Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A moral victory

"A JAAAYSUS there's mildew on these shorts Johnny, I can't wear them," said McGoo, as he peered into a bag of rugby gear that had last seen daylight during a game against Cobh in early January.

After a night of what one could fairly describe as less-than-appropriate preparations, an early morning seconds match was about as welcome to myself and my housemate as a very thorough colonic irrigation.

But guarantees had been made and promises had to be kept so the two of us tripped and stumbled around the house, picking up items of gear - some with mildew, others without - and cursed the Irish team for having an afternoon match with the Italians meaning our game would have to be played at 12 noon.
Twelve noon? For a rugby match? Only a few hours after you've finished up drinking, dancing, sleazing and sweating the night away at a ball in the Clarion which - in fairness - was in aid of charity and therefore could justify any amount of porter consumption?

You heard me right. This wasn't going to be pretty for anyone involved, particularly the unfortunate second rows packing down behind me for the next hour and a half.

McGoo and I left our bunker on Ballinacurra for what should have been the short walk to Greenfields where we were scheduled to play Young Munsters. Unfortunately our bearings seemed to have been still a little discombobulated when we set off and we ended up getting quite lost in Ballinacurra, looking for a rugby pitch that we've each played on maybe 20 times over the years.

Thankfully, before long we recognised the backside of the Catholic Institute on our travels which we then circumnavigated to get back on track. Coynie had rang us by this point to say that he was on his way and was feeling as fresh as a daisy because he'd spent the previous night at home, taking it easy. The degenerate.

Any hope myself and the equally red-eyed, dry-throated McGoo had of taking it easy on the bench vanished when we walked in the door to see that - including our good selves - there were only 13 players. One more was coming, we were told, and chances are we would have to play the whole game with just 14 men.

"The ref won't allow this, it's madness. Isn't there some rule about having to have a full team?" I thought.

Not so, as it turns out. The referee came over to us just before kick off to ask if we had any more players coming and, upon hearing our answer, let out a very audible snigger and a "fair play to ye lads" but did not call off the game.

Off he trotted to get things underway while I stood there just sneering at him, like he was the Governer who could have saved me from the chair but said he'd watch me sizzle instead because it'd be better craic. The monster.

So, like a heavily wounded and outnumbered army, we took to war with about as much chance of winning as Maggie Thatcher in a 12-rounder with Floyd Mayweather.

But, like a team of highly-motivated hobos, we hassled them like a persistent wife, hit rucks as if there was chocolate in the middle, and despite our numerical disadvantage stayed in touch - and for a while, ahead of - Munsters.

Now wouldn't it be lovely if this story finished with us achieving an impossible victory? Well, unfortunately it was not to be but a final scoreline of 33-26 wasn't too shabby at all considering the various numerical, organisational and sobriety issues on our side.

And if Munster's close loss to the All Blacks in November is anything to go by, moral victories are still hugely appreciated in these parts so we can hold our heads high. I just can't help thinking what we could have done with 15.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

not a bad result considering the previous night excessess.