Friday, April 06, 2007

AUSSIE RULES

I opened the door to find a young man in one of those hats the Bushmen in Australia wear; without the bobbing corks. His mission, should I choose to entertain it, was to lure my custom back to eircom with an irresistible offer. The build-up to the Setanta clash between Derry City and Drogheda United was about to start. I invited him in, but explained that I needed to keep track of what was going on on my aged screen.

I felt slightly embarrassed as Felix and Pat batted awkwardly, remembering the Aussie sport presentations I had seen during my holiday in the Southern hemisphere. The salesman was into his sport; had a mate who went for Pats, even. I relaxed, did the deal and bade him good evening; he'd be back for some number or something tomorrow. I even felt that I might just be supporting the league a bit by returning to eircom, that'll be washed away when the bill comes in I suppose.

Two days later he turned up...'I got that number meself mate.' Cool.
'Hey, I was at that game last night; I've got a mate who goes for, is it Bohs?' Yep. I sheepishly explained how I had had to abort my plans to attend late on Tuesday afternoon. 'Great game, I loved it.'

I was blown away by this; the first time I'd ever engaged, or been tolerated, in a conversation about our league outside my own social parallelogram. And it was with an Australian; they can't even play Gah properly.

Speaking of the Gah; what is the story with Pat Jennings?

Goalkeepers more often cause their defence problems by not coming off their line, he seems to be afraid to stay on his. Is his goal line haunted? The man is liable to pop up anywhere in his box. Yes, yes, a good goalkeeper dominates his area, yes, yes. But he's not a good goalkeeper.

When PJ does make his spectacular mal-interventions he is more likely to 'break' the ball a la Gah midfielders. For the uninitiated, in Gah this involves rising high to knock the ball down - hopefully to a colleague - as opposed to catching it cleanly. He has struck terror with his antics into the heart of a previously sound defence.

Combine this with the tweaks that the new manager is making to the Derry City side, and you have a team in a state of turmoil. One of their chief goal threats has been jettisoned; although early signals were that Nutsy wasn't going to accommodate Ciaran Martyn's style in his plans.

It was noticeable that the Sligoman's runs had been reeled in during his early season appearances, as PF brought his beloved cagey game to the Brandywell. It's early entrances yet for the new boss, so only a foolish man would write off Derry City's chances just yet.....

Silence.......

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