The TV View
SHEIKH Mohammed bin Zayed road in Dubai opens up in the desert expanse. Three hours ahead of Ireland and already the mind is in MacHale road while the rest of the county sleeps.
The morning radio DJs with the Aussie accents forecast a hot and hazy day with temperatures in the low forties. A parched, dusty sandstorm blows in, giving the impression of a Martian landscape in a Salthill breeze. I hoped it was not to be a portent of what was to come.
If Laurence of Arabia did pathetic fallacy, then this was it.
A late day at work and the dilemma of whether to hit for home and miss the lead up, or repair to the Irish Village for home comforts and the musings of Brolly et al. The lure of the bacon and cabbage and a cold pint of hops proved too much, and I arrived in time to see ‘The Great Codini’ mastermind another great escape to victory for the Cats.
If only we had the same gods smiling down on us, I thought. A smattering of familiar accents and even more I don’t recognize; the only maroon in sight an Egyptian wearing a vintage Adidas t-shirt.
Castlebar is beamed into the air conditioning and there’s something not quite right. That’s when I realize the stream on the big screen is four minutes behind the action as the whats apps come through from home. Swift action is needed and a quick log-on to GAAGO and the match is up on the iPhone, as I steal away to a quieter part of the bar, one eye on the phone screen and an ear cocked to hear Dessie and Ger describe the action.
Fleming’s discovery of penicillin under the microscope warranted less scrutiny, and eventually I found an angle of neck tilt sufficient to satisfy both senses.
Bar staff cast bemused sideways glances but you can tell they’ve seen this scene before.
The expat Irish/Aussie/Canadian/American tuning in to see some unknown sporting code; clenched teeth sandbagging frustrated expletives. Although the spectacle on display leaves a lot to be desired, there’s a feeling that Galway are there for the taking, yet Mayo’s shooting in the first half seems to point to a lack of composure.
The four-minute delay on the stream means I am the first one in the bar to react to scores, misses, the red card, and Tom Parsons’ horrific injury.
The second half heats up and in the dying moments, when we draw level, I wonder if the Cody playbook has been secreted into McHale park. Johnny Heaney’s goal soon puts that theory to bed and as the final whistle ends the inevitable “what now?” feeling returns.
Down at the end of the bar, a lone Mayo jersey amongst a group of friends continues to believe. Four minutes and thousands of hopes behind. The final whistle goes for the second time ; the big screen is rolled up and Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” plays on the loudspeaker. His lament of ageing and mistakes of the past seems somewhat fitting.
The desert road beckons once more and who knows where it will take us.