This weeks Stuff and Nonsense from John Hogan
Squiddy shows the balls to sink Shannon
WELL would you look at this for treachery. I take one week’s holidays and they oust me from my comfy spot just inside the back page – where I could generally go about my business unnoticed – and move S+N here, where every one of my poorly thought-out observations will be open to scrutiny.
With that in mind, I suppose I’d better tread carefully in this first instalment in my new position of prominence. No mention then of my debaucherous, scandal-riddled holidays.
Instead I’ll revert to a tale of true heroism, of sacrifice for the greater good, of throwing yourself on a live grenade for the sake of your troop; the tale of Gerard “Squid” Collins.
Now I’ll admit that Ger’s nickname doesn’t exactly inspire thoughts of bravery beyond belief, but he proved last weekend that you shouldn’t judge a squid by its cover.
It was during a seconds game for Bruff against Shannon on Saturday that Squid forever etched his name into the list of Kilballyowen heroes.
For those who are not members of the rugby fraternity, beating Shannon – even if it is in a seconds game – is a nice little scalp to claim. It feels wonderful to have something with which to lord over the Shannonites later that night as you strut around town like a man who just beat Richie McCaw in an arm wrestle with his bad hand.
The omens before last Saturday’s game were indeed good – not least because of the return of Yours Truly following a long injury imposed lay-off. But without the sacrifice of Squiddy, the visitors would have been sitting smugly on their stools in The Office that evening as they discussed yet another victory.
His moment of glory came at a 22 Drop Out. Again for the uninitiated this is when one team has a free kick from inside the 22 metre line while the other side stand at various locations on the other side of the line anticipating the kick. Squid was standing within only a few feet of the kicker.
Those in the know are already aware that the players standing closest to the kicker often jump as the ball is kicked, knowing that in all likelihood they will come nowhere near blocking it but will look like they’re making an effort nonetheless.
The Shannon kicker, however, completely mishit his kick meaning our hero not only blocked the ball but jeopardised future generations of Squids in the process by taking the leather rocket right in the crown jewels.
Instead of being stuck well back in our own half, Shannon were still camped close to their own try line thanks to Squiddy – who at this point looked like an oversized king prawn curled up on the grass. So great was the thud that the Shannon kicker allowed play to run on by him as he inquired if our prop was still alive.
The loudest cheer of the day – as well as a few predictable yells of “count ‘em” – greeted Squid as he struggled unsteadily to his feet. One would imagine that seeing a man, who’d just had his nerve centre used for target practice, stand up for more punishment was enough to make the Shannon boys think this might not be their day.
Sure enough their fears were proven correct, as seeing Squid stand up – although not with quite as straight a back as before – served us as motivation to power on and claim a rare victory over the townies.
Rumours are now abound that the committee is considering having a statue erected at the clubhouse entrance, depicting the moment when leather rocketed into groin, securing yet another historic Bruff victory.
Partridge strikes again
KEEPING up the rugby theme, with the week that’s in it, why in the name of all that is oval was Pat Kenny given the opportunity to interview Jonah Lomu last weekend?
Ireland’s answer to Alan Patridge already had a reputation for having the charisma of a damp sock, but on Friday last he sent the needles flying to the top of the cringe-ometer.
Displaying a knowledge of rugby that would make Kerry Katona seem like Edmund Van Esbeck, poor Pat went through the interview making it painfully apparent to the viewer that he barely knew why this Lomu character was Late Late-worthy.
When rugby’s first global superstar modestly referred to the 1999 World Cup game in which he famously scored four tries to hammer England, he may as well have been talking about the semi-finals of the South Leinster Tiddlywinks Championships for all the interest that Pat showed.
“Tackle him Jonah, just tackle him please!” we screamed at the screen but unfortunately the gentle giant remained seated, looking more than a little perplexed as to why this little Irishman seemed to know so little about him.