What we talk about when we talk about losing


It’s that time of year. The championship has begun and before it ends, almost every  county (even the eventual winners) may have tasted defeat at least once. These reversals will prompt post-mortems that are as much a part of summer’s ritual as Kilkenny lifting Liam McCarthy and the Dublin footballers being annoyingly overhyped. These sporting autopsies are conducted in a peculiar dialect, the completely irrational, often illogical, always entertaining language of defeat. Here then a list of things you’ll say and hear over the coming months.

I told you coming in we were useless. Back-door my arse. The forwards were cat. The backs were brutal. Number four was a complete scut. He was at it all day. What were the umpires doing? He no more played the ball there.  That fella is no good in around the square, never was. Did they do any shooting at all in training or was it all running up and down hills?  They’d want to stay out of the gym for a day and stand in front of a set of goalposts. Well, we know now what they were doing out in La Manga, bloody chancers.

We lost it on the line.  They were like deer trapped in the headlights. If he took off that baseball cap he might be able to see what was in front of him. The writing was on the wall after 10 minutes. Your man hasn’t a clue what to do. I don’t know how much they’re paying that manager but he’d want to give it back. I told you he’d take off a corner-forward first. I couldn’t believe he brought on that other joker from out the road.

The best players we have aren’t even in the squad. I heard there’s a centre-fielder down west better than any of that lot but he wouldn’t do the training. Didn’t I tell you the league was worthless?  He had him beat all ends up. He didn’t know whether he was coming or going. It was definitely a free. That was no more a free. How did he stay on the field? That’ll be one for the Sunday Game boys. That shower on the Sunday Game will be all over that tonight. 

That ref never gave us nothing. He was playing for the draw.. You could see he was looking to give a free. What would a ref from a football county know about hurling? He could have given your man the line in the first minute. He might as well have put a saddle on our backs and rode us around the field.

If I ever see that bowsie wearing the jersey again, it’ll be too soon. The jerseys are catmalojeon. That fella has a yellow streak that wide down his back. The puck-outs? Don’t talk to me about the puck-outs! When number 12 put the sideline ball over I knew that was it.  That cute hoor in the corner is still killing us after all these years. That other joker was brutal. All those endorsements turned his head, you know. Sure his picture is never out of the paper. We’re wasting our time with the likes of him. What about the other langer they brought on with the yellow boots? He shouldn’t be allowed near the team ever again.

That fella was a great minor I don’t know what happened to him. He was a great minor till he discovered the drink and the women. They’d want to be testing that number 7 for a touch of the ould Lances, he covered some ground. Did you see your man play a ball all day long? They’d want to abandon that ould short passing lark. That kind of football is like a cross between rugby league and basketball. Half of our lot can’t kick the ball straight.

What happened to that handy corner-forward from last year, you know your man? Do you mean the fella with both feet? There’s murder in the camp and you could see it too. No spirit at all. Did you ever see any carry-on like that warm-up? I knew we were bate when I saw the cones coming out. Our boys were knackered before a ball was pucked, they were panting during the parade.

He’s not even related to a hurler. That poor young fella had no business at all out there today. He couldn’t get out of his own way. They were first to every ball. They were hungrier. They were better. They were fitter.

Some of our lot didn’t try a leg. He hurled him up a stick. He couldn’t catch a cold. Twas waving at the ball he was not trying to catch it. We missed terrible scores. I’d have put over some of those frees myself. The drink ban did them no good at all. All that weightlifting and they couldn’t throw a shape in the last ten minutes. Why did your man go off? He didn’t fancy it did he? The first slap he got, he wanted out. I knew his father, he was the same.

We’ll be down for years. We’re going nowhere until they get rid of the manager. The selectors are only yes men. We’re going nowhere until they get rid of the board. They are only interested in football. They should put out the minors for the rest of the year. They’d be better. They couldn’t be worse.

I knew we were banjaxed when I heard he brought in a sports psychologist, always a bad sign.  In all my years coming up here, I’ve never seen worse. We’ll be down for years and years. There’s nothing coming through. If that’s the best we have, things are bad.  There’s no one in there in the middle breaking timber. There’s no one in there giving out a few slaps. That’s all we’re missing, well, that and a couple of scoring forwards, a full-back, a centre-back and two centre-fielders.

Is it too late to try Coppers’, some of the team might be in there?

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