He’s at it again Mildred…
Proud Dub, Why do you Build Me Up, Buttercup, and then you let me down, and mess me around?
This is of course not my usual build-up. Last year, over here, I had to hunt for a place just to watch the game. There’s quite a few Irish pubs but the game being on at 3.30am and the pubs all being run by culchies did not allow much scope. The semifinal hadn’t been on anywhere.
Eventually there was confirmation that two pubs would show the final but then one of them got flooded in a storm so that left just the one. It was a Monday morning over here so no late buses or trains and I couldn’t afford taxis (I hadn’t got Uber at that stage either) so I walked into the city from our suburb home in the rain. Tried a shortcut across a grassy slope between motorway link roads and went sliding on my arse. Mucky jeans.
When I arrived at the bar the bouncer, a huge Pacific Islander with multiple tats of course said, whilst looking at my mud-streaked pants, “what are ya here for bru?” So I opened ny saturated jacket and showed him the Dubs top and scarf, and he said, “have a great night bru”, which I took to be a good omen. That’s when my eyes were met with a sea of Mayo jerseys.
Found the two Dubs down the back. Stood beside a bloke with no colours, Longford lad who came over for the Christchurch Post earthquake rebuild. He was “neutral”
One of the Dubs was a young Finglas lady just over and about to start a new job. Off her snot on whatever. He, meanwhile, turned out to be an Aussie she met on the road in, well, Aussie.
Thus I turned to some good Mayo folk for chat and soon they had me taking photos of them but in truth there was little or no banter, all too tense, far too much at stake. Now read on…
As the game reached its defining moment, Longford Leader ran out the door like he was on fire. Deano was only lining it up. GPS-gate was only a gleam in Leroy and McEntee’s eyes. He had long since stopped chatting to me. You draw your own conclusions.
The rest is history and the bar had already stopped serving. Outside the three of us Dubs fans somehow had to share the moment and the nearby Casino had an all-night bar so there we went. Pictures were taken on someone’s phone, not mine, by a bemused Sarf African barman, numbers were exchanged, but I never heard from those two again so somewhere out there I’m in a load of All Ireland celebration photos in NZ that I will never see.
But I will always have the memory of the phone calls I did after with friends and family back home, albeit a very surreal experience. 3-in-a-row was very special to me as our great team of the ‘modern era’ (70s) prior to this missed out on it in humiliating fashion.