Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dear Mister Stan,

Ticket. Change for bus. Folding money for pub. Borrowed jersey; owner working, he'll not miss it. Mental note, watch out for the drips from the kebab. And we're off. End of season friendly, Ireland host the touring Chilean squad. Not just any Irish team though, one with 2 eircom League players in it, and a good chance that they'll both get a run.

I'm feeling a little summery and exotic as it hasn't rained yet today, so I'm having a slice of lemon in a pint of Hoegaarden. Join the throngs as we make our way towards the North Terrace. Nice one, no sun in my eyes, bit of elbowroom.

First half. Plan A appears to be; Give it to Duffer.
Plan B appears to be; Give it to Reidy, and he'll play a crossfield ball to Duffer. Clever.

The half drags by. We applaud Arthur Fitzsimons at half time. Apparently he's a nice man. There were over 41,000 people in the ground; thankfully only one of them was nice. Second half begins, surely they'll be better.

They aren't. Jason Byrne warms up in front of us. No one around me gives him a cheer or any kind of recognition. This p1sses me off. I know if he gets on he'll make a decent effort. I want some decent effort for my shekels. This shower of perma- tanned ladyboys have no interest in playing this game. No not the Chileans; they are taking this game seriously, as illustrated by their excitement when they take a one goal lead.

Groan. Ah, substitutions! Byrner gets on, but Ireland are crap, he'll be lucky to impress in this game. Joe Gamble doesn't get on. I would have liked to see the little soldier getting in amongst these lads, rattle a few cages, let them know they're in a game. Gammy Kavanagh does the simple thing, collect the ball and pass the ball. Immediate difference. McGeady is hyperactive, wants the ball, wants to run at the defence. Harte is.......apparently hopeful of a return to the Premiershit.

It's laughable, he's living out in sunny Spain with his bags packed ready to return to the temperate climate of Northern Europe. His established international counterparts couldn't play to their full capacity last night as they wondered had they packed enough suncream and if the airport would be busy. A financial success for the FAI, in spite of what Stan says I don't see how he could have learned much from the game. Other than not to bother at this time of year next time around.

The subs, who had something to prove, gave it their all. The starting 11 [Given excluded] were choosy in their efforts; save for the last 15 mins or so, it was still painful to watch though. And even more so when we were informed that we were to be subjected to 6 minutes of added time. I never leave a game early; if Georgie O'Callaghan had appeared to me with a lift home I think I'd have left the Garden of Eden.

We should be trying out fringe players in these games, the glamour boys are not interested. They just wanted out of Landsdowne and away to their villas in Portugal or wherever, and we paid in to watch that. A perfect opportunity to throw in a couple of eircom League players from the off. They're flying now, not winding down like the superstars. Give them a chance Stan.

Good news, no drips on jersey.

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