I’m ripping. It’s been a dreadful week or so with Mayo losing our grip on running the country and then the unbelievable news that Stephen didn’t name me in the starting fifteen against Sligo. I told him that he could pick the team for this one with Cillian seeing as I was busy with the basketball. But I couldn’t believe it - especially as he picked our Shamie and Conor but not me. The slagging in the house last week was fierce and Conor even told Mammy he wanted to get a bigger dinner than me now. I was welling up and fair play to Mammy she could see it. “You’ll get what you're given gasún,” she said. “And if you end up in half as many photos as my Aidan you’ll be doing well.” Then she dumped a big lump of hairy fat from the bacon on his plate. She’s great.
Daddy said not to worry I was still the third best footballer. I was happy with that and asked him was it only my mate Dermo and Leeroy that were ahead of me. The third best footballer in the house he said. Shamie laughed and jeered and started singing ‘Aido the turd’ so I went up to his room and tore down all his Spice Girls posters. Mammy let a roar at us and said the wooden spoon was coming out so we cleared out sharpish. Conor had a football so he said to Shamie let’s get a bit of practice in. Then he said I should practice too – by sitting on the bench in the garden. They just don't understand the whole concept of 'resting' players. It was a tough few days.
I rang Donie as well seeing as he had been dropped too - I mean rested. He was very angry about it as he had only given Stephen a pair of shoes for half price the previous week. ‘This is definitely our year and we can’t even get a start’ he moaned. ‘It’s only Sligo. Sure we’ll hammer them. Didn’t you even score 3-4 against them a while back - they’re brutal.’
We were just saying too that he wouldn’t drop ... I mean rest the Chuckle Brothers either. The Ballintubber altar boys never get picked on. Although I remember the time a team was named with Cillian on the subs and he went mental. He was on the floor of the dressing room, banging his fists on the ground so they put him in the team. Hmm … maybe that’s why he never gets dropped.
As if the week wasn’t bad enough some guy called Flynn ridickled me in the media. I never heard of him but someone said he used to play for Meath – I didn’t even know Meath had a football team. The guy obviously has no clue about how hard it is to be a celebrity in Ireland. To wake up every morning with everybody wanting a piece of you, to try to ‘connect with’ (great phrase Kevin Mc gave me) your Twitter followers and to help realise the dreams of every child in Mayo by letting them take a selfie with you. It’s tough ...... I know I’m a huge man but there is only so much of me to go around.
James Horan – the best Mayo man ever to nearly win Sam – put him in his place. He called him a tit (Conor laughed so much until Mammy gave him the look) and an eejit. Mammy actually said that I should never worry about what men with fake tans say because it’s all fake as well – sure look at Donald Trump she said. I nodded – though I didn’t have a clue who this Trump is. I’d say he’s probably from Dublin if he is a spoofer. Anyway hope she never meets the Flynn fella or he will get a thick ear. Daddy said he didn’t think what happened after the game mattered at all but it’s a pity I didn’t show as much enthusiasm for the match as I did for the photos. He is right fair play to him – it’s much harder to look good in photos during the games so I must look at how to improve that. To be honest there have been a couple of action shots from games where my hair was frankly embarrassing.
The match day itself was lacking any atmosphere and I could feel the let down in McHale when I wasn’t announced as a late change. I was going to go doing a few selfies when the lads were warming up but then I thought ‘I won’t please that Flynn fella.’ There was a lovely moment when Mammy came into the stand and some younger Mayo lads started singing ‘There’s only one Mrs O’Shea, one Mrs O’Shea ..’ I think she was going red though she said later she went a bit heavy on the blusher earlier. Easily done I said to her.
The game started and to be honest we struggled without me. As usual we relied on the Cillian fella kicking frees from in front of the posts. Then Diarmuid scored a goal after taking 18 steps. Jaysus them lads really get away with everything. I finally got on in the second half as a blood sub for Diarmuid. I have to say his haircut is atrocious though – he looks like a young lad who was scalped with a bowl before his communion. The pair have no style.
But the whole game lifted when I arrived. The crowd woke up, the tempo quickened and we were now playing unbelievable stuff. But after a few minutes Altar Boy II came back. ‘Go get some more splinters in your arse’ he laughed as he passed me – he said later it was only a joke but I don’t know really. I think my celebrity gets to some lads. They look at me and they think why can I not have what he has. Hardly my fault.
Anyways, I was stretching and fixing me hair and things when Cillian gave the merchandising manager the nod. So Stephen told me to warm up and I had to bite me lip to stop saying I was already boiling. When they saw me the crowd went mad. It reminded me of the racket when I went to the airport to see Jedward coming back after X Factor. The whooping and hollering was Mayo fans at their finest. Dublin can have their songs and chants but Mayo are kings at whooping and hollering. It's the plain speak of rural Ireland - our very own dialect.
Surprisingly the Sligo lad marking me was very gracious. Here comes the man that makes Mayo thick he said. His team mates laughed but I thought it was a nice touch. Obviously the whole course of the game changed then. We had been rudderless and I came on like the captain of a ship to steer us home. The captain of the Titanic Daddy said – fair play to him. I coasted through the game providing the oil for the Mayo machine that was now purring. Near the end Cillian got another goal even though he was in the square but yet again them lads get away with it. That’s why we call them the Altar Boys! We warmed down and I got right in the middle of the huddle as if to say ‘Feck you Flynn’. A couple of kids asked for autographs and selfies but I said no because that would be the wrong attitude. Mammy noticed and I got the mother of all dressing downs followed by the dressing gown and an early night. I’m so confused now.
And the Altar Boys were insufferable in the dressing room too.
‘Hey Diarmuid, what did you score?’.
‘A goal Cillian, how about you?’
‘I got 1-6 – so that’s 2-6 between us’.
‘Hey that’s more than Sligo, Cillian - so we beat them on our own.’
‘Did any of the three O’Shea’s score, Diarmuid?’
‘No, I don’t think so. But God love them, they tried hard.’
I need to take back control or it’s going to be a really long season by being a very short season …