“In those streets where you grew up, there you will live, and there you will die”. The preceding words represent one of the most famous quotes from the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. Certain circumstances regarding what remain important aspects of life give the words much current relevance. Now read on…
Absence need not signify apathy. Nor should distance amount to disinterest. Out of sight doesn’t always mean out of mind. What may come across as clichéd is, in the instance of the body of this article, genuine and wholly meant. Out of sight doesn’t always mean out of mind.
One would like to say that a quarter century of attending GAA matches has been achieved at the time of typing. Circumstance hasn’t allowed the feat to be accomplished however, yet. It will though, no matter what. Not being able to get to matches, however, does not mean that interest in, passion for and touch with happenings therein has been lost. A marathon will be ran before that ever occurs.
Flippantly foisting clichés upon your readership is one of the utmost foibles in this trade. That said, it’d be hoped that the majority would understand when I reinforce the fact that it’s always the cause of much angst when games – or other events of interest – are missed and that proclamations of being there in spirit are genuine and not simply dispatched in some flimsy manner just for the sake of so doing.
The Cavafe quote was encountered courtesy of Con Houlihan and how the gentle giant managed to continually impart his linguistic genius right up to the time of his passing though debilitated has always been a comfort in that it underlined there’s always a way. Furthermore, the Greek writer’s words cement the inclination that no matter where one might end up in the world – in body or mind – we are truly never far away from what matters most to us.
And, the GAA action there’s been an ability to study thus far this season has significantly heightened anticipation for when the opportunity arises to take in a game in person. Cognisance of perspective and prevailing conditions must shape judgement on the success or otherwise of given events.
In one sense, setting goals or targets not only opens the door to a self depreciation in terms of performances delivered but also affords detractors ample opportunity to gleefully dissect any diminishment of performance which may materialise. Balancing such thoughts, however, is a feeling that entities having and displaying ambition is a positive sign to be warmly applauded.
In Meath’s case in the National League, aiming for promotion out of Div. 2 is only as it should have been. For all that, though, a crestfallen feeling prompted by a gut instinct that the second half capitulation against Laois which resulted in the erosion of a seven point cushion was ultimately what thwarted the promotion bid is tempered by an even stronger sense that inability to attain the desired elevation may not have been such a bad development at all. Thus, this corner would readily concur with Mick O’Dowd’s assertion that he or his players should have no regrets from the spring campaign.
Granted, the line of thought that playing better teams will bring about improvement carries much credence. However, a realistic appraisal of Meath’s current overall standing in the overall context of the game would surely conclude that encounters with teams such as Armagh and Fermanagh and Derry and Tyrone will be upgrade enough compared to the calibre of opponent challenged during the most recent spring campaign.
Midfielder Conor Gillespie – whose return must count as a considerable boon – was in my view correct in his sense that a realistic analysis of whether he and his colleagues have in any way bridged the gap between themselves and their most fervent rivals can only be arrived at when the two are together on the one field.
In all honesty, though, gut feeling is that tackling the aforementioned teams – regardless of what championship run Meath end up embarking upon – will be challenging in the extreme for the time being. What’s absolutely certain is that reversals against some of those in the upper echelons of the game – were they to occur – would do nobody any good.
Still, there’s an opportunity, maybe an onus, to move on from the league campaign with positivity. Perhaps the greatest other factor to be derived out thereof is momentum. Often the greatest – if not often acknowledged – asset anyone can have on their side. Mind you, challenging momentum for top billing must be the return of wounded warriors such as Shane O’Rourke, Kevin Reilly, Eamon Wallace and Gillespie.
Their collective return, plus the inclusion of players like Conor McGill, Brian Power, Nicky Judge and Mark O’Sullivan has bolstered matters with needed strength and depth which should enable an elongated summer run.