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An Evening On The Terrace With Wexford's Angriest Man

An Evening On The Terrace With Wexford's Angriest Man
By PJ Browne

You wondered initially if he had seen this Wexford team play before as he roared for the half-backs to "Let it in to feck" and stop their tippy-tappy hurling.

This was a man who yearned for mid-90s fare. His Martin Storey tache said as much - it was the only likeable aspect about him. He ached for the great days when lads "got rid of it" instead of making fanciful attempts at frilly stuff like trying to retain possession.

Just wait until he finds out that even Brian Cody appears to believe that the days of winning your own ball being the be all and end all may be over.

Standing on the Clonard Terrace at Wexford Park on Saturday evening, next to this embodiment of that Simpsons gag 'Old Man Yells At Cloud', it felt like it was going to be a long 70 minutes.

The individualised insults for each player - "ya lanky bollocks, Foley", "ya fancy fecker, McDonald" - made it quickly apparent that he was at least familiar with the Wexford men on the pitch. Though, maybe not with their style, one which had elevated them to outside All-Ireland contender status going into the weekend.

For Wexford's Angriest Man (WAM), it was the worst possible opposition. Galway were imperious. Slick and clinical in attack, ferocious in defence. The 50/50s were all theirs. There was pragmatism too with James Skehill's puck-outs raining down on the shaky Wexford back line in the first half.

No team should be judged too harshly against a Galway side who look a level above everyone else. That view came in hindsight on the road home. It was not one WAM held at the time, nor does he probably hold it now.

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In fairness to WAM, he did not discriminate in the distribution of his anger. Referee Johnny Murphy got it in spades - the insults are unprintable - as did the Galway "whingers". If he had his way, Skehill would have been tossed over the sideline and left to rot after going down injured in the second half.

15 minutes in, Galway were awarded a free after a Wexford player held an opposition arm as he raced from defence. This was the moment where it became evident that WAM was no ordinary 'let it in' terrace dweller.

"Ya clown, Murphy. What was that for? Nothing. All-Ireland champions, they think they can get a call for everything and you're fuckin' giving it to them."

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The progression from fecks to fucks had been quick.

A response arrived from a brave Galway man just a step below. "He was holding his arm. Sure, of course it was a free."

There was menace in the return. Though the elderly Galway fan had turned to make his point face-to-face, WAM's reply came with him looking directly ahead, not acknowledging the disputant eye-to-eye.

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"Thanks. Thanks for that. Isn't it great to have you there in fuckin' front of me telling me this? Would ya ever fuck off back to the back arsehole of nowhere?"

A game which looked dead in the water suddenly had some interest.

Any consideration that a new spot might be sought on the terrace was gone. This was now the main attraction - and the ringside seats were ours - in a game which was waiting for the final whistle since Conor Whelan's goal after 90 seconds. Shifts were taken with the half-time trips to the bathroom in case an episode was missed.

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Innocent bystanders through all this were WAM's family - we'll call them WAMmy and WAMster. A beleaguered duo looked like they had seen it all before.

WAMmy deserves a Fan of the Year award from the GAA. It was more than Wexford's flat performance which she had to endure.

As it turned out, the big punches had already been thrown. Only the odd jab was left.

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Like for Wexford, three consecutive weeks of action was too much. WAM will have to reconsider his recovery process - no more mid-week pints.

He didn't even last the 70 minutes, but the traffic beaten, at least he had defeated more than Wexford.

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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See Also: Clarke And McConville Unhappy With 'Unacceptable' Fermanagh Tactic

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