Wishful Thinking Christy (And Co.)

Posted on August 7, 2010

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As I pottered my way around the kitchen this afternoon, finding titbits of my lunch left in random places like an Easter Egg hunt I heard something interesting on the Saturday Sport programme on RTE Radio 1.

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You have to understand, the radio is pretty much always on in our house during the day, such to the extent that only something of great interest will draw your attention to its attention seeking drabble in the corner (the ‘blocking out’ skill works a charm when Joe Duffy comes on).

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But today as I sat down to spear my lettuce, ham and croutons, I heard that the GAA are to raise the wall at the Hill 16 end of Croke Park to 2.8 meters (which, incidentally, is not a lot taller than the Puissance wall at the Kerrygold Horse show today..)

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It’s obviously a direct response to the scenes we had after the Leinster Football Final, scenes that have been well documented and don’t need to be revisited in this little rant. Though I still believe the referee was an idiot for hanging on the pitch to book players after the final whistle. But that’s for another day…

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Coming back to the point though, lets look at the facts here. Kilkenny are bidding for 5-in-a-row, something which has never been done in the history of the GAA and do you honestly think the Kilkenny fans are not going to try getting onto the pitch if they are successful? Likewise, the other three teams left in it will do similar if they (a.) win the All Ireland and (b.) manage to beat Kilkenny in it.

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Hypothetically, could you imagine stewards trying to keep crazed, ecstatic Waterford fans off the pitch should they win an All Ireland? I’d wager that Davy Fitz would be over helping them in over the barrier…

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The football is the same. But the fact that the two big names, Kerry and Tyrone are gone cuts the championship wide open. Cork haven’t performed well but will likely have a big game in them for the coming semi final. In the same fixture, Dublin have gathered momentum from their spell in the qualifiers and, while I hate to say it, look like serious contenders for an All Ireland title now.

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And maybe it would be good for the game, maybe it would be good for Sam to head someplace other than Ulster or Munster. I have to say, a Dublin win this year would sit better with me than other years as I honestly feel this Dublin team have become a serious outfit. It may take a little longer to break the stigma I have personally attached to them though…

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The other semi final, Kildare and Down is also mouth watering. A northern team playing a Leinster team who play some Northern style football. Should Johnny Doyle perform like he did the last day, Kildare could be unstoppable. But Down have a great record at these business ends of championship. We could yet see banners of ‘Up Down’ on All Ireland Day.

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But coming back to the original point of this post. Put yourself in and of these 8 teams’ shoes. And think about how many people each of these counties would bring to an All Ireland final, particularly the more in the shadows football teams. Now put yourself in the shoes of a steward. Imagine trying to keep the Dubs out if they win the All Ireland!

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If the GAA think erecting a 9 foot wall in front of the Hill will stop pitch invasions they are sorely mistaken. I think it’s sad that the Leinster Final incident has caused such furore.

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What I find sadder again is that people who run onto the pitch, after watching their team triumph are so quick to sue and take legal action against the GAA for falls and tumbles. I heard somewhere that they are still dealing with lawsuits from Wexford’s win in 1996. I know that if I had fallen running on the pitch that day, a lawsuit would have been the last thing on my mind. I’d just have been pissed that I wouldn’t get to the front of the crowd.

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I wrote a blog a while ago about tradition getting things wrong in the case of stag-hunting. Well pitch-invasions are a tradition and one that shouldn’t e removed. It’s something that’s being tainted by selfish people who like to have their cake (Sam or Liam) and eat it (compensation from the GAA). Well shame on you lot. There should be no place for you in Croke Park if your response to a coveted All Ireland is to milk the organisation on top of it.

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Here’s to pitch invasions. Long may they last.

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Imagine trying to keep Offaly off after this ^^

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