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14 Aug 2022

Inside Track: Joe show and more taking place in Roche on the eve of football final

Inside Track: Joe show and more taking place in Roche on the eve of football final

Former Derry footballer Joe Brolly celebrates on the pitch after the Ulster GAA Football Final between Derry and Donegal

Put Joe Brolly on stage to answer questions and if the audience is up for it, throwing blandness firmly to the wind, you can be sure it’s going to be a lively session.

None of your “What was the best score you ever got for Derry?”....“Who was your favourite Gaelic player of all time?”....”Is the GAA charging too much for All-Ireland tickets?”

That wouldn’t provoke vintage Brolly. But it might if you were to ask him what he thought of RTE, reminding him that the national broadcaster showed him the door. Or, did he overdo it in his admonishment of Sean Cavanagh? Or, would he still question the fitness of Rory Gallagher to manage the Derry team?      

So you have Joe on stage, feeding him the right queries. But maybe fatigue begins to set in, or, who knows – or, God forbid – he’s gets a bit of a rough time from the plebs. No harm, maybe, to have others alongside.

So, if Joe is wearing the 13 jersey, you throw the No 1 to Shane Curran and get Andy McEntee out at midfield. Now you’re really threshing. Here you have a pair who are not going to sit there with their mouths closed – the more controversial the subject, the louder they’re likely to be.

So you have your panel in place – who’s going to keep everything in order, or maybe disorder? The man with the mic, in other words. Well, if there’s a stormy petrel around, someone who greets controversy with a doff of his cap, get him in.

And who better than Caoimhin Reilly? Like the others on the stage, this young man wouldn’t sidestep anything, nor would he be likely to be telling anyone in the crowd, “You can’t ask that.”

And is this all really happening? Yes, in the Roche Emmets clubrooms on next Friday week, July 22nd. It’s being publicised as an All-Ireland Football Final Preview, but you can bet there’ll be more than the game coming up two days later on the agenda. Some tickets, costing £25, are still available.

Though an All-Ireland club championship winner with St Brigid’s of Roscommon, Shane Curran would probably be more familiar to Dundalk FC supporters than local GAA people. Known as ‘Cake’ to his friends and others, he was a goalkeeper in his playing days and was known for his eccentricities. A bit like most goalies, past and present, you could say.

Anyway, as the 1995 Premier League drew to a close, Dundalk not only needed to win their final game with Galway, but Derry City not to win theirs. The Candystripes were out against Athlone and when awarded a penalty were odds-on to do the trick.

Curran, between the posts for the midlanders, was equal to the task, however. His save, plus their win over Galway, gave Dundalk the title.

Doubtless, Andy McEntee will be queried on the abuse he received on social media following his recent resignation as Meath senior team manager. It doesn’t make sense, does it, that having given six years to a cause, someone comes in for this.

McEntee was up front in his role along the line; but you can bet the trolls were hiding behind false names or anonymity when they began to spew bile.

I’m reminded of a time I went on LMFM, asked to comment on Louth’s championship defeat by Meath in 2002. It was decided by a very late Graham Geraghty goal.

I was of the opinion the referee penalised, rather than benefitted, Louth by calling back play from midfield – where Ollie McDonnell was in possession – to award the Reds a free on their own endline.

As I saw it, the ref should have allowed play to continue and when the ball went out of play, then deal with the Meathman who’d committed the free. Meath won possession from the free, and this led to the goal.

When I went off air several calls came into the studio, the gist of them being, “Tell Carroll to take his beating.” None of the callers indentified themselves, of course, and I wondered would they have been among the hordes of Meath supporters who made their way out of Pairc Tailteann with Louth leading by a couple of points and time almost up.

On hearing the result down in the pub, they probably began chanting “You’ll never beat the Royals.” The throw-in to get next Friday’s week’s get-together off the ground is at 8pm.

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