Published in Meath Chronicle 4th April Edition

Davids vs Goliaths in School Football Match

I had reason to visit my friend in the south midlands last week, and she had reason to attend a local inter-school sixth class football match.  Knowing as little as she does about football, she asked me to go along, so there’d  be at least one other person present who shared her complete ignorance.

“Remind me why we’re doing this?” I asked her in the car.

“Parish thing – a bit complicated” was her vague reply.

I nodded sagely,  pretending I knew about parish things and their complications.

“Just remember – our school are the red jerseys.”

Good to know. Helpful.

I have no interest in football.  It bores me to the point where I need psychiatric assistance. But Ann-Marie’s a good friend and  if I could help her out with her…um… “parish thing”, well why not?

Our team came running out, all proud smiles, waving at us like they were A-List celebrities, bless ‘em.

And then the other crowd came out. From a nearby village that shall remain nameless.  But I have a question for the mothers in that village.  What are you feeding your children?  And – more to the point – at what age do they start primary school?  Because while our lads all looked like little boys, their enemies – sorry, opponents – came out sporting beards and beating their hairy chests.  If I’d had a son on the home team, I’d have picked him up and ran.  No way would I have allowed any skinny little lad of mine to take on those hirsute neanderthals. They were feckin’ huge.

“We’re going to be hammered, look at the size of them fellas!” I gasped. “There’s no way they’re in sixth class – they did their Leaving Cert fifteen years ago.”

Ann-Marie,  used to my propensity for exaggeration,  answered coolly: “It’s a primary school match, they have to be in sixth class.”

“But they’re giants! They should be sent home, back up their beanstalks where they belong” and I began to chant  “Fee-Fie-Fo-Fum, I smell the blood of a -“

“Shut up, you’re making a show of me!” Ann-Marie hissed, and I relented.  For a while. Because very quickly, the home team – by no means a clutch of sparrowfarts – were beating the daylights out of the neighbouring Village Giants . Three points ahead in as many minutes they were, and the atmosphere was electric.  I asked Ann-Marie could I sing Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé?  No, she replied, I couldn’t. OK, how about a Mexican wave, then?

“This is Gaelic, not soccer!” she yelled at me, like she’d know the difference.

The home team’s success was short-lived, although those little Davids did manage to scare the Goliaths for a while.  But the Goliaths – trundling mammoths that they were – eventually copped that they were losing, and decided to use their unfair advantage of sheer size to squash our poor little fellers half to death.

The final score wasn’t pretty.  I still suspect those “boys” in the neighbouring parish which shall remain nameless, are being force-fed growth hormones. Possibly of an agricultural nature.

We were in the queue to leave as I remarked to Ann-Marie that the other crowd’s goalie was born in the wrong country, he’d have made a star baseball player.

“How d’you figure that?” she asked, knowing that I’m as uneducated in baseball as in any other game.

“Well, he wouldn’t need a mitt for a start, his hands are just the right size. He must have something wrong with his glands” I said, as I grinned and winked at the mother behind me.

“Which one do you mean?” the mother behind me asked.

“The other crowd’s goalie” I answered helpfully. “ You couldn’t miss him.  Six feet four, mutton chop sideburns, father of three by the look of ‘im. And he’s supposed to be twelve! Ha!”

“That’s my son” she replied. “ And you’re right, he’s not twelve. He won’t be twelve until August.”

Yeah, right.

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