In today’s Hospital Pass, we look at how Joe Brolly has channelled Obi Wan Kenobi in his support of Donegal and examine the latest Kerryman to worship at the green and red altar.
Given the over the top media bashing they’ve received for their displays so far this year to date, we can’t understand why one of the most prominent pundits in the country would feel the need to go to a Donegal training session. If you’re appalled by the end product, why bother to witness the hours of labour that go into producing it?
Yet, this is exactly what happened in recent days when the great Joe Brolly turned up in Letterkenny to cast his eye over the Tír Chonaill men being put through their paces. Understandably, the rumours about his reasons for attending the session started spreading like wildfire.
Was it to hide from the legions of Cork people he had so riled with his scathing criticism of their All-Ireland winning footballers? Was it to steer clear from the many Mayo people wishing to gloat after Brolly had declared that Cork would “wipe the floor” with them in the quarter-final? Or, was he still chasing the intruder he had pursued through a golf course wearing only a pair of boxers and an angry expression on his face earlier this year?
It turns out it was none of the above and neither, as was quite bizarrely suggested, was he there at the behest of Pat Gilroy and the Dublin camp to act as a spy ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final clash between the counties next weekend.
It would seem that Joe was there only as a fan, certainly if you believe what he penned in his latest Gaelic Life column. It's as close to a love-letter to Jim McGuinness and company as you are likely to see, especially from somebody with such a wicked tongue as the kiss-blowing former Derry marksman.
Revealing that he stood clapping for 15 minutes after Kevin Cassidy’s wonderful winning point against Kildare, Brolly also sings the praises of the Donegal players for their belief and spirit and McGuinness for “creating an ingenious game plan that is virtually impossible to defeat”.
It is a trait of GAA supporters to become worried if their team is tipped to win by the pundits, particularly the wise sages on The Sunday Game. In that event, any superstitious Donegal supporters might prefer to look away now rather than read the last line of Brolly’s column.
“The force is with them (Donegal), And so am I," he wrote, with a love heart over the i.
Kerry revving up the Mayo hype machine
In yesterday’s Hospital Pass, we brought you quotes from ex-Kerry footballer Liam Hassett bigging up Mayo ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final with the Kingdom. Despite James Horan’s obvious attempts to play down the hype in his native land, it seems as if the cute hoors in Kerry are attempting to wreck all his carefully laid plans and whip supporters of the Green and Red into a frenzy ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Today, it’s Bryan Sheehan’s turn to worship at the altar of a team who were written off by all and sundry after the Connacht championship, but have suddenly acquired the world-beaters' tag after dethroning the All-Ireland champions.
"In training we have been trying to up the intensity ourselves ahead of Sunday, because we know, after watching Mayo in action against Cork, just what they bring to the table,” said Sheehan, unable to stop himself from quivering at the prospect of going head to head with the O’Shea brothers in the engine room.
“Their tackling was ferocious and they have a fierce desire to win and they will be the exact same on Sunday.”
Is there any real substance to the words of Sheehan and company or are they merely damning their opponents with faint praise ahead of yet another Mayo massacre? We'll see come Sunday.