Don't Panic! Your old mate and blogger has not suddenly gone all sport orientated. Those who have known me for a while would probably KNOW that this was impossible or at least highly unlikely. I managed to survive the first 50+ years without knowing the first thing about soccer, my main objection being that the sport was (is) boring to watch and can happily go the whole 90 minutes of a game without anybody scoring at all, even at the top, professional levels. GAA Football (Gaelic Athletic Association), I am assured is a whole different kettle of fish being fast, exciting and high scoring. This time of year in Ireland is also when the "All Ireland" finals take place and our nearby county of Mayo (also the country where my lambs were born) got through their semi final a couple of Sundays back and this one just passed would see Liz's Dublin team in their semi against Kerry. The place has gone mad decorating gateposts with flags and houses with bunting in county colours. It is a regular subject of conversation - the barber's where I was this morning, the local post office and even John Deere Bob who drops by. My curiosity was piqued. This was an important part of the culture of my new life and friends.
Here then is the only sport related blog post you are likely to get for a while, borrowed from another web post.
"On Sept 2nd, I am woken up by Quoth, our local raven who swings by occasionally. He/she was shouting from the spruce trees and getting a bit of abuse back from the crows and magpies. The morning was spent gently bimbling in the garden, spreading calf poo on the cleared potato ground and picking beans. I walked dogs and got talking to near neighbour whose kids were in the middle of clothing a big cuddly-toy dog in a Roscommon GAA football jersey. Seems that as well as the 'big match' (an All Ireland semi final Dublin vs Kerry) there is an Under 21's ("Minors") match on at 13:30 featuring our own Roscommon and dodgy 'nordies' Tyrone.
I came in early pm and caught Liz listening to the match commentary IN IRISH. I am in awe. Not only do I have no interest in sport, soccer, rugby and stuff, I also have no Irish worth a light and this guy was rabbiting away as only sports commentators know how. Wandered off back to my weeding. We lost narrowly by all accounts.
Later in the afternoon came the 'real match' in which Liz had more of a vested interest, being a 'Dub'. Out of nowhere we also suddenly had enough broadband to actually stream the televised match programme. Our BB is usually so poor that we measure it in kilobytes (700-900) as opposed to 'megs' and can only watch short Youtube clips without it going all stuttery or dying all together and refusing to perform. But No, here we were with uninterrupted visuals, so I decided to watch my first ever full GAA match. I'd been told that GAA is a whole different kettle of fish and so it proved. For them as don't know, you can score in the goal below the cross-bar (3 points) or between the posts above the bar (1 point). This match had half a dozen scoring moves in the first 10 minutes. As boring as soccer it definitely wasn't. It stayed exciting all through and Liz was even getting a bit sweary at the midway point.
Her Dubs were looking a bit shaky at one stage and she was voicing those ol' '3 times' superstitions - Man U had lost, the Roscommon Minors had lost and now..... However, the Dubs put in a late surge right at the end and saved the day, winning 3-18 to 3-11, i.e. the two teams scored 35 times between them!"
So there you are. The Dubs now play Mayo on 22nd and it will be all over for another year. In the two weekends in between now and the 22nd, the Hurlers get their turn - their game is even more mad, frenetic, crazy, fast and dangerous. They all run around armed with a hockey-stick 'club' (Camán) and the ball (Sliothe) seems to be a rock covered in leather. Face masks are almost obligatory these days.
For me, though, a weekend back in the UK looking up the Pud Lady and some Faversham Friends including 2CV Llew, before I head for St Katharine's Docks in London to help man our sailing barge Cambria. She is on show to the public as part of the St Kat's Classic Boat Festival which is , in turn, part of the Mayor's River Thames Festival. Liz gets to look after the 'farm' for a while so she is in training on livestock and the differences between milled barley and seed wheat. Wish us both luck. I will be 'off air' for the duration and will post again when I return.