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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Silence is golden when it comes to final countdown

Peter Keane
Peter Keane

There couldn't be a more appropriate way to hit the home straight of the Drive for Five. A Dublin v Kerry final. As if it were written in the stars … but not written by the stars of this looming epic.

If you are expecting any earth-shattering revelations from Jim Gavin and Peter Keane over the coming weeks, you must come from another planet.

Cynics who listened in on their weekend post-match interviews might call it the Prince of Protocols meets the King of Comedy.

They are not so much doctors of spin as masters of saying very little, even while the dictaphone is recording for ten or more minutes.

On Saturday night, Gavin intimated that he wouldn't get to see the next day's semi-final.

"I'll maybe watch a tape," he suggested, alluding to pre-planned family arrangements.

By Monday afternoon, however, at Dublin's world-record-early All-Ireland media day, Gavin was able to rhyme off Kerry's impressive conversion rates en route to the final.

Almost as impressive as Keane's stand-up act the previous evening.

While he could hardly feign ignorance of a certain team's quest to do what Kerry couldn't com plete 37 years ago, the year-one boss insisted he hadn't watched any of Dublin's second-half masterclass against Mayo.

"There wasn't much point getting hung up on the Dubs last night. We'll take one game at a time - I'm telling ye that all year, I'm beginning to sound bored myself hearing it," he admitted.

Keane later veered into a few homespun yarns that told us nothing about Kerry's All-Ireland prospects.

Instead of halting the Drive for Five we had the parable of "learning how to drive", under his father's guidance.

"Normally we turn at the creamery and head back from Portmagee to Valentia.

"I suppose somewhere around The Point's Cross I was asking questions about some turn further out the road and he chewed me. That there's not much point worrying about that 'til we get there. The same applies here."

Later still, we had the wisecrack about goalkeeper Shane Ryan ringing his local sports shop in Castleisland.

"His biggest problem was would he get two pairs of boots or three pairs of boots, because he'd have the boots worn out so much from kicking the ball out to Dublin."

The late great Páidí may have left us, but the Gospel of Yerra lives on.

Gavin doesn't do comedy but, for years, he has run rings around the assembled media who routinely try - and fail - to elicit anything controversial from him.

There is the odd exception, when he might accidentally-on-purpose volunteer a controversial opinion.

But not this year - yesterday was Gavin's first pre-match 'presser' of 2019.

The best route to five-in-a-row, the thinking would appear, is under a veil of silence …

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