THE pitch has been cleared.
Westlife have gone.
Where I’m not sure.
And care less.
The congress boys and girls from the previous week have gathered up all their belongings.
Long white flowing ‘costumes’.
Royal Ascot has come and gone.
The queen is back home.
Counting her shillings.
And Croke Park is back hosting what it was built to host in the first place.
Football and hurling.
It’s always good to see the GAA authorities allowing games to be played in the middle of the summer at headquarters.
Fair play to them.
And so it’s Leinster Senior Football Championship semi final time.
A double header.
Wouldn’t have been that way before ‘The Tiger’ departed.
Still it’s nice that Croker is open.
The champs are back in town.
As are Wexford (after last year didn’t think we see them back this side of another ‘Congress’).
The Lilies return to their second home (or should that be their first home)?
And of course the fourth team to grace the sacred turf this weekend are the boys from Meath.
Hard to keep the Royals off the front pages these days.
Did you notice?
What with Royal Ascot (and wasn’t it great to see the queen getting a much needed winner in her jubilee year on Friday last).
But lo and behold what does Saturday mornings papers bring only more Royal news.
Martin McGuinness to shake the Royals’ hand.
Hold on a minute, I say to myself.
This is going a bit too far.
I know Meath have been going through a rough old patch of late.
Relegated to Division 3.
Chairman Allen trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to get rid of the Banty lad).
Poor showing in my book Barney.
Did no one ever tell you it’s the rock our democracy is built on.
You only call for a vote when you have the numbers to win!
These Royals have a lot to learn yet.
But what is this, I say to myself.
The Banty Lad has not only recruited John Evans from Tipperary and drafted in one of Meath’s favourite sons, Trevor Giles, but it seems he has gone the whole hog now and recruited Martin McGuinness as well.
Could it be Mr. McGuinness role will be confined to shaking Barney Allen’s hand?
Banty won’t be griping it anyway.
He might be gripping something but I can assure you it won’t be Barney’s hand.
Regardless of the result.
But, I wonder to myself, could Martin McGuinness’ new role, now that he has confirmed he is meeting up with the Royals, be a more pro-active role.
A more ‘hands on’ approach
He could take the Royals on some shooting practice possibly.
In fairness to Martin he has been known to be fairly accurate once he gets the target in sight.
One could argue that he has retired from that kind of role for some time now but you know what they say, once a good shot always a good shot.
It’s something that I hope and pray (only in emergencies) McGeeney and his back room boys have been taking into consideration as they prepare for Sunday’s showdown.
Remember there is a lot at stake here.
If the Lilies can get one over (again) on Meath it could well be the second time in a few years they would be responsible for sending Banty to the county managers’ dole queue.
But I have to admit it does sound a little bit desperate to me.
A tad extreme.
Still, you have to give Banty some credit, he must have some quare powers of persuasion.
For as long as I can remember Martin McGuinness has said he would have no truck with the Royals, good bad or indifferent and now just a bloody week before the big game he jumps on board.
Does he know something the rest of us have missed?
What has Banty promised him?
It’s worrying all the same.
But you know the real disappointing aspect of this entire episode is the fact that not one of the leading GAA scribes have commented on this move.
You know those hacks who have been keeping a closer eye on Kildare than any other county in the entire 26 (sorry Martin) 32 counties.
It seems not one of the scribes could find the time in their busy schedule to investigate if Mr. McGuinness has moved into a house in Navan, Newtown or even Nobber to make his move entirely legit.
Not that it would be the first time that Mr. McGuinness would have stayed in a house of ‘convenience’ I would imagine but that’s an aside at this stage.
Is there one rule for Martin moving in with The Royals and another for a lad who only wants to play a bit of ball with Kildare because the lads he used to play with won’t allow him to kick their ball any more?
It seems it’s okay for a Carlow man to go to Wicklow.
And when he gets fed up, return to Carlow.
It’s okay for a few Kildare lads to head to Cork.
And win them a couple of All Irelands in the process.
There is no problem a Longford man (when he can’t get his place) moving to Leitrim.
Even a Tipperary hurler moving to Dublin got the okay (but after last week he might do what the Carlow man did and return from whence he came).
But the list is endless.
Unless of course you are a Cavan man and want to move to Kildare.
I fear there are double standards being operated here.
And I don’t think it’s good enough.
Not a word from The Royal’s main spokesman, Mr. O’Rourke.
No comment from Spillane, Brolly, or the Cork man (who is probably too busy shining the two All Ireland medals he would never have set sight on but for the help of two Kildare imports).
After last week’s ‘investigation’ into the carry-on of one Davy Fitz on the sideline, surely the national broadcaster should now investigate this coming to arms of McGuinness and The Royals.
I am now here calling on the CCC, the CCCC, the Management Committee of the GAA and if needs be, The Dispute Resolution Authority, to hold an immediate investigation as to why Martin McGuinness can join The Royals, willy nilly, while at the same time Kildare are held to ridicule as they try to legitimately facilitate a poor defenceless Cavan man that no one loves any more in his home patch.
Let’s hope that this latest move by McGuinness to throw in his lot with The Royals is deemed totally unconstitutional; totally out of order and is decomissioned with immediate effect!