GAA Football

Armagh and Cavan flake away and breakaway - to a replay

Cavan's Dara McVeety - or is he 'McVitie'? - up against Armagh's James Morgan.
Picture by Philip Walsh

OUTSIDERS often wonder about the intensity of the Ulster Football Championship. Understand this – up here, we’ll argue about anything.

Let’s agree that deferred coverage simply isn’t exciting, no matter how good a game and/or how close a contest – and both those descriptions applied to Cavan against Armagh.

Watching it in Irish News Towers, though, the most heated debate surrounded the difference between a Club Orange and an Orange Club. Cavan’s Murrays clearly choose mint.

How did it come to that? It’s Martin McHugh’s fault. Obviously.

The BBC NI commentator knows his football but his pronunciation of Irish names can be confusing to ‘wee six’ ears.

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The driving force for Cavan, perhaps appropriately, is bizarrely branded ‘Garage’ McKiernan by the Kilcar man.

Strangest of all, ‘Marchin’ calls the Cavan centre half-forward Dara ‘McVitie’. Now that really takes the biscuit.

Armagh’s involvement led to the discussion over what you would get if you asked for a Club Orange. A drink, of course. Belfasties are weird.

On legal and taste advice there shall be no mention of that chocolate/ wafer combo (which rhymed with ‘stand it’).

Presumably there were Jaffa cakes, Bourbons, and dark chocolate Digestives in the dressing rooms, given how long it took both teams to emerge for the second half.

Ours weren’t the only minds thinking of food. Beeb commentator Thomas Niblock seemed to be hankering for pizza, so often did he refer to ‘Four Seasons’.

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Weather or not he was harking back to the previous evening’s, er, entertainment, the Nibbler nobly noted that Armagh’s Rian O’Neill is a keen Liverpool supporter, without alluding to his own, less successful, soccer allegiance.

For a time the Beeb pair didn’t seem to know if it was soccer, GAA, or ‘Marchin’ season, with all that orange and blue on show.

We were treated to that bizarre admiration some Gaels have for soccer, as both drooled over Jamie Clarke flicking a ball with – gasp! – the side of his foot.

`Marchin’ then raved about soccer goalkeepers kicking out with the outside of their boot.

Both teams were seeking a ‘wafer’ someone to score a goal and soon Armagh’s ‘box to box’ midfielder Jarly Og Burns did so on a breakaway. With the outside of his boot. Having missed a first half opportunity, the youngster was later praised by Armagh legend Oisin McConville for not crumbling.

After Cavan’s Ciaran Brady was sent off for giving Mark Shields a flake there was a short(bread) debate over how much Niall Grimley intended to drive his boot into the ‘Garage’.

Cavan then got on a (fig) roll to ensure that the match moved on from being a game of two halves to one of four sections – a Kit-Kat rather than a Twix.

In extra time, another ‘soccer style!’ effort from Jamie Clarke went awry, more United than City.

Rather like a soft custard cream, the two sides simply couldn’t be separated.

So we’re no closer to knowing which of these two counties will be Hobnobbing with either Donegal or Tyrone in the Ulster Final on June 23. Crumbs.

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