THIS day last week, an early morning phone message alerting me to a story about the Dublin footballers training wasn’t going to have the desired effect.
Too long in the tooth for April Fools jokes.
Anyway, I was busy enough as a consequence of a post on the Blarney GAA Twitter page, trying to ascertain what Dublin GAA club the talented Paudie Power was moving to.
For those of you, who would be familiar with the happenings at this Mid Cork urban club, you would be aware, that their underage section has developed a seriously talented crop.
Some have featured on CBC Harty Cup teams, Cork minor, U20, and senior sides, the UCC senior hurling team, and a host of them played key roles on last year’s County PIHC-winning side.
So I was somewhat intrigued to learn, that one of their brightest was heading for the blue smoke.
Cuala was the club that came to mind. If they could afford to deck Eddie Brennan out in their coaching uniform, wouldn’t it make sense to offer a few talented country lads an opportunity to play in the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship!
The 82-year-old cocooning neighbour hadn’t completed her 8am morning exercise walk when I realised I was duped.
Paudie Power will wear the red of Blarney in 2021 and the Dublin footballers have feet of clay.
Now, I do realise that you have probably heard enough about the said footballers at this stage.
That mentioned, I was somewhat surprised that when The Late Late Show announced its guest list for Friday night, that the brave photographer who risked life and possibly a limb or two awaited in cold damp conditions didn’t make the list.
Too often, real heroes are forgotten about! Not to mention, the cohort of journalists and editorial team that apportioned six pages of a daily Irish newspaper to this major coup. Irish investigative journalism is alive and well!
I should also mention that when this blue army were up to their shenanigans, another was thinking about its elite athletes' breakfast, prior to embarking on its mid-morning elite athletes' training session.
Ironically or otherwise, Leinster's Champions Cup game against Toulon was subsequently cancelled because of a Covid issue.
But, can you imagine how other county players and managers reacted when they realised that this story wasn’t an April 1 edition?
How often have they being reminded of the extra special qualities that are attached to this group of players and their management?
If you can’t, just revert back to your school days and think of the inners feelings you enjoyed when the teacher’s pet or pets had to make it to the naughty step.
Or failing that, what about the very odd occasion that those goody-two-shoes family members get caught visiting the dark side.
You can take it, that you will not come across too many more video clips or photos of the Dubs brushing out the dressing rooms or indeed doing a take-off of members of the local tidy towns litter picking brigade.
The blue sheen won’t dazzle as much from now on!
From this column’s viewpoint, the most disappointing aspect of the whole spectacle was not so much that the gathering breached the country’s Covid guidelines, and I am not endeavouring to underplay that risk, but that it provided further evidence of the task facing the GAA authorities in enforcing its own inter-county directives.
You will remember that when the Cork and Down footballers felt the need to train during the two-week close season at the start of the year, we expressed our dissatisfaction, not because of Covid, but because they couldn’t follow the GAA guidelines designed to give the players some downtime.
I am not going to condone what some club teams may be up to at this time, but in my simple mind, you can’t equate it to breaches by inter-county teams.
Please God, in the not too distant future, Covid and its associated restrictions will take up residence in the nation's history vaults, but the challenge to reign in wayward intercounty managers will continue.
Of course, I haven’t a solution that will bring an end to this problem, but what about exploring another potential silver lining in the Covid cloud.
In the past, there have been some faint-hearted attempts to draw up an inter-county charter of behaviour.
Now might be the opportunity to visit this scenario and endeavour to put limits on these guys’ spectrum of activities. More informed individuals than this scribbler could put together a few do’s and don’ts with accompanying sanctions. I would just bring one to your attention.
If an inter-county manager breaks a training ban in any shape or form, they must resign there and then.
So that you have no difficulty in understanding the implication of same, Cork, Down and Dublin would have new bainisteorí right now.
Now, some bit of praise for the Dublin County Board; as soon as they realised that this had the potential to tarnish the brand and lead to the possible loss of a sponsors' cheque, they moved quickly and fitted Dessie with the bold boy cap.
It does cross my mind though, that in a few weeks when the slogan sign for this year’s blue project is designed it may have graphics on both sides.
'7th Heaven' on one and 'Do it for Dessie' on the other.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @paudiep