Have ya ever heard such wailing and moaning as is coming from the north east of the country at the moment about the calls for the replay of the Leinster football final, but where would ya be going be doing a quare thing like that?
Maybe the Meath team are meeting today to decide whether or not to grant Mayo a replay of the 1996 All-Ireland final on the basis that the McHale sending off in the replay, and the bouncing ball for the equalising point of the first match was unfair, and after all, especially since Mayo hadn’t won it in nearly 50 years at that time. Liam Sammon too is in talks with Paddy Cullen in a bid to have his penalty from 1974 retaken. The 12 Dublin players who won the All-Ireland in 1983 against Galway are considering a replay as well ‘cos they have just stopped laughing after 27 years and need another bellyful. And sure despite Joe Kernan earning massive airmiles flying around the country to train a team just about good enough to beat New York’s finest, even Galway would have strong grounds for a replay against Wexford.
If Louth were to be granted a replay of their match last Sunday, where would this all stop? In recessionary times people clutch at all sorts of straws because the Celtic Tiger years allowed us to believe that there was a solution to all our ills. If your car wasn’t working right, ya got a bigger one, if you didn’t like your neighbours, then you’d feck off and buy a bigger house, with bigger walls and feck-off gates that would keep everyone out. Just because we don’t like the result is no reason to be able to throw it all out the window and hope that we get a second chance. Life and sport is all about human frailty, and that frailty is only reduced and sharpened by the idea that in the main, you only get one chance at getting things right. So, the most of us try to ensure that the motto of carpe diem is well and truly grasped.
Life is like a play. You get your lines to learn and invariably, if you make a mess of them, then shucks. Imagine if we were all given the chance to replay our lives, would we do things differently. Would we make the same mistakes, show the same frailties, you can be sure we would. Imagine if we would re-run the videotape of life with a second take. Re-running first dates. “Honest, me hand slipped, Nora.” Replaying our exams (well, lots actually do that ). If we got a second run at 1916, would the Celtic Tiger have been here in the sixties when there was great fun and music to be had and not in the noughties when the best tunes came from the likes of Jedward.
The beauty of sport is that it is just that, sport. And that it is human frailty that will in many cases determine the losers and crown the winners. Bringing it into the legal arena takes away the liberty of it all, the sense that it is a part of life, yet is apart from life.
To keep replaying matters until you get the desired result is retained for the fantasy world of national referenda. We feel sorry for Louth, honest, but in the time-honoured GAA line oft left ringing in the ears of a Mayoman, they have to ‘take their batin,”get on with it, and enjoy the view from the high moral grounds.