The thing about writing for a paper, you don’t actually know if anybody reads your stuff. Okay, so every so often someone might say something like, “I was reading you the other day”, or maybe take issue over something that appeared. But, while a paper might sell thousands of copies, those who fill the columns can’t say for sure how many readers they have, if any at all.
That thought came to me last week when someone said the Louth football championships were about to take off. What about my forecast competition, the one for which I’ve been asking readers to submit their fancies for the junior, intermediate and senior, over the past number of weeks? Where are all the entries? Four were game enough to have a go last year; surely there’ll be many more this time.
I promised names would be published, with an update as the competitions progressed. I didn’t offer a prize. Maybe that was a mistake. Would it have been any different if I’d dug deep, taking, say, a hundred from my pocket (squealing no doubt)? Maybe, and maybe not. It could be there was no interest, or, as feared, no-one read about it.
I don’t know why, really, but I’m reminded of what Joe Higgins said to Bertie Ahern in the Dail one day as he tried to decipher the answer he’d received to a question: “It’s like playing handball up against haystack.”
Anyway, as teams limber up, aiming to win enough points to take them to the knock-out stages, the basket marked ‘competition’ is stacked high with, wait for it, two entries. One’s from a Bellurgan Point neighbour, Alan McKenna, the other from Maria McShane, from Lisdoo on Dundalk’s Forkhill Road. My own will increase things by 33%.
Maria went for St Patrick’s, O’Connell’s and Oliver Plunkets, Alan for O’Rahilly’s, Clan na Gael and Plunkets.. They agree on just one, a senior league side competing in the junior championship.
Are Plunkets a blot on the handicap? It will be a surprise if the Drogheda side don’t lift the Christy Bellew Cup, and I’ll be among those most surprised. I’m going along with the other two.
Not for the first time are Pat’s taken to win the senior; sometimes in the past they obliged but not always. They’re in the trappiest of all groups, lining out with Dreadnots and Naomh Mairtin, and may have to try for a place in the knock-outs without Paddy Keenan. Ray Finnegan is also currently nursing an injury.
Geraldines were earmarked for intermediate a number of weeks back, but in the meantime have lost a number of their better players. In the belief that those available will be able to steer a passage through the qualifiers, and in the event of that happening there’ll be a positive response to the call to come home, I’ll stick with the McGeough Park side.
My three are Pat’s, Gers and Plunkets – not that there’s too many who might know about it, or care.
* Since the above was written, Gerard Roe, from Faughart, has come in with an entry. A Dowdallshill player who was a runner last year, Gerard has played popular cards, Plunkets for the junior and O’Connell’s for intermediate, but thinks Naomh Mairtin will win out in senior for the first time ever.