Tag Archives: Croke Park

A Portrait of the Artist as a Ticket Tout

So I’m standing outside Croke Park with 50 bleedin’ tickets to the Dublin match, That’s 50 bleedin’ tickets at 40 quid a pop. Work that one out with your fucking calculators. I can’t. I never did my Leaving Cert. The only time I can add numbers is when I’m working out the odds on my three horse accumulator. This is before every poxy one of them falls, goes lame, gets brought down, or just plain won’t bloody jump. The pox-bottles! Anyway, because I’m losing my bollix on the horses, I decide it’s high time to think of an easier way to make money. So, with the Dublin match around the corner, I borrow from Peter, Paul, and the rest of the fucking Apostles, and soon I have enough spondoolicks to bulk buy a shit-load of match tickets from ticketmaster.ie.

You see, I know what them Dubs are like. As often as not, they turn up at the pubs around Croker with nary a ticket between them. Stupid muppets. Don’t they know the match is sold out? And that’s where I come in. Once they’ve had a skinful of cider they’d sell their mother for a Hill ticket. (That’s Hill 16, for those of you who don’t know. The real Dubs will only have a ticket for the Hill. No, you eejit. A real Dublin supporter would have bought his poxy ticket three weeks ago.) I’m like the bleedin’ Messiah to these cretins. I have in my possesion 30 Hill tickets, 10 Canal End and 10 Cusack Stand tickets. Come to mama, you pissheads. 70 quid a ticket, no questions asked.

Only…there’s no one biting. Not a sausage. I’m up to me armpits in match tickets. Not just any match tickets — Dublin match tickets. The only show in town. But no one gives a flying fuck, do they? And I’m not the only one suffering. That arsehole selling the flags, scarves and funny hats has enough left over to send off to the Ukraine and clothe the kids. Now that would be a funny sight. A pile of Eastern European sprogs decked out in Dublin colours, begging on the streets for zlotys or whatever the fuck it is they call currency over there. What about me? What am I going to clothe my kids in? If I don’t dump these tickets, my missus will rip off my head and shit down my neck.

Which brings me to another topic altogether. If the oul ball-and-chain fucks me out, I can always get onto the Internet and hook up with a Russian bride. I wonder if they take Dublin tickets as collateral. I might have better luck next week. U2 are in town and tickets are like gold dust. But Bono? No one gives a fuck about him either. Okay, it’s Russia for me. With Love.

There’s my DART. I’m off to the boozer.

(c) James McShane 2009

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Republic of Ireland 3, Andorra 1

Image courtesy of RTE

It has been at least twenty years since I’ve been to a soccer game. I’ve attended GAA games in Croke Park, Major League Baseball in Dallas, but not a soccer game. I’ve become lazy in this world of wall-to-wall televised sports. I’ll watch anything with a ball in it, my mother says, even cricket.

I love cricket!

The Aviva Stadium at night. I took this photo.

So it was with a huge degree of excitement and optimism that the Good Lady and I got tickets to see the Republic of Ireland team take on the minnows of Andorra in the first competitive match at the new Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road.

And what a marvellous new stadium it is, too. Every seat is afforded a perfect view of the pitch. The open-plan roof provides cover from the elements; but the rain decided to give itself the night off – thank God.

As for the game, it was very enjoyable; fast-paced, with plenty of goal mouth action. Ireland scored three goals, courtesy of Kevins Kilbane and Doyle and skipper Robbie Keane. The downside was the Andorra goal in the dying moments of the first half. But you can’t have everything.

Ray and me.There was the added bonus of a fan photo with the legendary ex-Liverpool, Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland midfielder Ray Houghton. He put the ball in the net against England in Stuttgart in 1988 (our first ever victory over the traditional enemy) and against Italy in USA 1994. Ray happily posed for photos before heading off to his media duties.

Results on the night see Ireland top Group B with Slovakia (who beat Russia, the top seeds in the group, 1-0). Armenia and Macedonia played out a 2-2 draw. Already I’m looking forward to our next home game, against the Russians on 8 October.

Tipperary v Kilkenny: The 2010 All-Ireland Hurling Final By Numbers

81,765 – the attendance at Croke Park for the final. A few seats short of a full house.

8 – points margin by which Tipperary beat Kilkenny. Tipp scored 4 goals and 17 points (29), Kilkenny scored one goal and 18 points (21).

Tipperary Hurling Crest

21 – the number of games Kilkenny played unbeaten in the All-Ireland series.

5 – in-a-row: what Kilkenny were aiming for; an unprecedented number of titles, never before achieved.

9 – the number of years since Tipperary won their last All-Ireland title (2001 against Galway).

Kilkenny Hurling Crest

58 – the number of All-Ireland titles shared by Tipperary (26) and Kilkenny (32).

40 – the amount of money (in euro) my boss had on Lar Corbett to score the first goal at odds of 13/2. Corbett duly obliged.

3 – the number of goals Corbett scored in today’s final.

12 – the number of minutes Henry Sheflin (Kilkenny) lasted on the field before coming off injured.

13 – the number of bar staff working today in Meagher’s for the final. (Yours truly was one of them.)

8 – months before it starts all over again.

A Portrait of The Artist as a Tour Guide

I’m standing by Stephen’s Green, right? There’s one of them open-topped double-deckers lying idle by the traffic lights. The poxy thing has broken down and there’s a gang of bleedin tourists getting pissed on, wet and shaggin’ miserable they are. Serves them right. Welcome to the Irish summer, you bunch of knobheads. While you’re here though, I’ll show you around. Let you take in the culture of the place, experience the real Dublin.

First off. See that shower over there? The clowns wearing the bright red football shirts with O2 on the front. They’re from Cork. They’re up here because their poxy county are playing us Dubs in the GAA. What’s the GAA, I hear you ask? It’s a sport we Irish play every summer. We tear bleedin’ lumps out of each other on a pitch. We gouge, stamp, thump, break, fight, swear and head-butt. If we manage to do all that to someone on the opposing team, all the bleedin’ better. It’s all so we can lift up Sam at the end of September. Sam is a trophy, the Sam Maguire Cup. The winning team gets to drink cheap cider from it and have bragging rights for a year. The Dubs haven’t won it since 1995. That’s because we’ve had a bunch of feckin’ muppets leading us on onto Croke Park. Couldn’t manage a fart, those wasters. Anyway, we’ll send them Cork heads home on Sunday evening, crying for their mammies, looking for the nearest A&E department. There will be blood. You mark my words.

Down there is Grafton Street. We’ve a Captain America’s restaurant on the right. It’s a burger place. There’s also McDonald’s, Burger King, Wimpy’s and Abrakebabra.  You Yanks will feel right at home. You and your fat arses. Bet you only got your passports last week and came to Ireland to see lush green fields, full of freckled-face, red-haired maidens and oul lads in flat caps saying, “Soft day, thank God.” Well, bollocks to that. The maidens you’re looking for are down in ‘Copperface Jack’s’ getting bleedin’ hammered on your credit cards and traveller’s cheques.

Over there is ‘Bewley’s Oriental Cafe’. It’s called that because there’s a load of poxy Chinese working there. I dare you to go in and ask for a pot of Irish Breakfast. You’ll get a blank stare and a smell of curry. And that’s if you’re lucky.

Outside Bewley’s, there are the street performers. Or losers, as I call them. For those of you who’ve seen “Once”, they don’t all look like Glen Hansard. Half of the feckers think they should be on X-Factor. Simon bleedin’ Cowell would eat their livers with his melba toast.

Are yez having a good time over here? Anyone had their wallets stolen yet? I see some hands up there in the back. I bet you it was the Romanians that took them. They’re a class above the other scum-bags that have come over here. At least they dress colourfully. And some of the women you’d do yourself. Better than them feckin’ Pakis. You talk to one of them, you listen for a ticking clock. Sorry love, didn’t see you there. You must be one of the nice Pakis. You can sit down now.
At the end of Grafton Street you’ll find Trinity College. Those yokes with rich mammies and daddies go there to study Socio-Anthromorphological Sciences or other such muck. I haven’t a bog’s notion what it is either. If you ask me, anyone that goes there is a shirt-lifter. Pansies and lezzers. Fuckin’ half-wits. I went to tech, meself. Learned a decent craft. I’m a plumber. I earn thousands every week. I do loads of nixers while I claim the dole. Hey, I paid my taxes, so I’m entitled, aren’t I.

Where are you from? Germany? Don’t mention the war, right? Ve haff vays off making you tock! You don’t like that, do you? Well, fuck off back to Berlin then. And take Richard Kleidemann with you. Poxy foreigners. If you can’t take a bit of slagging, get back on your boat.

Yeah, what? Right, I’m off. Your tour guide is here. Don’t listen to a bleedin’ word she says. Full of shite, she’ll be. They’re all yours, love. Rather you than me. I’d have more fun at a bleedin’ cemetery. That’s where you should take them. Glasnevin Cemetery. It’s the dead centre of Dublin. Enjoy the rain, muppets.

On This Day…5 September

Today is an important day the Irish sporting calender. It’s the first Sunday in September, which means it’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final day in Croke Park. The mighty black and amber of Kilkenny are aiming to win an unprecedented five titles in a row. Their opponents today are the same as last year: Tipperary, the Rebel County. So, good luck Tipp! Ye have your work cut out for you.

On this day in…

Sam Houston

1666 – Great Fire of London ends: 10,000 buildings including St. Paul’s Cathedral are destroyed, but only 16 people are known to have died.

1836 – Sam Houston is elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Good man, Sam!

1945 – Cold War: Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet Union embassy clerk, defects to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America, signalling the beginning of the Cold War. Thriller writers everywhere rubbed their hands in glee. (It’s always handy to have a tub of glee around the house.)

2007 – Three terrorists suspected to be a part of Al-Qaeda are arrested in Germany after allegedly planning attacks on both the Frankfurt International airport and US military installations.

Notable birthdays today are:

He wasn't THAT bad, was he?

Australian actor and former James Bond George Lazenby is 71. Give him another chance, I say. I loved On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Raquel Welch is 70, God bless her.

Batman and Beetlejuice star Michael Keaton is 59. Say his name three times, please.

But on this day in 1945, Scottish singer/songwriter Al Stewart was born. I shall leave you today with the song that most of you would know him by.

On This Day…29 August

Today is the day when Counties Down and Kildare meet in the second semi-final in Croke Park. Whoever wins earns the right to play Cork in the All-Ireland Senior Football Final on 19 September. But that’s another day’s work. Here’s what went down on this day in…

1498 – Vasco da Gama decides to depart Calicut and return to Portugal. He was really sure he’d forgotten to turn the lights off before he left.

1831 – Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction. Then some bright “spark” decided it was a good idea to start charging people for it. Hence da Gama’s decision to head home 340 years earlier. (Yes, he had a time machine, didn’t you know?)

Michael Faraday: What a guy!

1898 – The Goodyear tire company is founded. (What’s the difference between a tire and 365 condoms? One’s a Goodyear, the other’s a really good year. Sorry!)

1966 – The Beatles perform their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. It was the beginning of the end of an era.

2005 – Hurricane Katrina devastates much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage. Was it really five years ago this happened?

Born today and getting ready to blow out the candles are:

Who you looking at?

Risky Business and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle star, Rebecca de Mornay is 51

Former Republic of Ireland soccer player, Stephen Carr, is 34. Come on, Steve, you can still do a job for us.

The lovely Lea Michele, star of Glee, is 24 – much too old to be in high-school, but one heck of a singer.

The Wednesday Whack-Job

Our country goes up in smoke. (Picture courtesy of the Evening Herald.)

It is said that Emperor Nero was too busy practicing on his violin to notice that Rome was burning around him. It could be myth and legend, it doesn’t matter either way.

Last weekend the Dublin GAA Football team played host to Cork in the All-Ireland Senior Football semi-final. Despite playing a good game, the Dubs were beaten by a point and missed their chance to play in their first final since 1995. Shit happens. They’ll get another chance next year.

As befitting to such a major sporting occasion, our Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., attended as a guest of honour. Croke Park is a magnificent stadium, and it’s only right that it should be designated a smoke-free zone. (It doesn’t stop the fans on Hill 16 from puffing away on their John Player Blue, though.)

A box of cancer sticks. Filthy habit, really.

I have to be honest and say that though I knew that BIFFO (Big Ignorant Fecker From Offaly) enjoys a pint or ten, I didn’t know he was a smoker until a member of the public spotted our beloved leader puffing away in a prohibited zone, and promptly notified the relevant authorities. No, not the gardai, but Joe Duffy’s Liveline radio show on RTE.

I’ll write more about Mr. Duffy and his show at a later stage. But for now, I wish to add my sympathies to our much-maligned head of government. Let me put it this way, Cowen is about as popular as a fart in a spacesuit. So much so, in fact, that his fellow countrymen are willing to shop his little indiscretions to the media. Almost all of us who smoke have at some point sneaked a quick drag in places where we shouldn’t. It’s part and parcel of “owning” an unsociable habit. To some, it’s part of the fun.

Oh Brian, how low have you fallen in the esteem of your voters that we’re not willing to let trivial events like that slide? Not low enough, it seems. It seems ironic that in a week where Cowen was celebrated by the international community as being a leader with courage, his own community would prefer he was hung, drawn and quartered.

We’d have an election tomorrow – but the Opposition are no great shakes, either. Don’t get me started on Enda Kenny…