Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Political Points!!

With the introduction of the new raft of penalty points infringements for Irish Drivers, a thought struck me as to the relevance of a point system for all aspects of life. To be fair, the penalty points systems has been a relative success on Irish roads, as the average driver is now less inclined to 'tear along the dotted line' for fear of amassing the dreaded dozen and consequently suffering the humiliation of loss of licence. So where better to apply this penalty point system then to the source of much of Irelands embarrassment, grief and ridicule…the politicians! Below I have detailed the offences that I feel would help straighten our elected representatives out..imagine….12 points and no more Jackie Healy Rae!....no more Michael Lowry…no more Bertie!...

If you would like to add any more political points offences..just click on the pen below..

One Point

Failure to attend a funeral without making a speech
Failure to dispose of 80's jacket and tie combo
Failure to directly answer questions from the media

Two Points
Failure to referring to members of the ICA as 'Good girls'
Failure to notice your holding a gun when photographer snaps happily away
Failure to notice your driving on the wrong side of the road at 2.30am

Three Points
Failure to thank people without borderline racist comments
Failure to notice illegal planning developments inside dedicated constituency
Failure to attend GAA AGMS..except in 'Official capacity'

Five Points
Failure to notice expenses add up until it was to late (honest)!
Failure to pay builder during extension work to home
Failure to inquire regarding request from Saudi Arabia for 10-15 Irish passports

Ten Points
Failure to discard comb-over!
Failure to know when your beaten. Running as an independent isn't always the best option!
Failure to know Liam Lawlor (RIP)

Twelve Points

Failure to admit that 'companion' was on all expenses paid trip to the Far East for personal reasons.

Life Time Ban
Failure to run the country despite experiencing unprecedented- economic boom!

Emmet in Oz - Part 2

Well all, just a quick one - got my phone sorted out;, its +61 40 6608116. Dont be shy!Not much news since the airport fun, been hanging round with Brian and his mates all week, surprise surprise we ended up doing quiet a lot of sampling of native brew's and eating of native bbq's! Its roasting here, bout 36 degrees today-you can probably get the smell of burning limerick ham from home!Anyways keep in touch, college starts next week!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Emmet in Oz - Part 1

Let me start by saying this.. Ive always had a very strong connection with Labradors! Well here I am. Im my new home town, Freo. Its very nice, got a sheep port, and more restaurants and bars than you could hop a kangaroo over! College starts in two weeks, so Im in the process of getting my bearings and hopefully drinking some of them when I meet Brian tonight!I arrived in Oz yesterday morning predictably tired, but surprisingly hung over from Hong Kong (for the record HK is amazing, so well organised. I think they should knock every city in the world and build 10 giant Hong Kongs..the streets are escalators.. enough said!) At this point I was waiting in the customs hall when the female equivalent of Steve Irwin came bounding towards me, made no small show of pointing a very live and enthusiastic golden lab towards my crotch. There, in Perth Airport, before 300 amazed Chinese people, Skippy The Bush Sniffer Dog preformed a miracle, the likes of not seen since the loaves and fishes, proceeded to transform one jet lagged Limerick Man into a walking talking kilo of cocaine!Que much unpacking of bags, x raying of guitars, whisperings of terrorism, surroundings by police men and much gnashing of teeth. the few bits of dirt on my rugby boots nearly caused as much furore as my supposed drug trafficking. This wasn't helped by the fact that my only contact in Perth was, in OC terms The Chino kid (Rockingham, where Brian is from, is supposedly 'rough') and that I had met him in South America where we were 'surfing') (Hmmm said the customs official!) It all ended up in a good honest frisking.. let me just say I haven't been touched like that since Irish college!So that's me, thanks so much for all the texts and calls and drinks before I headed. Meant a lot, Oh you guys!!Hope all's well!Tie me kangaroo down

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Coffee Society and the attack of the Umpa Lumpa's

A bit like that line in 'About a Boy' during my weekend, my day is organised in blocks of time. Sunday…wake up…turn on radio…fall back to sleep..wake up again. 1 hour. Head to Hobarts in Ranelagh village, order full breakfast & coffee & juice 30mins. Buy Sunday Papers 5mins. Go to Coffee Society to read papers 1.5hrs…and so on..you get the drift…generally this would then be followed by watch soccer match on Premiership Plus…but last Sunday I completely went over my Coffee Society block of time…not because I was feverishly reading the sports section of the Times..oh no…I was happy out..drinking my coffee reading the paper..when suddenly the cafĂ© was layed siege to by a bunch of ranelites…picture the scene..about 10-12 kids/teenagers…dressed in the appropriate southside attire…gabbing on and on…the noise only broken by the shrill sound of mobiles…que the phone on loudspeaker and the resumption of the initial conversations…THE NOISE WAS DEAFENING…yet strangely compelling…it wasn’t so much the state of the little umpa lumpa's..but rather the conversation topics…well to be honest..it was a completely different language..one which I am not proficient in. However…this I do know…Ranelites describe fellas in relation to who they are, what their dad's do, what their mom drives, what school they go to oh and do they go to the Wes (niteclub). They louder they spoke the more orange the fake tan/make up seemed to get…anytime any other poor sod went to order..they were glared at…checked out..and then cast off as too poor..too country…or too weird for looking back!!!....and so this continued…….it was like seeing every preconception you have about Southsiders stuffed into one noisy hour on a Sunday afternoon…thankfully…peace resumed…some rugger bugger…announced he was off to Mick Mac (McDonalds) and hence all the umpa lumpa's followed suit. When the din finally subsided…one thought did strike me….while I do consider Dublin a great city to live in when your in your twenties…not on your life would l have fancied growing up there…its all Rosh..this and Rosh that…Mocha's & Latte's…not a football, Choc Ice or bottle of TK Red Lemonade in sight…what kinda childhood is that!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Underdogs or Underachievers

Underdogs or Underachievers

Now I know this one is going to get me in trouble, but to be honest I just don’t care. I have been opposed to the idea of the 'Underdogs' from day one and I will continue my resistance even if by some miracle they ever manage to beat Kerry or Kilenny or whoever they come up against each year. The relentless airing on TG4 has allowed me to watch and squirm through the countless pep talks, challenge matches and heartfelt one on one interviews. (As Gaeilge, well sort of) In the end I am still left with this feeling that the concept of the 'Underdogs' is all wrong, whether the current crop of Underdogs realise it or not..it is disrespectful to GAA players whether they be the Colm Coopers of this world or the ordinary Seamus O' Bloggs who trod up and down pitches from February to November.

So why would any self respecting footballer even contemplate taking part in this farce?

Tough question, but the answer confirms my theory that the 'Underdogs' is just an even crasser version of Pop Idol..or X Factor.!....


The Average Club Player
Much like the singer who cant hit the high notes, the average club player is what makes the GAA tick, they are the lifeblood of grassroots GAA but here is the catch, they are grassroots for a reason. Like the singer mentioned above they just don’t have a little bit extra that separates club from county..whether it’s a yard of pace or accuracy of kick the fact of the matter remains..Simon Cowell would not let these fellas through to the next round….but then again Simon doesn’t always get his way!

The Failed County Player
Nobody likes to see genius falter….but the problem with this particular brand of player is that they are the only ones who consider themselves 'genius'. My theory was backed up when recently on the show one of the players began talking about himself in the third person wondering why he wasn’t on the county team when so many of his former teamates now wear the county jersey!!!...the third person…not even Bush has descended into that type of introspective hero worship…

The Moron
This is a type of person who queues for ten hours for a pop idol audition and when the big moment arrives he goes in and does his version of Swan Lake!..there will always be morons in this world..even in the GAA..but God help us to we have to watch them make fools of themselves trying desperately to make it as an 'Underdog'. And whats worse is we (the viewers) actually warm to these fellas and their struggle with the weight and the dodgy knee and the even dodgy knee bandage..the Gooch must be shaking in his boots!.

The Student
These fellas can actually play and some day may actually be county players..but they are students with not much else to do..so the thoughts of been an Underdog seem appealing..but lads beware….in years to come..this will bite you in the ass..

But all of this does not explain why I think the concept of the Underdogs is disrespectful to GAA players…to be blunt..the GAA is all about the county..if your good enough and your dedicated enough then you make your county team and you become a sort of semi God within your own area….this gives young lads something to aim for, it gives them people to look up to. Now with the best will in the world no team of players who couldn’t make the grade in their own respective counties would come within as ass's roar of the championship Kerry team inf football or Kilkenny in Hurling.

But TG4 and the makers of the Underdogs know this, so instead they play them when the top teams when they are still probably enjoying the few weeks of the year they have off (relatively speaking)…but boys oh boys..The cream always rises to the top and they will still win and now a bunch of ordinary decent lads who have trained themselves to bits will be beaten by a team probably only getting together for the first time that season…and any real GAA player would know that..and anyone with pride would realise the embarrassment of that. There is no fairytale romance to this programme, its just another version of Pop Idol or X factor and in my mind all it does is make a mockery of what it is to be a GAA player..whatever level you play at.

Amateur People in a Professional World

Amateur People in a Professional World

“Get out and kick a ball!” the age old words of wisdom that were passed on from father to son and teacher to pupil as a means to freshen the mind and relax the body after a long tortuous day at school. These days publications are full of features and tips on how to achieve the infamous ‘work life balance’, however for some, myself included the boyhood advice has resulted in the work life scales been permanently tipped by the commitment of full time sport.

While the rest of the workforce in Ireland strive to balance out the pressures and stresses placed on them by their workplace, there is an ever growing group of men and women who, as a result of their sporting commitments struggle to operate on the same playing field as their work colleagues.

In my case, I play Gaelic Football at senior level for my home club in county Leitrim. This entails training twice a week in Dublin for the first four months of the year, and again twice at the weekend in my native county. During the summer months the schedule changes to midweek training in Mulingar, a half way point so all team members can train together. All told its 4 nights a week out of 7 and that does not include any extra gym work that you may need to do.

I am but one of a disenfranchised group made up of men and women from all sorts of sporting backgrounds within the workforce that spends several hours in the evenings after work travelling to and from training and matches. In order to progress in your career it often means starting early and eating ‘al desko’ on a regular basis. Fortunately, my particular place of work is quite understanding, but still I still find myself struggling from the pull in both directions, you can imagine the scenario ‘desperately trying to finish the new business tender, all the time hoping that a Director wont ask for a run through that evening, as your supposed to be in Kinnegad for a challenge game!’ Without doubt the more your career advances the more difficult it is to strive to find a balance Worse still the office social events are often a non runner as life on 7up gets untenable as all around you indulge.

As a group my sporting brethren are forced to maximise our time in the office as working late isn’t always an option. We arrive to work sometimes on crutches, sometimes sporting cuts and bruises causing quizzical looks and furrowed brows from our less active colleagues.

Not that I’m complaining, speaking for myself I wouldn’t swap my team or my sport for anything. But if you’re the colleague who always schedules conference calls at 5.30pm or the client who rings looking for the 1997 file ASAP at 6.30pm or even if you’re the office socialite who always available for that after work beverage spare a thought for the frazzled looking worker who is hurriedly trying to shut down Outlook, grab a gear bag and head half way across the country only to run round in the cold and rain and then drive back again!