Minutes seem like hours

The auld nerves are getting to Ruairi Og fan Colum Thompson so our occassional contributer has become a regular one. Call it therapy if you like.

Only too glad to give you the chance to steady the nerves Colum

By Colum Thompson

The wait for a big match can make minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days and days seem like weeks. I don’t know whether it’s a curse or a blessing sometimes but when you work as a lorry driver you have plenty of time on your own, time to think. Quite often as you would expect I think about hurling. Whether it be great memories of famous victories or remembering those games that didn’t work out it consumes much of my time. This week there has been little or no thinking about games in the past, just the small matter of an All Ireland Semi Final against the best team in Galway. You think about all sorts of scenarios, who will mark who, what would you do if someone gets sent off, who starts and who comes on to rescue the game. It’s strange how the mind works and I’ve found myself at this conclusion. Cushendall have a free shot here. For once a game without pressure, let me explain…

Ruairi Og have won 14 county titles and 11 Ulster titles over the past 40 years. It is a phenomenal record and one that we are very proud off. 99% of the games we play are against Antrim and Ulster teams, we’d be favorites in the vast majority of these matches and even when we face a fancied Dunloy, Loughgiel or Slaughtneil team we are never long odds. Paddy Power have us at 6-1 to beat St. Thomas on Saturday. For me it’s a total lack of either respect or genuine knowledge of club hurling. We’ve been right in the mix in every All Ireland Semi Final we’ve played in since 1997. Wolfe Tones beat us by a single point that year and we took St. Josephs Doora Barefield to a replay in 2000. Loughrea beat us by 5 in 2007 and two years later De La Salle pipped us after extra time. And we all remember what happened in Navan three years ago…

Conor Carson in action against De La Salle’s Derek McGrath in extra time of the 2009 semi-final

So we go in as underdogs, fair enough. What this does is present Cushendall with a game that they can play without the familiar pressure of expectation. When the experts don’t show you the respect you have earned as a club what better motivation than going and shoving their odds right down their throat? The very fact that pundits in the southern media give you little or no chance actually sets you free. They have lifted the weight off our shoulders and piled all the pressure at the door of the opposition. It means you can go for broke, gamble, be adventurous. Throw caution to the wind and do the unexpected, take the shot on, make the flick, reverse a handpass, double on a high ball on the edge of the square. Savour and enjoy it like when you were a kid scoring a goal, jumpers for goalposts in an impromptu All Ireland Final in the street. In the most critical part of the game provide that one piece of inspirational genius that is the difference between winning and losing. Live in the moment, go for it, hurl without fear… WIN.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.