The Dub outside Croke Park is an unfamiliar sight, like a Meathman holding a door open for a lady or a Dundalk native using a soup spoon.
They poured into the Gaelic Grounds like the fizzy gush of a spilt blue WKD. Roused from the couches of south Drawda and Bettystown, the Dubs were eager to see their heroes. They might have only been their third string side, otherwise known as the brothers of the first team’s girlfriends, but they were Dubs nonetheless.
From the off you could tell the real Dubs were angry that the DART didn’t yet extend to Drawda. Buses had to be got. But the locals soon put them straight, telling them that Dundalk would get it before Drawda. The Dublin men said they’d heard that alright and a bond was struck.
The Dubs only leave their oxygen cocoons to train, shift young wans in Coppers and get involved in late night altercations that weren’t their fault.
Colin Kelly’s charges, and even the ex-Renault Ambassador himself, were up against it. They’d heard the rumours. The Dubs want for nothing. Their every need is catered for. They have teams of specialists that take moulds of the wrinkles on their skin after they have a bath so they’ll know how long they should stay in their next one. Excess webbage slows you down.
They share a communal hairdresser, who himself has signed agreements not to cut non-panel member’s hair. Any breach of protocol is unacceptable and results in banishment from both the inner circle, the intermediate circle and the outer circle. They are exiled to the fringes.
The Dubs have been fitted with colostomy bags so they don’t have to worry about toilet and can concentrate solely on their football.
Kelly was reticent before the game, uncomfortable with the tag of favourites.
“Even though they’re the turd string, that doesn’t make them three times worser than the foorst team. No. If Louth had a turd string side it would be considerably worser than the foorst team but these Dubs were only about a turd worser than the lads they were replacing who in turn were about a turd worser again than the first 15 on the panel. So what ‘Am saying is that we might be favourites but it’ll come down to both fractions and percentages,” he nosebled.
There was a solitary Louth flag on the bank and its chequered design echoed the Wee Counties history in this competition. It had the look of a flag shook in anger more than waved in joy.
At 2pm the referee threw the ball up in the air and Dublin broke away with it and won the game by 2-16 to 1-10. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that one of the linesmen was a Meathman.
Division 3 Preview
Louth will need Kelly to study all the pages in the County Tactics Manual if Louth are to maintain their Division 3 status. The Attacking Blanket™ will have to be kept drier than it was against the Dubs, where it was sodden and heavy, more like a wet duvet than a cogent attacking master plan.
By all accounts though, Louth have been training well at their secluded hideaway in Darver – a place so secluded that the lads with the Tactics Manual have trouble finding it in bad weather (and the lads from Cooley). This is a worrying development given that two Louth County Board officials are supposed to shadow Kelly at all times, like the US military guys who follow the President around with the nuclear codes.
The campaign kicks off under the lights and in front of a live studio audience in Portlaoise on Saturday at 7pm (Eir). Hope we win that one. Lose the opener and heads go down. Tipperary and Armagh will be tough opponents and Schligo had to install more space on their scoreboard the last time they met us. That leaves Antrim (shite), Offaly (shite) and dark horses Longford (could be shite, might not be, who really knows?). It’ll be interesting. If we play the system and take our points goals are sure to follow. And who knows? If we can keep the ageing Blackie Judge injury free then a tilt at Division Two could be on the cards.
Throw in Saturday 4 February 7pm in Portlaoise or just tune in to Eir and watch it on the telly. Sometimes it’s better on the telly cos you can see less mistakes.