LIMERICK’S gallant Gaelic footballers maintained a level of consistency rarely seen in the top echelons of sport on Sunday last when they held their nerve to lose the Munster final to Cork at PÃ¡irc UÃ Chaoimh.
With just minutes remaining, Lims stood firm in the face of stiff opposition to preserve an historic losing sequence spanning three fucking centuries.
The final score read 2-6 to 0-11 in favour of Cork, the Leesiders emerging victorious by a solitary point.
Before last Sunday’s encounter Limerick had last won a Munster title 113 years ago in 1896, the year F Scott Fitzgerald was born.
According to unconfirmed reports, Fitzgerald, who passed away in 1940, enquired with his dying breath: “Have Limerick won a Munster football title yet?”
His doctor, not wishing to send the Great Gatsby author on his journey into eternity on a negative note replied, “No.”
Meantime, no one knows who the Limerick captain was in 1896. But as he accepted the trophy we imagine he must have claimed that his side’s win over Waterford would usher in a period of provincial dominance for the Shannonsiders.
Er, am, not quite, because the failure rate has now embraced two world wars, Henry Ford’s mass production of the automobile, the Titanic hitting an iceberg,the 1916 Rising,the Bolshevik Revolution, the establishment of the Irish Free State, Al Capone, Mao, Joe Stalin, Pol Pot, Elvis Presley’s appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, only to be told, “you ain’t got no future as singer son, best go back to driving a truck,” Bob Dylan, Hendrix burning his guitar on the stage at Woodstock, the Rolling Stones, JFK, the moon landing, Muhammad Ali, the Iron Curtain, Papa Doc, Margaret Thatcher (Mama Doc), Punk Rock, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the internet, and last, but not least, the closure of Daffys.
But in fairness to the boys in green maybe deep down in their psyche they needed to maintain this horrendous catalogue of failure last weekend.
Face it: anyone can win a Munster title. But to fail to win a provincial crown since around the time Oliver Cromwell was a teenager, that’s the stuff of legend.
And maybe in those final frenetic moments as they swarmed around the Cork goal last Sunday our boys felt the obtuse hand of history – reaching across eleven decades – resting on their broad shoulders.
And they might have said to themselves: “Hey, why ruin a good thing here, lets keep this run going for another 113 years – and beyond.”
And so it came to pass that in the year of our Lord, 2146 – the 250th anniversary of Limerick’s failure to win a Munster football title – that a Limerick man is having a pint of the black stuff, still a popular drink amongst the new age colonists on the planet Jupiter, in his local.
He picks up the paper and notices that the Shannonsiders have extended their losing sequence to a quarter of a millennium, after being edged out by Cork, once again with a razor-thin margin.
“Phew,” he says to his drinking buddy, a four eyed, green headed Martian.”That was a close one. They nearly fucked up good and proper and won the damn thing there.”
“That’s some run alright,” nods the Martian, “go on ye good things.”
Meantime, here in Limerick City we tend to look on Gaelic football as some sort of alien war-dance.
Here are my suggestions to improve our indigenous lark.
1): Reduce the number of outfield players to ten
2): Only the goalkeeper can handle the ball
3): You get nothing for ballooning the ball over the bar and have to hit the net to score
4): Introduce a penalty area around the goals
5): Shorten the length and width of the pitch
6): Introduce an offside law
7): Each half last 45 minutes with extra time and penalty shoot outs (from 12 yards – not 14) if needed
8): The umpires behind the goals, the ones with long white coats, like deranged rural psychiatrists, are run out of the ground
9): Players and fans are not allowed to dribble out of both sides of their mouths during pre and post match TV interviews
10): Tipp fans are not allowed to have picnics out of the boots of their cars outside grounds and Down fans can’t wear hats saying: “Up Down.”
Now we have a game.