Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Even without another ball being miskicked in anger down Turner's Cross way, the bestriped locals will be scratching their collective ceanns as they gaze upon the bare trophy cabinet. A season that oozed seductive whisperings after last term's triumph has had one too many and failed to deliver on most counts.

The foreplay wasn't bad - they almost cupped the Setanta Cup in their sweaty palms, but were undone in extra time by Drogheda. They performed well in Europe, but we can all claim that! In retrospect Shels double swoop was to prove the first of several self inflicted injuries for El Rico's outfit.

Apparently punctilious in word and deed, it reflects poorly on one of the games great characters to have presided over such a disappointing season. In his defence, there are few sides which could easily absorb the loss of Liam Kearney, Greg O'Halloran, George O'Callaghan and, effectively, John O'Flynn.

A seemingly casual attitude towards the League Cup ended in ignominy after one game, as local rivals Cobh gleefully holed their neighbours on their own turf . There followed the now infamous affair at Longford when the reigning League Champions again had their flag lowered in a cup contest. This time it was their opening tie of the FAI Carlsberg Cup, and we were left with more questions than answers.

One wonders if it's off the pitch where Cork have encountered the source of their demise. Graham Taylor once referred euphemistically to Paul Gascoigne's 'refuelling' habits between games. I am not speculating for a moment that any such atmosphere prevails in the hallowed halls of Turner's Cross, but.

Who will ever forget Rico's reference to 'being ridden rock solid' - by now a part of eL folklore. He famously followed up with abundant references to his relationship with his arse. I have, ahem, covered this ground before. To refresh; he said something along the lines of' I won't be bothering my arse anymore', and 'I have a pain in my arse.'

These may be considered by some to be innocuous comments- maybe it's my warped mentality- but they swooped back into my consciousness in the context of some recent comments by our outspoken hero. He was attempting to explain away some recent underwhelming performances from his charges, and his words sent shivers down the final fused vertebrae at the base of my spine - that was easier than checking the spelling of coccyx.

Damien blithely announced to a gasping press that he had been flogging some of his players all season. I was taken aback by his barefaced attitude to the antics of the Cork City squad, and his hand, act or part in same. This kind of revelation would be deemed ridiculous were it entwined in a storyline from Footballer's Wives or Dream Team. Am I being naive, is this the sort of thing which goes arm in arm with professionalism?

If it is, then I for one am going to polish my boots and get fit again. As another journeyman footballer I'm sure that I'm just the sort of signing that Damo will be looking to make in the near future.

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