Memo to all Dubs fans - get to Killarney for Kerry clash
THERE was a revealing cameo towards the end of Dublin's Allianz Football League opener in Páirc Uí Rinn last month, when just one minute of stoppage time was signalled over the PA - cue an audible groan from the stand.
Dublin were chasing the game but Cork were on home turf: judging from the decibel level venting Sky Blue dismay, you'd never have guessed. It could have been Parnell Park.
That probably told you as much about the notorious indifference of the hurling-mad Cork public to their flagship football team as it did about Mr Dublin Diehard's love for hitting the league road.
Here's the thing: much is made, quite rightly, about the obvious advantage enjoyed by the Dublin team not to mention supporters in having all of their championship games fixed for Croke Park.
The players know every blade of grass, every contour; even every square inch of dressing-room space. And the fans? All they need do is hop on the bus or Luas or Dart, taking them into town and within a short amble of Croker.
But here's another thing: Dublin fans actually love travelling. No group of men, women or children in the GAA diaspora can match the Dubs when it comes to making a long weekend out of an away-day match.
It's a reason to venture beyond the Pale and the confines of city life: basically, it's an excuse to have a festival of craic interspersed with 70 minutes of football.
But there are other reasons why Dublin fans, even occasional ones, should immediately formulate last-minute weekend plans for Killarney - the second of four away dates this spring, to be followed by a trip to Castlebarstool on March 14 and the Costa del Clones on April 5.
Here goes ...
(1) You can get the train straight to Killarney, disembark - and you're almost in Fitzgerald Stadium. Ergo, you don't have to drive and you won't get lost - a familiar fear for all Dublin veterans of Thurles 2001, or indeed most culchie-stranded Jackeens.
(2) As trains usually run on schedule, you might even get to Killarney on time. Getting to the stadium for throw-in? Now that's a different ball game ...
(3) Dublin always win in Killarney ... well, ever since 2010 and the ending of a 27-and-a-half year hoodoo. That means you'll go home happy - sometime on Tuesday.
(4) Under Éamonn Fitzmaurice, Kerry have a particular aversion to winning games in February/early March (last time out against Derry bucked an eight-game losing trend).
(5) Visiting Killarney this particular weekend has two advantages: firstly you'll see a tourism mecca in all its spring glory and, secondly, you'll avoid all the rugby alickadoos who will besiege our unsuspecting capital on Sunday.
(6) The match is on TG4 but why settle for an armchair view when your only words of Irish are "Ciarán Cill Chainnigh"?
(7) Kerry fans are different to their Nordie counterparts: they at least pretend to like you.