Monday, August 20, 2007

It Was Acceptable in the Eighties

As Eighties revivals go it was more Kajagoogoo's greatest hits than The Smiths reunion tour.

Less Gordon Gekko, more Roland Rat.

Not exactly The Breakfast Club, more TV-AM.

More Sinclair C5 than time-travelling DeLorean.

Yesterday's first All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Meath demonstrated that, despite what the fashion press might tell us, vintage clothing doesn't look good on everyone. The fact that the lead-up to the game concentrated almost exclusively on dredging up frighteningly aged-looking members of those famous Cork and Meath teams of late 1980s and early 1990s meant that the modern version looked like a sanitised Disney remake in comparison.

Perhaps it was the deficiencies in the public profiles of the two teams that led to such a focus on the era of O'Rourke, Tompkins and co. For a team playing in its third All-Ireland semi-final in a row, this Cork side remain possibly the most strangely anonymous bunch to make a Sam Maguire decider in recent memory.
Perhaps this is due to the tameness of their departures back down the N7 after their recent visits to the capital; the fact that they haven't contributed to a single memorable game in HQ in an era full of them.

It doesn't help them that they (the county's footballers) have, for the last decade, laboured in the shadow cast by their infinitely more successful and charismatic hurling counterparts. Following on from that, the paltry attendance, and resulting flat atmosphere, at Croke Park yesterday cannot have been helped by wallet-fatigue in the county, being the fourth game the hurlers and footballers have played in Dublin over the past three weeks.

Meath, while receiving the garlands of back-slappers like myself for their impressive displays up until yesterday, have also been relative strangers to the front rows of the public consciousness of late, although they did boast, in Graham Geraghty, Darren Fay and Anthony Moyles, some refugees from their last excursions in the big time.

But hey, all that aside, you couldn't blame the meeja for dusting down the archives for the historical perspective on this game, certainly when you got a few glimpses of the action from 1987 and 1988 in particular. Des Cahill's perambulations around the country for The Road to Croker took him to Ratoath last week, a show which featured delicious slices from the ripe old rivalry of that time.

You'd almost have put your hands over the children's eyes such was the extremity of the violence on show. The next time a Heated Debate erupts over the issue of clouting and schemozzling in the GAA, a perspective-inducing viewing of the tape from the 1988 All-Ireland final replay should be insisted on. Quite honestly, today's game is like rhythmic gymnastics in comparison.

Regardless of the harsh light of history or the echoing buttresses of a half-empty Croke Park, yesterday's semi-final was a disappointing affair in itself. None of the responsibility for that rests with Cork, however, who absolutely destroyed Meath, dominating every blade of grass and all the key areas with embarassing ease.

Hopefully now the likes of Nicholas Murphy, Derek Kavanagh, Donnacha O'Connor, Kevin McMahon and Pearse O'Neill will emerge into the limelight their hurling brethren have long enjoyed, and in which their historical predecessors once revelled.

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Anonymous The Swiss Job said...

Didn't get to see the game over here as RTE online only broadcast the video in Ireland. But also lost interest now that the home county, Monaghan are out of it. I think they'll bring a bit of "clouting and schemozzling" back into the game. Hopefully they'll get a little further than the quarters as well.

2:46 p.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

Was at Croker for Monaghan's game last week, gutted when Kerry hauled them back...good side though, there's an Ulster title in them next year...

11:18 p.m.  

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