Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PREGNANT PAUSE

It has always been one of my favourite phrases; we laughed conspiratorially as our First Year English teacher introduced it to us. He smiled benignly to himself, basking in the success of his annual implant; he saved 'social intercourse' for another day. So this is where the eL fan finds himself now.

The season is all but over; there's a piffling play off to be decided, and the more pressing matter of an FAI Cup Final - with the promise of European and Setanta Cup action the glittering prize.

Cork City and Shelbourne fans scan the media and fora daily, hoping to find no news of absconding players, as their respective clubs strive to find a foothold on the slippery face of the even keel. At the time of writing, the deposed Champions look to have the safer grip, but they are haemorhaging talent again. Neale Fenn, one of the classiest acts in the league has followed the shadows of Liam Kearney, Greg O'Halloran, George O'Callaghan and Kevin Doyle through the Turner's Cross exit door. Danny Murphy is zipping up his bags, Joe Gamble and Roy O'Donovan are cooing at their suitors. Neal Horgan is eyeing the others, while Billy Woods has been embarrassed by the delay in offering him a new contract. No club would easily replace such a gallery of footballing talent.

Up at Tolka Park, the Wanderly Wagon trundles on. Pat Fenlon is being wined and dined on Steven Kenny's salary, and the changing rooms resemble the reception area of a Parisian boudoir; with the residents ready to swing into action at the ringtone of a mobile. Some may already have been fitted out for their new striped strip. The Santa letters of the Shelbourne squad would make interesting reading.

Every player in the land is hoping for a call from Sean Connor's lair, deep in the bowels of Dalymount Park. Things are strangely quiet at United Park, but that's when a manager gets his best work done.

Apart from the recurring speculation regarding transient players, what else is there to keep us hooked? What some in the South East claim to know, this mere mortal is left to wonder. The hottest release this side of New Year's Eve will be the unveiling of the constituents of next season's Premier and First Divisions.

After the monotony of the endless second-guessing, the promise of a giddy high looms; when fans get to berate and debate ad nauseum, the decisions of those entrusted with this thankless task. Oh the silly season is just around the corner for sure!

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