Never in my near four decades on this big round ball was it ever envisaged the following words would be uttered here, but, I cannot wait for the GAA season to be over. And I couldn’t care less if it never re-started. Look, it’s only a phase. I know that, and anybody who has spent any more than five minutes with me will know it too.
But it’s just too painful. Too upsetting. Upset caused by a combination of Micheal Martin and John Horan. Gut feeling is that if Leo Varadkar was still Taoiseach, a limited attendance would’ve been allowed at sporting events. Especially at the likes of the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park where social distancing could’ve been easily catered for.
While the Association towing the line unfortunately wasn’t a surprise, the President’s dictum that winning teams couldn’t even bring trophies home was a step too far. Even the prohibition of homecoming gatherings wouldn’t seem so bad, but not allowing them take the trophies home is as wrong as it was unwarranted.
People aren’t stupid. Teams could and would have drawn up rotas among themselves whereby each panel member could have the fruits of their sacrifice and efforts for a set time. To have photos and the like taken with family, loved ones and friends. As would be standard practice whenever a club or county team wins anything anyway.
Perhaps most surprising and disappointing was the fact that, for once, the Brains Trust here didn’t follow the lead of those across the water. Normally, if the UK said they were going to land a rocket on the moon we’d ask had the aircraft a passenger seat! Yet, on the one occasion following Boris Johnson mightn’t have been a bad idea, the Irish baulked at the possibility.
Not that it matters now anyway, because, just when we thought it was safe to feel normal again, London has been put back into Tier 3. Purely coincidental I’m sure, with the busiest, best, and most important part of the English football season and two of the greatest highlights of the Christmas sporting period – the World Darts Championships and the King George Chase at Kempton ready for the off.
Anyway, before my blood pressure combusts, let’s take a look at the action of the arrowsmiths which – apart from the presence of a certain beautiful lady in my life – is one of the few things which makes the Christmas period palatable for this wordsmith. In the last piece produced here about matters on the oche, it was stated that ante post wagers had already been put down on Gary Anderson at 28/1 and Rob Cross another former King of the Palace at a ridiculously generous 50/1.
As is the norm, the defending Champion, this year that being Scotland’s Peter Wright is the headline act on opening night when he takes on the winner of a Preliminary Round clash – most likely Steve West – in the evening’s closing encounter. However, from an Irish and indeed very local perspective, all eyes will be on Keane Barry from Duleek Co Meath.
The bespeckled redhead made a tremendous impact at both the Alexandra Palace at the Professional Darts Corporation showpiece and also when performing in Indigo within the 02 of London during what turned out to be the last hurrah of the British Darts Organisation’s main event. Where, as well as going very deep into the main event he also gathered up the World Youth Championships before claiming the World Junior equivalent also.
Barry’s first round opponent will be the tricky Jeff Smith who showed some flashes of class during the recent Players Championship Finals in Coventry. However, hope and expectation would be that the young Meath lad should be capable of going deep into the tournament. My intention is to post an update every day either here or on some of our social media outlets.