Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Addressing Inequality in the Gaelic Football Championship

An Spailpín Fánach can exclusively reveal that the remarkable events of all the Provincial Champions losing in the quarter-finals resulted in an extraordinary meeting of a select comma-tee deep underground in Croke Park on Sunday night.

The comma-tee was formed when a man went into fits in the premium level after Dublin beat Tyrone, wondering what would happen if a team refused to accept the Sam McGuire Cup on the basis they hadn’t been beaten at all during the year and wanted to know why they were being singled out and discriminated against.

The Association realised that the Championship could end up like search for the final digit of π at that rate of going. And who needs that, with the nights drawing in and no sign of a rise in the price of houses?

Hence the comma-tee. The minutes of the meeting are as follows.

1. This comma-tee accepts that the root cause of discrimination in the GAA is not the provincial system, but the county system itself. Counties have unequal populations, and often suffer further due to an unfortunate ratio of boys to childs in certain counties.

2. The comma-tee has decided, therefore, that all counties are to be done away with summarily. All players in clubs on the island of Ireland, and her wild geese in London and New York, are to listed, collated and randomly assigned to thirty-two newly created teams of equal size.

3. The teams will be named after sponsors rather than counties in order to level the playing field. This to further promote equality, and has nothing to do with money. At all. We hate the stuff. Root of all evil. (NOTE: Any smartarse in a newspaper who writes any wry/world-weary/why-oh-why/Grab-All-Association thousand word think piece in response to this initiative is to be banned from all games for five bloody years, and that counts double for the International Rules pinting sessions).

4. The new teams then play in a Champions League style round robin rotisserie league, after which four semi-finalists are draw out of a hat because nobody understands what the hell any of that other stuff is.

5. Before each semi-final, each team manager will be shown a picture of John Mullane, a hurl and a kitten. He will be then be told if it’s there’s one peep, sigh or sideways glance out of him about the new system, it’s goodbye kitty. Not even one of those Nordie bollixes would dare. Everybody loves kitties. And is a little frightened of John Mullane.

6. The comma-tee recognises that, even though the counties will have been replaced by Brennan’s Breaded Buffaloes, Galtee Mountain Bucks, Bailey’s Irish Scream, and so on, inequality will still exist on the field of play. Even though the players are randomly selected, the luck of the draw will still mean that some players will better than others are catching footballs, kicking footballs and kicking caught footballs over the bar.

7. The comma-tee therefore recommends that the old determination of the result of a game by adding up “goals” and “points” scored will no longer apply. Instead, at the end of seventy minutes, where graphs of players' work-rates are displayed on the big boards as the players run aimlessly around Croke Park, stopping only to do jumping jacks and push-ups, some scrawny buck with glasses and a white coat will along with a computer to announce the winner.

8. The formula for calculating the winner will be derived by a complex algorithm drawn up by a mathematician so smart he lives in a cave, does sums with chalk held in his toes, and smells like a ferret that’s been fried in chip fat. The comma-tee accepts the weirder you are, the better you are at sums as a fundamental natural law.

9. The comma-tee will appoint a sub-comma-tee to see if we can use an umpire’s white coat for the scrawny buck, and use the money saved for an iPad instead of a regular computer. Mental looking yokes, the iPads.

10. The comma-tee heartily endorses the attitude of the Mayo County Board in having no damned “fan” telling them what they can or can’t do. Any “fans” attempting to so question the comma-tee's recommendations, either through Liveline, Des Cahill or Twitter, will be rounded up and shot.

11. The comma-tee then adjourned to the Auld Triangle at the corner of Dorset and Gardiner for drinks. And are probably there yet.