Darragh McManus: Why I love the Dubs and I'm a culchie
The National Hurling League doesn’t actually finish until this weekend, but the GAA championships are already upon us.
On Sunday the football kicks off in Connacht, with Galway taking on New York (I know). Meanwhile in the small-ball game, Antrim are among four teams taking part in the Leinster championship opening rounds.
I said “I know”, didn’t I? Geography is a fluid thing in GAA.
Anyway, while I will be hooting and hollering for my beloved Tipperary this summer, I’ve also always had a soft spot for Dublin footballers. This makes me feel like something akin to a race traitor, in terms of the urban-rural divide (or in Ireland, the Dublin-everywhere else divide).
Us culchies aren’t supposed to support the Dubs. We’re supposed to comprise the fabled “31 other counties” who always shout against those dastardly city slickers. We’re supposed to snigger maliciously when Dublin fall short, and say things like, “They’re too soft” or “That showed them” or “Not such a big-shot now, are you?”
You know – stupid junk.
But this countryman is made of different stuff. As I say, I’ve always had a great fondness for the Dubs. This goes right back to early childhood, when I cheered Barney Rock’s equalising goal against Cork in 1983, much to the disgust of my father, brother and uncles. Sorry, lads.
Actually, that match was probably the beginning of my mad love affair with Dublin footballers.
Here’s another fifteen reasons why this culchie is a True Blue at heart:
1. The way Barney Rock sort of slid into the kick for that aforementioned goal. Too cool.
2. The legendary replay in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
3. Joe McNally’s “through the legs and flicked to the net” coup de grace in the same match.
4. Barney’s lob over the Galway goalie’s head, from about halfway, in that year’s final.
5. The Dirty Dozen.
6. The fact that Tony Hanahoe was player-manager in 1977. Too, too cool. Like something you'd read about in Roy of the Rovers.
7. Boom boom boom, let me hear you say Jayo.
8. The fact that this present team seems to be the closest thing to all-out-attack that the game has seen in decades. A football team with the firepower and goal potential of a hurling team.
9. David Hickey’s protest about medical supply embargoes to Cuba during the 1999 Jubilee Team presentation.
10. The greatest football match ever played: Dublin beating Kerry, All-Ireland semi-final 1977.
11. The second greatest football match ever played: Dublin beating Kerry, All-Ireland semi-final 2013.
12. “See ye all in Coppers.”
13. Charlie Redmond being sent off in the 1995 final and cheekily remaining on the field for five minutes.
14. The famous four-game saga against Meath in 1991. You’d need to have a heart of stone not to feel for them.
15. The glamour, the swagger, the way they’re considered a bit flash. Makes a refreshing change.
And warming the subs bench:
16. “The GAA needs a strong Dublin team.”
17. The full range of accents, from Ballymun drawl to Hanahoe posh.
18. The rampaging force of nature that was/is Brian Mullins.
19. They’re not Meath.
20. The Brogan family dynasty.
21. The Hill in full blue pomp.
22. The crack on the Hill.
23. Heffo’s Army.
24. The culchies vs Dubs slagging. All very good-natured.
25. Dublin winning annoys a certain class of ape. This amuses me.