Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I am writing to you from a little town in the heart of Ireland. I know this is a busy time of the year for you and all of your helpers, so I won’t take up too much of your time.

As you probably know I am a big Westmeath GAA supporter and most of my requests from you this Christmas are related to matters GAA. I have been really good this year - went to all the county matches and shouted my head off. Even in my club matches I was reasonably well- behaved. I only picked up one or two yellows and no red cards. I know you like getting loads of cards in every colour, but I prefer to get as few as I can.

I suppose you’ve heard about the recession we are experiencing here. Lots of people are losing their jobs. Even people in the public service aren’t safe anymore. It’s that bad. So bad in fact there is even talk of all sport in schools coming to an end in the New Year. I hope things aren’t that bad in Lapland.

Thanks for all of last year’s presents. Overall I was happy, even if you couldn’t manage to fit Donaghy and the Gooch in your bag. If you did we’d be All-Ireland champions this year, but never mind.

This time around I am only going to ask you to bring the Gooch. Donaghy is probably too big to fit down the chimney anyway. Besides we have Martin Flanagan. If we get the ‘ginger dinger’ on board we’ll surely win Leinster, at least, next year.

If you have room in your bag for one other player you might squeeze Tomas O’Se in as well. One of our best players over the past decade, Damien Healy, has decided to go travelling abroad for the year. His will be big boots to fill and, while I don’t think O’Se is as good as ‘Heals’, he’ll have to do.

Also Santa, I would be really happy if you could bring me one of the new season tickets, which the GAA have just introduced. At just €75 they’re great value. It’ll mean that I can go to all of the Allianz national league round games, as well as to the first round of the championship in my chosen code. I’ll also get a discount price on all subsequent games excluding the provincial and all-Ireland final. The in-built loyalty programme means that based on a minimum 60 per cent attendance I’ll be entitled to an all-Ireland ticket if Westmeath get that far next year.

I don’t want to be over- demanding, especially this year, but it’d be great if you could deliver someone who can come up with a master fixture plan for clubs and then stick to it. I know that would make you very popular with all club players who are left in limbo every year. Do your best Santa, but I won’t hold my breath.

It’s been 10 years since my club won a county senior championship Santa. I thought back then it would be the first of many. Now I realise that they really are not that easy to come by. I also realise that time is running out for me, and a few more on my team, to add to the collection.

The last time I won a hurling medal Santa was when we won the u-12 county championship with Southern Gaels. We won two of them. I guess what I’m hinting at Santa is that I’d love to win another senior title with Athlone and an intermediate hurling title with Southern Gaels before I hang up the boots. Maybe you could help us during 09?

I hope Santa that you won’t let me down. I have some food and drinks waiting for you under the tree. I’ll try and be good for another year. Safe travelling and I’ll talk to you next year.

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