kelly
Wrongest poll of the Year: Balls.ie voting Louth as having the worst county grounds
Most Original, Authentic & Artisan County Ground: O’Rathallaigh’s GFC
Best Tactical Innovation: Ambassador Kelly’s Attacking Blanket
Best Programme Innovation: The Referee’s Prayer (v Leitrim)
False Dawn of the Year: 1st January.
Highlight of the Year: Ryan Burns knocking over scores
Highlights of the Year: Conor ‘Thor’ Grimes
Best Impact Sub: Thor v Leitrim
Best Shout from the Crowd: “He caught that ball like he’d no arms!” – A punter on Conor Grimes after a ball bounced off his chest.
Most Exotic Fans at a Louth Game: The Vietnamese family what wandered in to watch the Wexford game in the league.
Funniest Defeat: v Sligo.
Most Inevitable Collapse: Last five minutes of Louth v Meath Leinster Junior Semi Final.
Best # of the year: #fortressdrogheda.
Nippiest corner forward: Blackie Judge.
Biggest Hope for the Future: Blackie Judge returns from Sydney Swans.
Worst performances: V Tipperary X2, Sligo, Fermanagh, UCD.
Best thighs since Stefan White: Thor, fine pair of thighs.
Most Hardcore Fans: The Semple Sixty.