The Galtee Mountain Boy

And so after Christy Cooney handed over the silverware, and Eoin Kelly delivered his Captain’s Eulogy, Tipp sub and last year’s starting midfielder Pat Kerwick took the mike on the Hogan Steps for a stirring rendition of the Galtee Mountain Boy. “I joined the Flying column in nineteen and sixteen. . .”

Surely this would be the tipping point for the fans to break the levee. . .

But as the ballad unfolded, and Kerwick recounted the exploits of Sean Moylan and Dan Breen, the delirious Tipp fans sat in their seats and listened, or stood cheeks pressed against the plexiglass fence around Hill 16.

I looked with a mixture of bemusement and disappointment at the serried ranks of Stewards in their end of match positions doing their job, and the Tipp supporters penned in. Jesus, if their forefathers had been this pliant the 26 would still be under the jackboot of colonial oppression.

Undeterred, Kerwick kept her lit: “Arrested by Free Staters and Sentenced for to Die. . .”

Still the Stewards held the orange barriers up, the last few streamers floated from the stage managed production. I could feel the glow of self satisfaction from the Ard Comhairle section.

“The men that fought for liberty and died without a sigh, May their cause be ne’er forgotten, said the Galtee Mountain Boy.”

An Iron Maiden tune burst into me head for no reason “I’m not a prisoner, I’m a free man. . .”.

Indeed. Suddenly, there was a peal of thunder and a crack of lightning,  loud as the clash of an ash stick breaking. Dan Breen turned violently in his grave to bellow at Micheal Cusack what the fook was going on.

“I thought this was an Irish Association,” he thundered at the Founder. “If I was up there I wouldn’t be standing behind yon window on the Hill, watching a Tipp man lift Liam with a Corkman watching on.”

“Time’s is all changed Dan,” was all Cusack could muster, as his own successor beamed in pride at the well organised scene below him, health and safety niceties observed, risk assessment boxes ticked and due diligence observed. This after a game in which thirty grown men set about each other with stix. Is the world gone mad or what?

Years ago winning teams used to light up a fag on the Hogan steps. Imagine the difficulties that would have caused, had Noel McGrath decided to spark a Major in celebration.

But, calmness reigned. The Croke Park sward never looked as green after a game. Afterwards the airwaves were jammed with the PTB spin doctors proclaiming what a spectacle the presentation was. It was a spectacle indeed and plenty made a spectacle of themselves with this charade.

And as for The Galtee Mountain Boy, the music in my heart I bore, long after it was heard no more. In fact everything after the final whistle blew was a bit of a bore. Everything before it was the exact opposite.

“Farewell to Tipperary said the Galtee mountain boy.”

Indeed. And off I went home.

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