Curve Ball: Rory McIlroy, Sepp Blatter and Joe Brolly ... we're sorry!
WE must start, this week, with an apology. And then another. And another. How could we have got things so hideously wrong? What part of our brain presumed we could ride roughshod over the sensitivities of others, all in pursuit of a few cheap laughs?
So we'd like to begin with a profuse apology to Joe Brolly ... for once exploding in guffaws at one of his studiously rehearsed punch lines.
True, that was a long, long time ago; and we've subsequently discovered that our esteemed legal eagle is only interested in advancing cogent, consistent analysis about the state of Gaelic football ... as opposed to flip-flopping between glorious praise of the swashbuckling Dubs (2013) and denunciations of Dublin's gung-ho naivety (2014); between bowing at the altar of Jim McGuinness (2012) and decrying the blanket defence scourge propagated by Jim and his various UIster disciples. All the while smirking down at Pat Spillane.
Next up, we must apologise to the Black Death ... for being compared by others (namely Joe) to Cavan football. The Black Death was far more prolific, killing between 30 and 60pc of Europe's total population in the 14th century. Terry Hyland has a long, long way to go.
Moving apologetically along, we must seek the forgiveness of Rory McIlroy for somehow mistaking him with the world's greatest golfer. That must have been his birdie-blitzing doppelganger, as opposed to the real-life bogey man who followed his Wentworth woes with yesterday's Paddy-last 80-shot tour of Royal County Down.
Still, you think Rory's had a bad start to his Bank Holiday weekend? It could be worse: he could be Sepp Blatter, to whom we must now apologise for being the innocent fall guy in a battle of political intrigue between the FBI and Kremlin. We're sorrier still that, in his hour of need, Sepp's one true ally answers to the name Vladimir Putin.
Surely only one man can lead FIFA out of this morass of corruption, of alleged kickbacks and nutmegs, backhanders and backheels. Only one man has the required neck, possessing all the resolute qualities of a jockey's crown jewels, to lead a once-great footballing institution in this time of need ...
Sorry, Mr Delaney, your time will come. Brendan Rodgers has just been elected president of FIFA by popular acclaim.
Moving swiftly along, apologies to all you long-suffering Liverpool fans for briefly getting your hopes up.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Paranoia, we'd like to apologise to Davy Fitzgerald - and his Banner backs - for the fact that so many frees were awarded against them last Sunday.
Speaking of the murky world of punishable fouls in the GAA, we must retrospectively retract any earlier inference that Jamie O'Sullivan of Cork could be facing a suspension for something that may have happened involving a suspiciously high elbow in the vicinity of Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly during the Allianz Football League final. Clearly nothing to CCCC here; move along ...
On a more generalised level, we feel compelled to deliver an abject apology to all for the heartfelt state of Leinster football. And sorry for the mixed-up metaphors too.
Last, but certainly not least, we can only sympathise with all the cheesed-off sub-editors who - henceforth - won't be whetting their lips and priming their puntastic cursors to include the word 'Cheddar' in a hurling match report.
Then again, the Laois county board could be really bold and appoint a Swiss cheese well past its sell-by-date. One called Sepp Blarney.