It’s an unfortunate back handed compliment that, when you’re the best at what you do, there’s always somebody waiting to knock you off your perch. When you don’t disappear fast enough, they get ratty and try to dislodge you by nefarious means.
As my late father correctly observed about a certain political party, if they can’t beat you on the scoreboard, they’ll try and destroy you with dirt. Experience has painfully proven that it tends to be a very similar scenario with GAA matters.
Look, picking teams of the year or decade or century or millennium or All Star selections, whatever example one likes to use are subjective matters of opinion. I mean, how, in the name of all that is Holy has Colm O’Rourke only got three of the latter named gongs? Granted, he was rode out of another certainty when Mickey Kearns of Sligo scandalously sent him off. Thankfully, that hideous dictum has been culled.
Just for the sake of balance here to prove I’m in not in full rant mode, the All Star football selection of 1991 was ridiculous for different reasons. It is not that in any way the seven Meath winners were begrudged, obviously. Rather, that it was a blatant insult to a terrific Down team.
Fast forward to the modern day and the Meath lady footballers have gloriously taken the county to sporting heights commensurate to what Colm and his colleagues did all those years ago.
Under Eamonn Murray’s guidance, Meath returned to the top table of Ladies Football. Not only that, but they have taken over the throne. Winning All Ireland titles in three consecutive years. Having lost three finals prior to that. Not to mention a triumvirate of National League titles.
Meath have proven themselves to be the best team in the game at present. Will they remain as such? Who knows. But they sure as hell deserve proper acknowledgement of their current status as such.
Instead, on Saturday last, they were snubbed in one of the most ludicrous, unjust farces sport is ever likely to see. Before getting into the nuts and bolts of it, it must firstly be recognised that six of our superstars were rightly honoured. Monica McGuirke, Shauna Ennis, Emma Troy, Aoibhin Cleary, Emma Duggan and Stacey Grimes.
Yes the following is complete parochial bias, but I couldn’t give a sh** at this stage. How in the name of Jesus did Vikki Wall not get an All Star? But it wasn’t only our superstar who was shamefully shunned.
Are you going to tell me Niamh O’Sullivan – Player Of The Match in the All Ireland Final – didn’t deserve an award? Mary Kate Lynch? Orlagh Lally? If you told it to an ass he’d kick you!
As bad as the team selection was, how none of Mary Kate, Orlagh, Emma or Vikki were chosen as Player Of The Year is actually laughable it’s so wrong. No disrespect to the award winner, the excellent Niamh McLaughlin of Donegal, but how a player from a county that was beaten in a League Final and weren’t even in the All Ireland Final get picked over some representative of the team that took home league and championship trophies is baffling.
Actually, while I think of it, just illustrate that it wasn’t only Meath who were hard done by, the omission of Dublin’s Hannah Tyrell was also grossly unfair.
Dismay felt within Meath presently could possible be shrugged off as whataboutery were it not for the fact that there’s a very strong suspicion that Orlagh and Vikki in particular were somehow being punished for taking up the offers from AFLW. Ditto Blaithnaid Mackin of Armagh who was every bit as much entitled to be honoured as was her sister Aimee.
I don’t recall Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy, Sarah Rowe or Cora Staunton being myteriously and controversially left out. Fear not, we know our Vikki is the best there is.
Upset and dissapointment felt throughout the county will dissipate with a combination of time and, more so, realisation that the girls have the Celtic crosses in their back pockets that mean more than anything else.
In another sporting arena, Milwall fans often come in for a lot of grief and they have a chant about their feelings regarding same which we can borrow now for ourselves. Nobody likes us, we don’t care!!
Furthermore, if anybody thought those who are now Davy Nelson’s charges might lack for motivation as they go in search of more glory, they’ve just been refuelled. Hell hath no fury like women scorned!