Up for the Cup

It was early Sunday morning in the year 2008 and I had just arrived at the Golden Gate. Saint Peter recognised me instantly, giving me a very hearty greeting and a warm handshake.

‘Nice to see one of the old ’60’s squad,’ he said, referring of course to that mighty Down team that took the Sam Maguire across the border for the first time.

‘You couldn’t have come at a better time!’

He raised his golden loudspeaker and summoned all sportsmen and women to assemble beneath the golden balcony.

Almost 200,000 people greeted me. A few were puzzled as to who I was. Peter raised his hailer and proudly announced:

‘Today we welcome that giant Down 60’s goalkeeper (all 6 feet five and a half inches of him) …

Joseph Alphonsus Morgan!’

It made me very proud to see a sea of red-and-black flags and hear the joyous cheers of the vast crowd.

A single orange flag, numbered 2002, fluttered listlessly in the breeze.

Peter summoned Saint Michael the Archanger and told him to collect the Masseratti and drive this giant Down man to the dressing rooms to meet the B-Team Players.

I was astonished and delighted to meet three of the Down greats: Breen Morgan, Jarlath Carey and Pat Rice.

They made me very welcome and introduced me to the rest of the team and the Bainisteoir, now Saint Patrick himself.

I confessed to Patrick that I was a bit rusty. ‘Ah!’ he said, ‘Rusty Mallon. That’s who we’re missing. Hasn’t he arrived here yet?’

When he finished reflecting, he turned back to me.

‘Fear not, my good man, he said.

We will have you in tip-top shape for the big Final, this coming Sunday, Heavens A V Heavens B.’

I was also introduced to a holy man named Esler.

‘They finally got around to naming the Shamrocks stadium after you,’ I said.

‘Yes’, he answered, and he beamed.


… more later …


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