Curve Ball: A cunning plan to jinx Jim's army
SOME time ago, Curve Ball was unmasked as a Westmeath dreamer. We are hoping you've forgotten this minor detail or, for some strange reason, contrived to miss that column!
Proceeding on the premise that you remain blissfully oblivious to our county lineage, here is our top-secret (no longer!) cunning masterplan, patented by the School of Baldrick at the University of Blackadder, to achieve the impossible ... the disarming of our deadly Dubs.
STEP 1: Hire a Dublin All-Ireland hero as your manager and lose every match on his watch. The Jacks will be convinced that you're beyond saving.
STEP 2: Spend almost 600 days in the desert of endless defeat, from May 2013 until January 2015.
STEP 3: Then, when you finally end the famine, go mad and even briefly climb to the summit of Division Two - all part of a conniving double-bluff.
STEP 4: Fall off the cliff once more. Lose four league games in-a-row - badly, each and every one - to book your ticket to Division Three.
STEP 5: Tell your manager to fly off the handle about his under-performing leaders in a local radio rant. Now everyone is sure you're a beaten docket.
STEP 6: This is where it gets tricky. It's championship time and you must rediscover the art of winning - but without roaring it from the rooftops. Keep revealing flashes of vulnerability: build a winning position against Louth but then go AWOL for a while; even allow Wexford to edge ahead in the fourth quarter.
STEP 7: After surviving this high wire act, remind everyone that you've only beaten a brace of basement division outfits ... and then get your own backs to play like a Division Four defence for the first half against Meath.
STEP 8: You've achieved the first half of Mission Impossible - giving the Royals a ten-point head start, then reeling them in over the last 20 surreal minutes.
Now everyone (players, fans, even local hacks) must do their Baldrickian duty by performing cartwheels all over Croke Park, convincing all onlookers that Westmeath have just played their own All-Ireland final. Leinster? Who cares!
STEP 9: Time for our double agents in the national media to work their duplicitous magic. Always, always accord Dublin their full title, aka "Ruthless Dubs ... Invincible Blues ... Jim's juggernaut ..."
STEP 10: On a daily basis, quote Paddy Power's match odds when referencing the "1/500 Dubs".
STEP 11: Since the current Sky Blue panel unfortunately won't oblige by talking up themselves, get a queue of former players to go on the record and speculate about Dublin's next looming double-digit demolition job.
STEP 12: Keep asking Jim Gavin which team he would like to play in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
STEP 13: D-Day. Find out where Dublin go for their pre-match grub and cajole your way into the kitchen. Now 'Lasagnegate' beckons.
STEP 14: The final, faithful, step. Pray.