Dodgy Tackle: A week on the beat of a Breffni barker

Cavan full-back Paw-draig Faulkner prepares to go man-to-dog on a nippy pitch invader during last Saturday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final win over Monaghan at Kingspan Breffni Picture by Philip Walsh
Kevin Farrell

WHEN you think of famous dogs in sport, you're soon scratching about for the big names. Flea drops will soon sort that.

Mick the Miller, Triggs Keane, and Pickles, the black and white collie – TV was like that then – who bagged a hat-trick to win the Jules Rimet for England, are probably in the top three of about three, not necessarily in that order.

That said, the long tradition of random strays bounding about random pitches is a rich and varied one.

In soccer, these canine interlopers are usually hunted down by the fastest player on the pitch like Bear Grylls on Canelo's left-over stir fry, handed over by the scruff to hyperventilating cops or burly stewards, taken to court and hit with fines, ankle tags and banning orders from all stadia under the Football (Offences) Act 1991.

In GAA, the culture is more fluid.

These poor wee mites are usually handled like Belleek Living replicas of Sam or Liam and stroked into near sedation from snout to tail by everyone, bar Kilcar's Michael Hegarty (inset), from umpires to refs to the littlest disillusioned corner-forwards this side of Tyrone.

They'll then be given a long, quenching swig of Sarsaparilla or Attaboy by the Maor Uisce of the team under the cosh before being presented afterwards with a pair of tickets for the Nally Stand (easier access) on All-Ireland football or hurling final day.

That can be a tough choice for the dual dogs out there – not that many of those boyos are left thanks to the calendar and all...

Anyway, it's been some week in the spotlight for all the top dogs down Breffni way.

Bill, the Revenue detector spaniel, was commended on Tuesday for his work in the seizure of over 40,000 unmarked cigarettes in somebody's house in the county. Could well have been personal use, but strong work all the same.

Bill though, was surely inspired by the initiative of a fellow county barker who rocked up at Kingspan Breffni last Saturday to oversee Cavan's first Championship win over Monaghan since Lassie's ma's was on the teat.

Dodgy has managed to get his grubby paws on what is understood to be last week's diary of this wonder dog whose name, at this stage, can't be located anywhere on Twitter, Insta or wherever...

Sunday: Rest day. Watched Armagh v Down after roast dinner scraps.

A bit chewy for a pedigree champ. Shocking lack of dogs about Newry. Must be the traffic round the Quays. Headed for an ice bath. Twice the price on account of four legs. Shocking.

‘You're some pup,' said big Gearoid on the way in. ‘Tail wagging the dog now,” added Mickey G.

I was howlin' away at them, but refused to bite. Jealousy will get Cavan men nowhere this summer.

Monday: Fetched the Irish News from the lane after threatening the paper boy. I heard his da's from Magheracloone. There I was. Page 54. Proud. They could have used it bigger, mind. Didn't make it into the player ratings. Very harsh. Surely deserved a (ca)nine.

St Francis of Assisi club secretary rang offering sanctuary. Decent offer, but not for me. One life, one club, one county. Told them to give wee Seanie a shout. He's well into that.

Tuesday: What a time to be alive. On the Irish News GAA fixtures spread. (Bow) Wow! Bought a dozen copies and now strutting round Cavan town like a dawg with two Frisbees. You couldn't put me on a short leash today boys.

Stayed up 'til stupid o'clock last night watching the Game of Bones finale. That ending was cat. A lot of barking on Snap-chat about it. Heading out for walkies here to clear the mush.

Wednesday: Yer man in the front room is on the dog and bone to Rory Gallagher by the sound of it. Fermanagh must be after another Maor Uisce to slow Murphy and the boys up. A certain someone could be in with a sniff. Hard to whack unlimited uisce. Mileage sounds decent too. When your tail's up, your tail's up. Must give the DPA a ring and see what I'm entitled to.

Thursday: Lenny Harbinson on the blower now. Antrim riddled with injuries and absentees. He wants a snappy forward on the square to pluck balls from the clouds on Saturday night against Tyrone.

“Let the f***ing thing in Lenny and he'll take it by the scruff,” yer man in the front room tells Lenny. “Been catching wayward balls half his life. Mickey will need both McMahons and a roofer's ladder to get anywhere near him.”

Gotta love the guy.

Friday: S&C session round the back field before the weekend trip to the groomer. Praying it's the same one big Tiernan goes to. They know their fades and shampoo by the scent of it.

Hope no-one ruffles my coat before tomorrow or there'll be ructions.

There's a fireside rug with my name on it tonight.

Saturday: Finalising travel plans for Fermanagh tomorrow. Praying I don't bump into Ricey before tonight's game at Casement Replacement. He played with a boy back in the day I've no time for.

Watched an old episode of Spotlight from 2007. Not good. Might give the Athletic Grounds and Brewster a swerve now, to be honest. Maybe head to the Big Apple on Monday instead and see what's doing over there.

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