Massive Deflections 'n' Sweet Connections
“no shoulda’s, no coulda’s and no woulda’s”
Wednesday, 25th April 2018

5.00am – The alarm bell rings. I feel I’m only after getting into the bed. I am as mad as a box of frogs. Usually the only time I’m up this early is if I’m falling in the door from Tul Na Ri or up to use the toilet. It’s too early for me. Head’s busting.

6.30am - A 15 minute run in the road listening to Seamus Fildara reminiscing about the time he met Big Tom in Culdaff Arms. The boys all gather in the Coffee Dock to we get a head count, a drop of tea and a scratch. For the second time this year we have no Wee Corey McBride. Nobody can understand where he went as Lorcan Bradley swore he saw him earlier on. It turns out he was trapped in a cubicle and couldn’t reach the door handle.

7.00am - Kevin Bradley twists the key of the bus and rallies out the gate. A bus packed with nervous men and a horrible smell of Old Spice deodorant coming from Brendan Doherty. Every traffic light on the Glentogher road is red. A horrible start to the day and to make the morning even worse I have Oisin Hession in one ear talking about all the trophies Clonmany FC won in the 90s and in my other ear is Daniel McCallion snoring.

 

8.00am - Our stop in Centra, Muff. Due to the possibility of Ciaran Jimmyroe starting in midfield, we ratchet strapped him down in the back seat in order to keep him from emptying the deli. This however is no good as he breaks free, tossing everything in his path to he gets to the deli counter. “2 bacon, 2 egg, 2 sausage, 2 rasher, 2 pudding - 1 black, 1 white, all stalked like a tower on top of each other and rolled up good n’ tight. If you’re having some tae, the milks over there, you’ll find sugar in the bowl. Says she “do you want some sauce on that?” Says I “I do in my…roll”.

12.30pm (half hour to kick off) - The changing room is as tense as a game of cards. Cade Cooke sets his bag under the number 9 shirt. Cade’s confident. Martin Cavanagh names the team. “Cade Cooke number 19”. Cade's regretting his actions, he slowly slides his bag away in the hope nobody notices. It’s too late, he has been spotted. After 2 minutes of laughter and a further 3 minutes laughing at the fact that Ciaran Jimmyroe and Conor O’Donnell are starting center-midfield in an All Ireland Final, the boys are ready!

1.00pm (kick-off) – I am stood beside Kieran Farren during the National Anthem, who makes an attempt to sing it. “Sinne Fianna Fail, ata faoi gheall ag Eirinn..” and he is humming us home to the end as he has “forgot” the lyrics. Hands shaken, hair combed, game-on!

1st Half – Carn stick to tradition and start poorly. Miss-placing passes, slipping 'n' sliding and wasteful shooting from Carn pave the way towards their first goal. A great bit of skill from Mikey Friel, slips Wee Corey through who takes a shot that first looks like it’s on its way for the River Liffey but manages to take a late dip and find its way into the net. 1-0

2nd Half – This half started great as Carn must of drank holy water at half time. Wee Corey was like Red Rum on the right side, but it’s a pity Jack Lackin was acting like Shergar on the left and seemed to go missing for a lot of the 2nd half. The rock solid partnership of Kieran Farren and Jake Harkin started a lot of the attacks from the back and this solidness allowed Daniel Houghton to grab a quick sleep, he didn’t waken up to the 3rd minute in injury time. Fionn McClure was playing his Alberto Moreno role very well. However, on the other side, Lee McLaughlin was doing everything he shouldn’t have been doing - instead of playing like Tony Cascarino, he was playing like Tony Hibbert. Due to a sudden hail shower I missed Conor O’Donnel’s goal, but a few boys mentioned that it was another massive deflection that guided it into the net. It goes down as an own-goal.

Full Time – For the second time in three years Carn are All Ireland champions. A formidable force of frightening footballers. Once we got the autographs signed and the RTÉ News team off our back, we headed back up the road.

8.30pm - Arrival back in Carndonagh. At this stage the best part of us are ready for our beds, and some just ready for a cuddle from their mothers (Lee). The hordes of people gathered from Glentogher school right up until we got to the school doors...The next time you’re likely to see this many people is when the Irish Open comes to Ballyliffen or when the Pope comes to Moville. Taste of India supplied a van full of pizzas, 6 for us and 6 for Ciaran Jimmyroe. We met with family, friends and pets. Standing for photos. Finally for me and the majority of the boys, away to the town to wet our whistles - for I am drier than the gums of a camel!