Monday, August 14, 2006


Even for a confirmed cynic like myself the sight of the usually innocuous number 6 alongside his bedoubled brethren gives me the willies. And I'm not even Johnny McDonnell.

The likeable [for he's considerably stronger than me and has an air of Sicilian Fraternity about him] St. Patrick's Athletic boss must reel in horror, silver crucifix in hand, when presented with the current league table.

Played 18, won 6, drew 6, lost six. Repeat it slowly, menacingly - it's scary. Were opposing fans to chant it zombie like it would be sure to completely unnerve the Richmond Reds, sending them scurrying to their leader's tracksuit for protection.

Back in the heady weeks of May and early June Pats sniffed scrotums with the top dogs in the Premier division. They looked capable of more as the goals of Molloy and Keegan despatched would be challengers insolently. Twenty points out of thirty-three. Champions Cork arrived in Inchicore and were comprehensively beaten; Derry managed a goal and a point; only Drogheda, who were themselves going through a claret patch managed to deprive the Saints of a point on a filthy night in Dublin.

John was crunching the numbers. A third of the way through the season; multiply the points gained by three and you get...... three times the points I think. Then it was World Cup time; 'see you after the break' as the goofy Bud presenters might say.

And back they came - with heads spinning wildly, eyes gouging, speaking in foreign tongues. No, they'd already had the Cork fans up! The squad was improved. Prodigal Fahey was amongst the incoming.

Then there was the Expungsion; a rarely performed ritual which cost them three points. They failed to score against UCD. They were dismissed like lowly curs by Bohs and Longford; again failing to trouble the scorekeeper.

There were opportunities to remind themselves of happier times when they faced Shels and Derry, but the league's pedigreed canines cocked a leg while each put three past McDonnell's floundering eleven.

Victory against an improving Sligo side soothed any naysayers; beating Bray this season is nothing to brag to your bitch about. Seven out of twenty four!

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