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KNEEJERK: Our 'Biased' Controversial Columnist Recalls Unsettling Experience With Dublin Fans

KNEEJERK: Our 'Biased' Controversial Columnist Recalls Unsettling Experience With Dublin Fans
By Sean Og O Kneejerk Updated

Late last night, with the nation still charged on the collective buzz of having witnessed one of the finest games of all-time, one might have presumed that Sean Óg, his monumental capacity for grouchiness notwithstanding, would too be glorying in the aftermath.

In the same way that people like to say that the Dubs haven't been tested yet after they saunter absent-mindedly through the Leinster championship, we believe we can fairly say that the football championship of 2016 hadn't really tested Sean Óg's prodigious capacity for negativity.

But he repaid our faith in him. His ability for unearthing downsides in an ocean of positivity remains unrivalled.   

True enough, he was in foul humour when we arrived, having earlier gone outside for a fag only to be manhandled by a load of tanked-up Dublin supporters who draped their arms over his slumped shoulders and belted out 'The Auld Triangle' at the top of their lungs.  

One of their number filmed the rendition on what we presume was a selfie stick - Sean Óg described it as "some long stick with a camera on the end of it" - and proceeded to upload the video onto his twitter, linking several media organisations and a number of laddish 'banter' pages in the process.

By the end of the day, the video 'Dub fans sing Auld Triangel {sic} beside angry Kerry bastard' had clocked up 11,567 views on youtube and been featured on Independent.ie as well as the popular Dublin supporters facebook page 'True Dublin fans of the Hill'.  

Much to its regret, Balls.ie didn't actually see the video when it emerged. 

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Sean Óg remains defiantly out of the loop on these matters. He is in the happy position of not knowing who Cian Twomey is for instance. When we met him, Sean Óg was blissfully unaware of his viral fame and, for all we know, he remains so, for we were in no mind to tell him. 

It was the tagline of the video that piqued our interest most of all. Despite the fact that we have met and conversed with Sean Óg on several occasions now, we don't actually know where he's from. We only know for sure a few of the places where he isn't from, one of them emphatically being Dublin.

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Without asking him outright but after teasing the matter gently, we concluded that his jubilant harassers in blue had jumped the gun in assuming he was from Kerry.    

Sean Óg has always held Hill 16 dwellers in absolute contempt, regarding them as little better than hooligans. He is an avid sharer of stories of alleged bad behaviour on the Hill, stories which range from instances of obnoxious but ultimately harmless culchie-baiting to unprintable allegations of physical violence. Some of these are no doubt of dubious veracity. 

He is old enough to remember a time in the 1970s and 80s when the papers periodically ran panicked stories about Hill 16 brats chucking bottles at both beleagured gardaí and horrified culchie families in the Cusack Stand.   

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I remember the 1975 All-Ireland final. The Indo and the Irish Times wrote about it the time. Dublin fans hurling bottles at stewards and gardaí during the minor game.

Paddy Downey, fair play to him, went and compared them to English soccer fans across the water. That's who they were imitating.

After Dublin won the All-Ireland in 1974, d'you know what the crowd were singing. It wasn't the Auld Triangle. Do you know what it was? You'll Never Walk Alone. That's what the crowd were singing on the pitch after the '74 final.

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Also, I must have missed that bit in the GAA rulebook where it says that Dublin fans are entitled to monopolise Hill 16 (we're fairly confident that Sean Óg has never done something as pedantic as reading the GAA rulebook but we accept his general point). I remember after the 1983 All-Ireland final when the Galway county board said they weren't going to play at Croke Park ever again because of the way the Dublin fans had behaved. There was more shenanigans off the pitch that day than there was on the pitch and that really is saying something.

It's a pity that the Galway county board didn't follow through on that. Might have bucked up the GAA and forced them to rein in the Dubs arrogance, bring them to heel a bit. But of course, they backed down and nothing changed.

Of course, the Galway footballers did eventually boycott Croke Park for a long time in the 2000s but I'm not sure we can put that down to a principled stand.

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Somewhat smugly, we noted that Sean Óg was telling us these forty year old stories on a day when it was in fact Kerry supporters, or at least a small group of them, who were chucking bottles and match programmes at the referee as he scuttled down the tunnel. 

I didn't see any of that.

It happened. It's been acknowledged. 

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Well, in fairness, some of the decisions near the end were desperate. Dublin were three points down and of course they got one free after a block down by one of the Kerry's defenders. To call it a handy free would be understate how soft it was, now. No one has any clue what it was even given for.

At this point, we had to ask Sean Óg whether he was condoning Kerry fans throwing bottles at the match referee. His eye roll made clear he regarded the word "condoning" as insufferably poncy.

No, but.... (trails off).

So irked was he by the sight of happy Dublin fans, it was very difficult to draw him on the game itself. We made a valiant effort to get him to say it was a great game, (somewhat reminiscent of Bill O'Herlihy's attempts to get Eamon Dunphy to agree that Cristiano Ronaldo was a great player) something he half-admitted under some duress. But he drew the line at proclaiming it the greatest game that was ever played. Sean Óg, we have learned, only employs hyperbole in the service of denunciation. 

Furthermore, rather than expressing simple gratitude for seeing a great game, he concentrates his analytic efforts on expressing irritation that it isn't like this all the time. 

Best game ever? Would people ever get a grip? When Colm Cooper is dropping balls into goalkeepers hands and when the Dublin goalkeeper is clipping kickouts straight down the throats of Kerry corner forwards you can't say you're looking at the greatest game of all time.

What about the 1976 final, the 1977 semi-final, the 1978 game - although that was a bit one-sided - were they really better than all them games? Not a chance.

Sure, Dublin have a basketballer in midfield. He won the Footballer of the Year a few years ago, I don't know can he kick ball at all. He's a bundle of energy and all that but I don't know would he have survived in the '70s alongside Jack O'Shea. (NOTE: Sean Óg loves Jack O'Shea and habitually compares modern day players unfavourably with him). 

It was a decent match. There were good scores kicked. Apparently, it's an aberration when a lad is able to kick a point over the bar from 30 yards out. But these kids and media clowns saying it was the greatest game ever played need a history lesson. They need to remember that there was football played before bloody youtube came along. These people better cool down.

You know, I wouldn't honestly say it was even in the top 10.

Sean Óg then did something unprecedented and brought our conversation to an abrupt end because he wanted to "go home". He couldn't stomach the sight of all these Dublin fans celebrating. Apparently, he lives in Rathmines. 

(*Sean Óg was in conversation with Conor Neville)

Read more: KNEEJERK: Our Controversial Columnist Knows Why GAA Players All Love Sky Sports

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