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A Different View

Ever-changing football fashions in the wacky world of sport

Dave O'Connell

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Patrick O'Reilly with his installation Thorn at his exhibition in The Shed at Galway Docks for the Galway International Arts Festival. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time when togging out for football wearing different colour boots would have been a sign of abject poverty – or at the very least an indelible source of embarrassment.

You might as well wear your underpants instead of football togs, because this would represent no greater mortification.

And yet if you enjoyed the World Cup ­– and some of us are still suffering withdrawal symptoms – you’ll know that the notion of footballers wearing two boots of different colours is now the coolest thing on earth.

The difference, of course, is that they came that way – not that your mother went looking in the seconds section of some sports shop to find two matching size eights in any style and colour you’d care to imagine.

Indeed there were superstars wearing what could only be described as knitted boots in Brazil – very sophisticated crochet, by all accounts, but knitting nonetheless.

Back in the day, knitted boots were something your maiden aunt made for your new-born baby – but then again Alice bands were for Irish dancers and pony tails were for girls.

Most of us in middle-age can remember the jaw-dropping amazement that greeted Gerry McInerney’s return from an American sojourn with a pair of white boots, which he went on to wear with such distinction in Croke Park in that half-back line of all half-back lines alongside Keady and Finnerty.

It was just as well that the Kinvara man was one of the outstanding hurlers of his generation, because he also matched the white boots with a brown tan and swashbuckling style that wouldn’t have looked out of place if he was playing for Brazil.

He may well have inspired a generation to turn their backs on black boots. And that’s where the problems started.

Because it’s fine to be different if you’re very good but if you stand out because you’re rubbish, it’s not a good idea to underline your incompetence by dressing differently as well.

I can recall that deadliest – in every sense – of full-forwards, Colm O’Rourke of Meath, when he had retired and was dabbling in the world of broadcasting for the first time.

He saw Mayo’s giant midfielder Liam McHale take the field at Croke Park wearing another pair of white boots and Colm – being of older stock – wouldn’t have been more exasperated if this giant had come out wearing a dress.

“Back in my day,” he exclaimed, “you’d love if a fella came out to mark you and he was wearing white boots….”

He didn’t have to say much more, but the clear insinuation was that he was fair game if he was so stupid.

Colm didn’t quite come from the era when boots came over your ankle and looked more like something a miner would wear into the pits with metal studs attached to get you a grip on the grass.

But he might as well have.

Not that the changing fashions of sport stop there either; why, for example, do players wear short sleeved jerseys with body warmers underneath – why not just wear long sleeved shirts from the start?

And then, after a goal, you are treated to sight of a multi-millionaire footballer pulling up his jersey to reveal an off-white vest with a message written in marker by men who could afford to hire the monks who did the calligraphy for the Book of Kells – what’s that all about?

They proclaim in marker that they love their wives, and yet a week later there’s a tabloid tale of them with some glamour model in a hotel room, armed with a phone to provide the photographic evidence, both that they mightn’t love their wives so much after all and they don’t wear vests in real life either.

If we’d known back in the day that the height of football fashion would one day be wearing different coloured boots and vests covered in ink, we’d have been more cutting edge that we’d ever imagined.

Except we’d never earn two hundred grand a week for it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Don’t turn up your nose at those smells making Covid comeback

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things in life that epitomise the joy of anticipation better than opening a brand-new book; the smell of the crisp pages, beautifully bound to reveal its story in your hands and your imagination.

Equally, when you think of a summer’s day, it’s the smell of fresh cut grass that most often springs to mind; the mere thought of it is enough to bring a smile to your face through your mind’s eye.

The association between summer and fresh cut grass is so strong that one band, the Hot House Flowers, built an entire career around it, releasing the same song over and over again.

There are other smells of nature that heighten the senses in summer of course – newly mown hay for a start – and at other times, you know you’re in farming country when the smell of freshly-spread silage wafts in through the car window.

Our eyes may be the most critical of our senses in that, without them, life is a whole lot more difficult to lead – but smell is the sense that can lift you to a higher place.

Think of the aroma that escapes from a bakery or a cake shop; it can have you salivating when you’re not even hungry.

And we all know why so many coffee shops have extractor units that diffuse the smell of roasting coffee beans out onto the street; the Pied Piper of Hamlin wouldn’t work any better in getting you to literally follow your nose.

There’s also the other side of smells – and it’s not just silage.

If you want to quit drinking, for example – or more precisely, to give up drinking nights out – just set yourself a mission of dropping into a pub first thing in the morning, before it’s spic and span and ready to open its doors to the public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Steering clear of mirrors to deny the ageing process

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Only occasionally do you realise you’re actually getting older, because – unless you’re supremely vain – for the most part you’re looking out from yourself, not at yourself.

And then you walk past a mirror or a glass doorway and you think you’re being followed by a balder, fatter, older man – until the penny drops that you’re looking at yourself.

There’s another way to track the years as they fly by; just look at the writing on birthday cards, or more precisely the ones from your kids or young relations.

They start off with a stick man and graduate to a spidery scrawl before there’s a first stab at joined-up writing, evolving eventually to perfectly-formed adult sentences.

And yet you still think you’re not getting older.

I have nieces and nephews who send little video greetings for birthdays and Christmas – and that provides an ever starker reflection of the reality.

Again you go from shy little ones barely, mumbling a happy birthday, to teens with broken voices booming out a message to the big man!

As your age approaches your IQ, you often struggle to remember exactly how old you actually are – and the fall-back for many is to use their kids as a counter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Oh so lonely this Christmas without loved ones to hold

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back when we knew no better and friends were sad because one of their chicks was flying the coop, we consoled them with the notion that Berlin or Boston or London or Lisbon was just a flight away and you’d still get to spend real quality time together, albeit in truncated spells and only every so often.

We pointed out that you could travel from Dublin to Central London or the Champs-Élysées in less time than it took to get to Clifden.

We held up our phones and our tablets to show the glory of Skype or FaceTime that allowed you to virtually visit their new home and wave electronically at the grandkids.

Nobody claimed it was the same as seeing them stumble down the stairs every morning with their big bed-heads on them or casually heading out for a surreptitious pint of a wet Wednesday in winter.

Everyone knew that the incidental, accidental chats over telly or tea were gone, and that time zones might mean you’d have to prearrange a call time.

But the consolation of sorts was that, in case of emergency, they could get on a flight and be home in a few hours.

Only now we know that’s not true – and that’s why the full impact of this coronavirus has now fully hit home.

That may seem strange, given that so many have died from COVID-19, and a multiple of that number have been sick.

But life is only worth it when you can live it – and spending time together as a family is the very essence of that.

Parents had long reconciled themselves to the fact that there wouldn’t be too many transatlantic returns this Christmas – and those whose fledglings have made their homes in New Zealand or Australia were already used to that reality.

But London and the UK have been just another short commute for so many, as our best followed the bright lights, making the big bucks in technology across the water and thinking nothing of flying home for the weekend if they wanted to.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

 

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