30 Nov 2021

'Honour the gods'

'Honour the gods'

There’s only one show in town (and county) this week – our triumphant camogie champions; and a hearty comhghairdeas to each and every one of you, senior and intermediate alike. Girls ye were brilliant, magnificent, ye hurled out of your skins and served up a master class in hurling. From the get-go our seniors were fired up, on fire and firing on all cylinders. Cork hadn’t a chance. Well, they had, of course but our girls gave them none. Or very few. Kilkenny didn’t just ‘smother’ Cork, they totally, and utterly, ‘suffocated’ them. As for Shelly Farrells’s goal – what a classic, text book stuff, from the first pass to the moment the sliothar shook (and it fairly shook) the net. Jesus but my heart soared when that goal slammed in

.There really was only one team in it and had Kilkenny, by some god-awful fluke or twist of fate, lost that game I’d have slumped into a depression that no psychologist, psychiatrist or pill could redeem me from. But thank God (and His Blessed Mother & all the angels and saints in heaven – and I’m not a bit religious) it didn’t come to that. True grit, passion, determination, and skill, prevailed as captain Michelle Quilty lifted the O’Duffy Cup (after a twenty two year absence) and the black & amber fluttered truly, madly and proudly over the green sward of Croke Park. ‘The famine was over’ as Henry Shefflin tweeted The Sunday Game. And in fairness to ye girls, ye kept the wolf from the door this hurling season. And not for the first time, I might add. Senior camogie players, Ann Downey and Co. – thank you, thank you, thank you for a magnificent and uplifting game of hurling.

‘Talking’ of true grit, our Intermediates were peerless in their resilience and courage; what a come-back as they faced into the storm and swept Cork away (metaphorically speaking) blowing my ‘black & amber blues’ from two weeks ago, away. Such spirit; such unflinching focus, determination and skill to lift the Jack McGrath Cup. Thank you, thank you, thank you also. What a win! What a victory! What a double! And what a day for Kilkenny hurling. Girls (ladies, if you prefer) you lifted the mood of the city and county and gave us a Sunday in September to remember.

And then to cap it all, good old Carlow capturing an All Ireland camogie title and making their own bit of history. I was absolutely delighted for our neighbours not least because my father (God rest him) and all belonging to him were from Carlow. Indeed my da will be smiling sweetly (wherever he is) for a while to come. And sure while I’m at it, congrats to our other neighbours, Waterford, on their blistering annihilation of Galway in the U21 All Ireland Hurling Final. Well done the Déise.

Finally – the homecoming. In the rain. But a drop of rain wasn’t going to keep us from honouring our heroines. And I have to say I love the homecoming outside the Courthouse. Just like old times. And I could go down memory lane here to some precious nights on the steps of the courthouse (when Liam wasn’t as familiar as he has been of late) but I won’t. All I will say is well done to the organisers and all concerned and I loved that final touch – the Kilkenny Rose, Sarah Kearns, from Mooncoin, singing ‘The Rose of Mooncoin’. The perfect double ending to a perfect double. Oh, and as I stood there clapping and cheering I couldn’t help but notice the guy in front of me with the pony-tail in a leather jacket with ‘Vikings, Honour the Gods’ inscribed in amber on that black jacket. ‘Honour the gods’ indeed; except in this case: ‘Honour the Goddesses’, the goddesses of hurling: the All Ireland Senior, and Intermediate, Camogie champions of 2016.

Finally, finally – ladies (girls, if you prefer) if I had the wherewithal, and influence, I’d build a statue to ye!

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