It's the 21st of May. We should be heading into another weekend of GAA fixtures. Instead we'll be lucky to see any intercounty action this year.
Summer in Ireland isn't the same without GAA. This sounds ambitious, but perhaps this summer bereft of sport will provide us all with an opportunity to fully appreciate the GAA for what it could be; to take stock and bin things about the GAA that drag it down and celebrate the things that make the GAA truly unique.
Anything looking for a reminder of the GAA's good things should watch the Mick Dunne interviews below. Dunne was RTÉ GAA correspondent from 1970 onwards and he pioneered the All-Ireland final post-match interview. Long before The Sunday Game from the winning counties' banquet, Dunne was literally in the dressing room with his microphone and a cameraman.
Eir Sport's Shane Dawson has been uploading Mick Dunne interviews to his Twitter account. We didn't know we needed late 70s-early 1980s post-match hurling interviews in our lives, but by god did we ever.
There's so much joy in these interviews.
Today he uploaded scenes from the ecstatic Offaly dressing room after Galway were defeated in 1981:
Bring back dressing room interviews!
Some more Mick Dunne magic following @Offaly_GAA's All-Ireland hurling final victory over @Galway_GAA in 1981.
A concussion, a priest, and a saviour returning from New York. #GAAGold pic.twitter.com/ZPf2PB1sht
— Shane Dawson (@SDawsonSport) May 21, 2020
Then a week ago, another Dunne interview surfaced. This was from 1979 and featured Fran Larkin eating an apple, fully dressed after winning Liam MacCarthy after Kilkenny defeated Galway (how many All-Irelands did Galway lose in the late 70s-early 80s?)
These interviews capture everything that Ireland has lost over the last 40 years: priests, sideburns, polyester, funky caps. They're also glimpse into a completely different GAA, where pitch invasions extended to the dressing room on All-Ireland final day and everyone was welcome. This is amateur sport at its purest.
And through it all is Mick Dunne, calm and unflappable as the bedlam unfolds around him. If nothing else, these videos are exposing Dunne's genius as a GAA reporter to the digital generation. He was RTÉ's first GAA correspondent and sadly passed away in 2002.
— GAA Nostalgia (@gaanostalgia) August 26, 2015
As we finish our tenth week of lockdown, it would be understandable to despair that none of the sporting occasions we loved will ever return. But that thinking will do you no good. The GAA will be back. And we hope we'll see interviews like these when it returns.