Roscommon’s clash with Sligo in Markievicz Park should indicate whether or not they can challenge Mayo.
Depending on its context, the term ‘hipster’, can can be used to both complement and insult individuals. Hipster culture exists across the spectrum of Irish society. Everyday we hear people with beards, discuss food festivals, organic gardening, music and Scandinavian dramas. Why watch House of Cards when Borgen is so insightful? This culture also exists within a sporting context.
Hipsters enjoy following teams such as Real Sociedad or Borussia Mönchengladbach, who challenge the capitalist swine that dominate the Premier League. They may even be a shareholder in some obscure Spanish team, like us at Pundit Arena. They infer that fan ownership, gives such clubs a kind of moral authority over their English rivals. Perhaps this is a result of the failure of socialism during their parents generation, as supporting communist rebels in some South American country is no longer viable, instead they argue for egalitarianism in the money dominated world of football. Perhaps then Francis Fukuyama was right in his ‘The End of History and The Last Man’ as the quest for revolution has been relegated to the sporting sphere. If you’re a hipster you would want to read it.
However the one area where hipster culture has failed to make massive inroads, is in the world of GAA. This maybe down to the amateur nature of the GAA, or simply the fact that hardcore supporters already follow developments at under age levels, thus denying hipsters the chance to promote their ‘extensive knowledge’. Nevertheless, as Roscommon’s rise to prominence has been well documented, and a breakthrough at senior level is expected very soon, they give ample opportunity for the GAA hipster to argue that Roscommon will challenge Mayo this year.
Hipsters will point to the Roscommon manager, John Evans, as being one of the best in the game. Arguments will be made on the basis of Evans winning three county championships in his native Kerry with Laune Rangers. His talent was underlined when he led the Kilorglin team to All Ireland Club success in 1996. They will discuss how, as Tipperary’s Director of Football, Evans was the architect that created the structure that allowed the Premier county enjoyed recent success at under age level. They will demonstrate how he combined the role of Director of Football with that of the county’s senior football manager to lead Tipperary from division four to division two.
Consequently, our bearded friends will determine that Evans is the right man to lead the Roscommon senior team, given their success at minor and under 21 levels. Evidence will be produced to inform us that, Evans has led the Rossies to division one via back to back promotions and that St. Brigid’s won the Club All Ireland in 2013. The virtues of youth will also be discussed, and we will be told that players such as Ciaran and Diarmuid Murtagh, Cian Connolly, Ciarán Cafferkey, Fintan Kelly, and Donie and Enda Smith are all under the age of 23. Indeed nine of their starting fifteen against Sligo will be under the age of 24. To further their argument, other players such under 21 stars, Tadhg O’Rourke, Cathal Compton, Ronan Daly and Noel Gately will be named dropped.
Yet none of these arguments will hold much ground if the Rossies fail to beat Sligo. These counties are travelling in different trajectories since they met in the 2010 provincial final. As if to indicate their strength, Roscommon started Donie Shine from the bench in the division two final and do so again this weekend. Despite travelling to the tight and confined Markievicz Park, Roscommon should set themselves up with a tilt at Mayo in the Connacht final.
Just don’t talk about false number 10s…
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena