Gaelic football is a simple game. Thirty men pass the ball side to side for 70 minutes and at the end, the hurling comes on.
Today's Connacht final had a pong of the FBD League about it: played as it was in the driving rain and howling wind usually reserved for craggy western outposts in January. The quality of the game diminished the longer it was exposed to the absurd conditions, and ultimately ended in a draw on a scoreline of Roscommon's 1-10 to Galway's 0-13. Kevin Walsh has steeled Galway for days like this by cutting his cloth to disrupt the opposition, but the most prominent cloth on show was the one which RTE required to scrub the camera clean every thirty seconds.
— Sam O'Byrne (@samobyrne) July 10, 2016
Whoever had been this bestowed this job by RTE would have been forgiven for expecting his hands to be the hardest worked in the ground, but this was not the case, as the game ultimately descended into Roscommon players handpassing the ball laterally in front of 14 Galway men sat in the scoring zone in front of their own goalkeeper; dropped in front of him as an anvil would fall from the sky on Wil E Coyote.
Not 1 galway player inside Roscommon half after 16 mins second half FFS!!! pic.twitter.com/dLL4Uli3cj
— John Concannon (@Tigerscan) July 10, 2016
At least Wil E. Coyote never showed a fear of failure: Roscommon, in particular, became so utterly worn down by Galway's blanket defence that, in the dying minutes, in possession and level on the scoreboard, they elected to simply pass it around and take a replay, rather than shoot for fear they would be turned over on the counter-attack. In the RTE studio, Joe Brolly called Roscommon "useless", before eventually terming the whole thing "football diazepam":
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 10, 2016
Later on, Spillane and Brolly resorted to exasperated laughter, presumably as ridicule is the only honourable weapon they have left. The reaction beyond the RTE studio in Thurles was equally disenchanted:
CIA should record the Connacht football final - would come in very useful in ending hostage or siege scenarios
— John Drennan (@DrennanPolitics) July 10, 2016
Watching the Connacht Final on RTE is like watching the game after a few pints. #BlurredLines
— Sharron Lynskey (@sharronlynskey) July 10, 2016
Think of the most tactical chess game of all time....Than multiply it by ten. That is what this Connacht Final is like...
— John Mulligan (@Mulliganj) July 10, 2016
— clíona foley (@ponyyelof) July 10, 2016
If there were 450+ handpasses in Roscommon v Galway, that's one every nine seconds or so. Jesus wept @TheSundayGame
— Shane Stapleton (@ShaneSaint) July 10, 2016
Pathetic from Roscommon not even trying a shot in injury time.
— Michael McCarthy (@McCarthyMick) July 10, 2016
There were some moments of class, particularly in the first half: one stunning Ciaran Murtagh point from long-range was subsequently bettered by an astonishing turn, pick-up and point by Danny Cummins - who finished off a fine counter-attack in the second half also - but otherwise a promising game descended to inertia. Galway and Roscommon of course, don't have an obligation to entertain, but merely to win. Kevin Walsh evidently believes that his system will work for him, but it doesn't work for many others, beyond the insomniacs.
In further proof that the Central Competitions Control Committee are comedians playing to an audience afraid to laugh, there'll be a replay.
We can be consoled by the fact that the game can't be much worse.