IN these economic times it sometimes seems that hardly a week passes without us body public being treated to some new phrase or other that has suddenly become part and parcel of the language of the day.
Call it the evolution of language if you will – after all a language is a living and breathing thing and always changing, but still it’s sometimes very hard to stomach some of these new phrases, simply because they’re subject to constant use, sometimes miss-use and nearly always overkill.
In sport remember how much simpler things once were. When Con Houlihan and Paddy Downey (who passed away this week) were in their pomp – as writers first and foremost and sports hacks after that – they would tell as it was in their own inimitable way, without having the need to resort to flowery buzz-words to get their point across.
These were the days before those rugger-buggers out there started banging on about the ‘big ask’, while telling us about how important it was to ‘front up’ and that the key to success was all about making those ‘hard yards’.
Such ráiméis.
You can be bloody sure that when Willie Duggan was sneaking a few very long pulls of a cigarette at half-time, whether he was playing for Blackrock, Leinster or Ireland, there was no mention of ‘fronting up’ or ‘hard yards’.
It was the same when Sir Anthony O’Reilly was scoring tries for fun with the Lions, or when Willie John and the rest of his grizzled pack of Lions were sounding out their 99 Call.
And it was the same when Ciaran Fitzgerald wondered if his team-mates had any ‘feckin pride’, or when Garryowen’s Seamus Dennison went about cutting Stu Wilson in two on that famous October afternoon in ’78.
They just played the game, not the jargon. Now it’s as much about the jargon as anything else – that’s why when Ireland go Paris it will be a case of old values being needed the most.
Yes, it’s ‘stick up your jumper’ time for the Irish team – not about the ‘hard yards’ or ‘fronting up’ to the ‘big ask’, but all about going out there and getting on with it.
But we shouldn’t blame the rugger-buggers entirely. The same kind of language permeates the GAA these days, just as politics is as much about the buzz words as it is about policy.
Take the new political catch-phrase of ‘green-shoots’. Is it the new slogan at government level for explaining away the national recovery that we are supposed to be living through?
Everyday it’s about green-shoots, so much so that it won’t be long before under fire county managers the country over will be talking about green-shoots to explain away where their team wants to go.
Please lads, don’t go there. Don’t dumb down in this way. Keep some spark of originality there. It’s called entertainment.
Mention of entertainment, The 19th will momentarily divert into the language of dumbing-down speak to get a point across.
It’s another one of those political buzz-words we hear all about, but we hear it in sporting terms too. It’s called ‘joined-up thinking’.
It’s a big pity that there isn’t some ‘joined-up thinking’ this weekend where Clare inter-county fixtures are concerned. It would be in the name of entertainment; it would be in the name of value for money.
The cover charge for county games at National League level is €10, or maybe it’s even €13. There are Clare supporters who would like to see both the Clare hurlers and footballers in action and in these economic times we hear so much of, next Sunday was the ideal opportunity to put on a double-header in Cusack Park involving the footballers and hurlers.
There is renewed interest in the footballers and a way of promoting what Mick O’Dwyer et al are busy trying to achieve would be to put their game against Tipperary down as the curtainraiser to the Clare v Galway hurling game.
It would ensure that more would be supporting the footballers, but it would also ensure greater support for the hurlers as well.
It would be a win, win situation, but instead it has been decided by some power that is, whether it’s management, county board or some other party to split the two games between Saturday and Sunday.
This is a mistake, because it’s not showing that ‘joined-up thinking’ to maximize the rare situation when you have both the hurlers and footballers fixed for home games on the same weekend.
Of course the argument might be put forward that the Cusack Park pitch might not be up to the rigours of hosting two games on the same day. This is not a valid argument – there has been only two games in Cusack Park over the past four months, the Clare v Waterford National Hurling League game and the Inter-provincial final between Munster and Connacht.
For both of those games the field was in perfect condition – there’s no reason to doubt that it won’t be in perfect condition this weekend.
As it turns out, asking supporters who follow both the hurlers and footballers to pay on the double this weekend is wrong and far from perfect.
It shouldn’t be happening. Pardon the puns, but it wouldn’t have been too much of ‘a big ask’ for all parties to ‘front-up’ and ensure there was a rare double-header in Cusack Park.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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