Dublin: 12°C Sunday 20 June 2021

Between hackers and hoggers: life in the AUL

Paul Ring thaws out as his side get back to action. Keep the champagne on ice though.

THE GAME WAS played on Sunday. For that we are thankful.

The great thaw midweek melted away the frost that had invaded our blessed patches of green.

It was an early start. Away to Ballinhassig. Leaving at nine. Various directions were given and I took refuge in the goalkeeper’s car.

The great convoy took off as one. A smorgasbord of vans and cars, some with sick heads, others with tired bodies. Just another Sunday morning.

I am, I have been told, the worst possible co-driver and with my driver’s laid-back attitude to directions getting lost was a real possibility. We only heard snatches of the directions given. Something about a Viaduct and a T-junction. I was disappointed to find the Viaduct was not holding back masses of water but was rather a quaint pub. We trailed those in front who seemed to know the way and eventually found our posting.

Upon warming up alarm bells starting ringing in my head while watching the other lot. Someone who looked an awful lot like the Cork footballer Paddy Kelly was zipping the ball around wearing the number nine.

I felt a little faint contemplating playing the coyote to his road runner for the morning but alas, he was playing in the big boys’ field next to ours. When I realised this I puffed out my chest.

Lucky man Paddy, would have been in my pocket.

The pitch had a slight slope going down its right hand side and there was an artic breeze that induced shivers from everyone. My suggestion of club-coloured snoods before the game was not met with the unanimous approval I was expecting. I should have taken another vote at half-time.

It had been three weeks since we last played. Due to work it had been six weeks since I last trained, so I was particularly annoyed as the striker I was marking insisted on chasing every bloody ball that came into our half.

He also introduced himself early, tripping me as I ran back towards our goal. I dished out some revenge quickly after although he didn’t seem to notice.

The game was a good one. It is easy to joke about the lowest standard of football but there were passages of real quality from both sides. We took a deserved lead 20 minutes in. We then made it two shortly after until the referee decided to rule it out for reasons unknown.

He did seem to have an awful lot of trouble keeping up with play. We heard his nickname after. To keep his identity a secret I have changed the name but you will get the message. Centre-circle Tom.

We faded late on and they got the draw. The goal was fortuitous. A harmless shot that our keeper would have saved easily had it not been for the player right in front of him obstructing his view.

In fairness to the ref it must have been hard to see from the centre circle.

Paul Ring blogs at A View. Read his previous installments here.

About the author:

Paul Ring

Read next: