STILL WORKING Wicklow manager Mick O’Dwyer is pictured recently with the O’Byrne Cup trophy at the announcement of Setanta Sports’ live and exclusive coverage of the competition. The Kerryman could be set for an interesting year in 2007. Pic: Sportsfile
A sideways look at future
SKETCH OF 2007
Here are some things that probably won’t happen this year
THE FBD League begins with Mayo manager John O’Mahony calling for the public’s help to identify “the next Kieran Donaghy”. A 6’9” player who turns up at county trials dressed in a large robe is subsequently revealed to be one man standing on another’s shoulders.
A Connacht Junior League Division 2 rugby match is interrupted by a streaker wearing only a scrum cap. The man succeeds in becoming the first naked spectator ever to score a try, but suffers severe frostbite in the attempt.
Controversy reigns as new GAA regulations ban managers from dressing rooms and training sessions.
SALES of a once popular foodstuff are reported to have plummeted in Mayo following County Secretary Sean Feeney’s call for less of the “black pudding stuff”.
GAA regulations ban the use of substitutes, saying it will “reduce the possibility of flare-ups on the sideline”.
Four Galway hurlers are found dead after manager Ger Loughnane organises a midnight sprint from Ballinasloe to Clifden. “They’ll be fit by the time I’m finished with them,” vows the Clare native.
A CONTINUED fall in sales of black pudding leads to the formation of a lobby group called the NAABP (National Association for the Advancement of Black Pudding). The Carnacon-based Black Pudding Club distances itself from the new group.
GAA regulations ban selectors from going to matches, a move condemned as “one step too far” by Joe Kernan. Nickey Brennan eventually relents but vows to crack down on managers “swearing and walking at the same time”.
Ireland lose 3-0 to Wales, a result manager Steve Staunton describes as “all part of the plan for the next World Cup”. FAI chief executive John Delaney responds to Staunton’s “stirring words” by making him manager for life.
DESPITE the NAABP’s best efforts, the campaign to ban black pudding goes worldwide. Signs reading “no dogs, no Irish, no black pudding” are spotted in London.
With the championship approaching, John O’Mahony unveils Kees De Jong, a 7’2” Dutchman working in Ballyhaunis, as “the man who will lead our attack”.
All new GAA regulations are abandoned after a ‘runner’ scores the goal of the year during the National Football League game between Dublin and Kerry.
AS Mayo trail Galway by six points at half-time, John O’Mahony introduces Kees De Jong at full forward. The gigantic substitute scores a whopping five goals as Mayo romp to victory.
Mick O’Dwyer admits that he is over 900 years old. Wicklow County Board decide they “want somebody a bit more youthful” in charge and make Kevin Heffernan their new manager.
After retaining the Heineken Cup, Munster declare independence from the rest of Ireland. But after The Fields of Athenry is deemed an inappropriate national anthem and Munster citizens are told they cannot work in Dublin without special permits, the southerners return to the fold.
AS his Clare side prepare to meet Kerry, Páidí Ó Sé vows to wrestle “the roughest kind of animal” that can be found in the Kingdom. He loses a subsequent bout against a Tralee-based mountain lion.
Having beaten Leitrim, London name Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry and Jermain Defoe in their team to face Mayo. Manager Noel Dunning claims all three qualify under the parish rule. Mayo win after extra time.
Galway hurlers intensify their training and run through a series of walls in Loughrea. Ger Loughnane names the 15 survivors in his starting line-up for their championship opener.
THE National Association for the Advancement of Black Pudding breaks up amid infighting as its decision to concentrate on white pudding is labelled “racist” by some key figures.
Paul Caffrey condemns the “ridiculous hype” attached to Dublin’s appearance in the Leinster final. His comments form the centrepiece of a 400-page Evening Herald supplement dedicated to the occasion. The Dubs lose to Kevin Heffernan’s Wicklow.
The FAI announce that the final positions in the 2007 Eircom League will largely be determined by how green a club’s grass is. “We know that results are important, but we’ve got to continue to focus on infrastructure,” comments FAI chief executive John Delaney.
BLACK pudding is officially declared dead. An attempt to pass a vote of sympathy at a County Board meeting is ruled out of order by the executive.
Galway United spend €40 million on a special form of ultra green grass from Thailand. “Nothing can stop us now,” club chairman John Fallon confidently predicts as the Tribesmen go top of the table.
Derval O’Rourke sets a new world record in winning the 100 metres hurdles at the World Athletics Championships. She also takes gold medals in the 400 metres hurdles, javelin and marathon. But Henry Shefflin still wins the RTE sports personality of the year award the following December.
GALWAY hurlers make good on their promise to “eat iron” in the run-up to the All-Ireland final, but a number suffer food poisoning and they go down tamely to Kilkenny.
Mayo’s preparations for the All-Ireland final are thrown into chaos as Eddie O’Sullivan calls Kees De Jong into the Irish squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup. In his absence, Mayo lose to Wicklow.
There’s pandemonium at Galway United as a Dundalk supporter (still smarting from his side’s non-promotion in 2006) pours blue paint on Terryland Park the night before an FAI inspection.
FRESH from helping Ireland to victory in the Rugby World Cup, Kees De Jong leads the charge as Ballyhaunis win the Mayo Intermediate Football Championship. However, their victory is overturned after an investigation finds that the star man’s name was not signed in Irish on the official team sheet.
Mick O’Dwyer reveals that he witnessed the Norman invasion of Ireland and played a leading role in the 1798 rebellion. He promises to tell all in his forthcoming autobiography.
The GAA announce that the International Rules series will resume in 2008 under strict guidelines. No physical contact will be permitted, 400 referees will officiate, and each Australian will play with one arm tied behind his back. The Aussies win the series by 200 points to 12.
DESPITE finishing with the largest points tally, Galway United are relegated from the Premier Division of the Eircom League because of their ongoing pitch problems. A local drunk singing ‘bluegrass’ songs is set upon by irate fans.
A referee in Tyrone reacts to verbal abuse in a club match by breaking one player’s jaw and locking his team-mates in the back of a van. The Ulster Council condemn the media for “making too much of a wee argument”.
As newly-promoted Sunderland suffer a spate of injuries in the Premiership, manager Roy Keane unveils Alf Inge Haaland as the club’s new rehabilitation consultant. “What happened between us is history,” says Keane, who subsequently releases a song entitled Love Your Enemy.
NEW Fine Gael TD Graham Geraghty says he’s “honoured to represent Fianna Fail in the Dail”, prompting a wave of faux pas. Eddie O’Sullivan says that he’ll “stay on as England coach” while Paul Galvin looks forward to “winning a third All-Ireland with Cork”.
Roy Keane reveals that he and Mick McCarthy now wear matching ‘Fond Friends Forever’ bracelets. But his self-help book Turn The Other Cheek is kept off the top of the bestsellers’ list by Mick O’Dwyer’s 700-page opus The Battle of Kinsale: An Eyewitness Account.
In his report to the Mayo GAA Convention, county Secretary Sean Feeney turns his attention to other elements of the traditional Irish breakfast. But his campaign is abandoned after The Saw Doctors’ version of Padraig Stephens’ song Rashers And Sausages goes to number one in the charts.